Homeowner Attitudes and Practices Towards Residential Landscape Management in Ohio, USA
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- Blaine, T.W., Clayton, S., Robbins, P. et al. Environmental Management (2012) 50: 257. doi:10.1007/s00267-012-9874-x
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This study describes the results of a survey of 432 homeowners in Ohio, USA concerning their perceptions and practices regarding management of residential landscapes. The results reveal that outdoor residential environments are extremely important to homeowners, who tend to view their yards as serving multiple functions: a place to observe nature and to socialize as well as a place of beauty and recreation. Use of a lawn care company to apply chemicals is reported by 22 % of respondents, while 40 % either apply chemicals themselves or have someone other than a lawn care company do it. Logistic regressions reveal that factors influencing a homeowner’s decision to employ a lawn care company or to apply chemicals themselves include: household income (+), perceived impacts on the environment (−), whether the next door neighbor does it (+), and type of residential environment (rural −, suburban and urban +). A theme that emerges throughout the study is the perceived importance of the role of the lawn in residents’ sense of social status or acceptance in the neighborhood. This perception can be viewed as a positive in ensuring that residential environments are well maintained, but also as a negative resulting in environmental degradation or presenting a barrier to creativity in the development of alternative residential environments. Specific policy implications of these findings are that efforts aimed at educating homeowners about the environmental impacts of their lawn care choices are likely to have more success if they are directed at neighborhood groups rather than individuals, show that alternatives are easy to adopt, affordable, and can produce the characteristics of lawns that homeowners seek.