The 1960s Suburban Lawn Boom

In the early 1960s, when many Americans were pursuing their dream of a home in the suburbs, a lush, green lawn was part of that dream, whatever the cost.

Thornton Utz, © SEPS

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—“The Grass Craze” by James A. Skardon, from the March 17, 1962, issue of The Saturday Evening Post

Pollster Samuel Lubell tells of a young couple he spotted working hard on a hot Sunday afternoon on an unusually fine lawn in front of a new house. After chatting with the couple awhile he asked for a glass of water. The young wife jumped up to get it, and Lubell followed to save her the trip, but just as they got to the door, the woman turned and said, somewhat sheepishly, “I’d ask you in, but the inside is in a terrible state. We’ve put all our time and all the money we had left after buying the house into the lawn, so the place would look nice on the outside.”

“And what she said was true,” Lubell says. “I could see through the window that there wasn’t a stick of furniture in the living room. They had put everything into the lawn.”

This article is featured in the March/April 2022 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

Featured image: Thornton Utz, © SEPS

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  1. Normally I’d say the lawn next to Mr. Golfer is fine, BUT certainly not compared to that almost AstroTurf next door on either side, including by the sidewalk. I know out my way with the scorching heat and high cost of proper watering, a lot have become dirt fields of dead grass with an attitude of ‘yeah it’s too bad, but can’t be helped.’

    The title on top is probably better than the the article itself. That one would take on a very different meaning in a drastically different section of the 60’s, still several years off in 1962.


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