While natural yards are becoming mainstream, there are a number of reasons why lawns are still a popular landscaping choice.
Default decision. The easiest thing to do with a lawn is to continue maintaining it as a lawn. Converting it to any other type of landscaping requires physical and mental effort, and never becomes an urgent project. A homeowner may have a lawn simply because they’ve always had one.
Perceived social pressure. In past decades, keeping a neat lawn was part of how people maintained social harmony in the new living arrangement known as suburbia. Today, many people no longer believe that a lawn is the only acceptable landscaping choice. However, they may think their neighbors still believe this, and so they continue having a lawn in order to keep the peace.
Advertising. Americans spend forty billion dollars a year maintaining their lawns. In Madison alone, over fifty companies depend on being able to convince property owners that a perfect lawn is worth spending money on. Fewer companies stand to profit from natural yards, and they don’t tend to advertise as much.
Lawns can be useful. A prairie does not make a good surface for barbecues or soccer games. In a yard that sees frequent active use, a lawn can be a good landscaping choice. Some people choose to establish a natural yard only after their kids are grown and no longer need a lawn to play on.