Eco Yards


Meredith Gelles

On April 22, or Earth Day, the Radnor Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) launched a new program encouraging residents of Radnor to make their lawns more environmentally friendly.

The program, Eco Yards, is designed to encourage Radnor residents to create lawns where “no chemical pesticides or herbicides are used,” as well as lawns that “have diverse plants that provide habitats for beneficial insects, wildlife, and pollinators,” according to the EAC.

Other recommendations from the EAC include using electric (not gas-powered) lawn equipment, mowing less frequently, composting or mulching clipping and leaves, and planting native plants instead of grass.

The issue of non-eco-friendly lawns is one that is nationwide. In the United States, the current societal standard is a strictly grass yard. To achieve this, residents of the country consume large amounts of water and pollute our land and waterways with millions of pounds of pesticides and herbicides. “Residential outdoor water use across the United States accounts for nearly 8 billion gallons of water each day,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Moreover, the Department of Transportation’s data revealed that in 2019, the state of Pennsylvania used 118,534 pounds of gasoline running lawn equipment. “Lawn, ecologically, is dead space,” said Doug Tallamy, an entomologist at the University of Delaware and author of Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard. This means that despite excessive amounts of pesticides, herbicides, and water being put into lawns, the cultivated grassy environment often does not support wildlife or create useful products, like food.

Sixty-five percent of Radnor’s properties are single-family homes with lawns, suggesting that there are plenty of residents who have mainly grass yards who could benefit from the Eco Yards program. However, some residents have expressed fear that the new program may cause lawns to appear uncared for, due to their difference in appearance to less environmentally friendly yards.

In response, the EAC plans to work to distribute information about eco-friendly lawns throughout the township. “We’re hoping to launch a different way of educating residents, and that is by modeling what … is an ecologically friendly yard. This involves a change in … a person’s kind of sense of aesthetics,” said Margaret Reinhardt, a chairperson of the EAC. The EAC will achieve this by highlighting property owners with ecologically friendly lawns by awarding them with eco-friendly lawn flags. Because of this, their neighbors will know that their lawn is not simply messy, but rather intentionally that way in order to be more environmentally conscious.

To encourage residents further, a native plant giveaway was hosted at the Radnor Township Administrative building on Earth Day, the same day that the program was launched.

For Radnor Township, Eco Yards is another program introduced to make Radnor a more environmentally conscious place. On March 15th of this year, a plastic bag ban went into effect.

As such, Radnor is taking large strides towards becoming a more sustainable township.