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Yard or Garden?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Yuanding, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. Yuanding

    Yuanding LawnSite Member
    from England
    Posts: 82

    I have been asked by a fellow member to say a bit about working as a landscaper in the UK, but it'd be good to get an insight into the U.S. green industry at the same time.
    First off, what does the word garden mean to you in America? A "yard" to an Englishman means an enclosed area (usually quite small) of hard paving at the rear of a house. If there is any grass it isn't a yard!
    One of my customers in Manchester, England, where I work, comes from Indiana, and I get in trouble (not serious) with her if I refer to the lawned areas at the back and front of her house as a garden. I asked her what the word garden means to her and she said it is somewhere you grow vegetables, but she didn't seem too sure.
    I believe the words "garden" and "yard" have a common origin, but that's no guide to their current meaning, and I would be interested to know what Americans understand by the word "garden".
    BTW, I'm going to the US for the first time in my life this Friday (NY City). Really looking forward to seeing the real thing.:usflag:
  2. k911lowe

    k911lowe LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 526

    yard is usually with grass and garden is for growing crops or flowers etc.
  3. Dave_005

    Dave_005 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 359

    in the US. yard means the entire grass area around the home. Garden means a small area thats is used to grow flowers or vegetables.
  4. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,795

    i agree and most will i think. though there is wide enough area here in the states that things are called by other names quite often. garden in most europe i have found is the whole green space in your property, grass and flowers

    i have a nice yard and many gardens" both flower, shrub and veggie. all iof which is irrigated i must add but we are getting much rain this year so my water bill is low
  5. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,426

    Yes we grow vegetables in gardens and grass in lawns. I would still love to see some pictures of what kind of work you do and what the average lawn/garden consist of in England. We have several mates from down under that share information about lawn care in Australia but very few in England. I can't really get a feel for the typical suburban home in England.
  6. Sammy

    Sammy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,734

    What do you grow in a barn yard ?
  7. Yuanding

    Yuanding LawnSite Member
    from England
    Posts: 82

    Thanks for your interest Tacoma. After just visiting the States for the first time I can tell you one major difference between English and American yards/gardens. You leave the grass longer than is the custom over here.
    I think the reason people expect their grass to be shorter over here is because of the existence of things called "bowling greens". These are pitches for playing the traditional summer sport of bowling on (either crown green bowling or flat green bowling, depending on the part of the country.)
    The grass on a bowling green has to be very short to allow the "bowls" to run freely over the surface, but the grass has to be intensively managed to keep the grass green and healthy and at the same time very short. In the summer on the best greens the grass will be cut and rolled every day and any suggestion of dry weather will bring out the sprinklers. Fertilisers also play a big part of course.
    To get to the point, a lot of people have believed for many years that the way the grass on a bowling looks is the ultimate in neatness and sophistication, probably because it is so short and yet uniform and healthy in appearance at the same time. So of course a lot of householders (esp the older ones) want THEIR lawn to look like a bowling green too.
    It ends up as a compromise. You tell the owner that to have healthy AND short grass the seed mixture, soil, drainage, and exposure to sunlight all have to be optimal in the first place, and then the grass has to be intensively managed to keep it healthy and looking good. When you tell them that their expectations are too high and they should settle for a utilitarian lawn with longer grass most probably think at first you are just a cheapskate gardener who can't care for their grass properly. But after you have told them that really it is just a matter of time and money and you have broken down the cost of intensively managing their grass for them, most customers come to their senses and settle for longer grass - but this longer grass is still short by American standards.
    Another major diffference between American and English gardens is the boundaries between properties. The English way is to have a wall, or hedge or fence marking all the boundaries of the land, at both front and back, rather than to have an open plan system like I have seen in quite a few American front yards where there is no boundary between neighbours except the driveway, and no boundary at the street except the beginning of the sidewalk. Personally I think the American open plan system makes for easier cutting and I wish it was like that over here. You wouldn't believe how fiddly and fussy some English yards are to cut.
    One good thing about the enclosed system over here is that you rarely have trouble with neighbours accusing you of encroaching on their territory while you are working, because as long as you are behind the wall/fence/ hedge marking the boundary there can be no dispute about whose territory you are on. The main trouble comes when the boundary is a hedge and one neighbour likes to maintain his side properly (i.e. get you to cut it regularly) but the other neighbour doesn't give a monkey's. This can give rise to all sorts of squabbling and you the gardener can get caught in the middle. I've a few tales to tell about that but perhaps another day.
  8. Sammy

    Sammy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,734

    Yuanding, thanks for the information.
  9. LindblomRJ

    LindblomRJ LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,570

    That is good reading. Thank you.

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