Human Ecology

, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 747–761 | Cite as

The Influence of Diverse Values, Ecological Structure, and Geographic Context on Residents’ Multifaceted Landscaping Decisions

  • Kelli L. LarsonEmail author
  • Elizabeth Cook
  • Colleen Strawhacker
  • Sharon J. Hall


Previous research has examined the influence of values on human-ecological decisions, yet disparate approaches render inferences across studies difficult. In this paper, we present a robust conceptualization of values, encompassing general life values, broad-based environmental orientations, and specific yard priorities, while comparatively examining how these influence residents’ land-management practices. Coupling a social survey with observational field data in Phoenix, Arizona, we address how 1) diverse values affect residents’ multifaceted landscaping practices, 2) yard structure impacts water and chemical applications, and 3) land management varies across distinctive geographic contexts. Overall, values were not strongly related to land management decisions. Of those that were significant, most were related to groundcover and herbicide use. Yet diverse environmental values influenced landscaping practices in varying and complex ways. In addition, the historic and socioeconomic setting of neighborhoods affect the extent of lawns and related management inputs, while heightened use of pesticides in rock-based, drought-tolerant yards challenges the notion of these lawn alternatives as an environmentally friendly and low maintenance choice.


Values Environmental behavior Lawns Land management Urban ecology 



This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant No. DEB-0423704, Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) and Grant No. 0504248, Integrative Graduate Education Research and Training (IGERT) in Urban Ecology. The social survey was funded and conducted by the ASU Institute for Social Science Research, with additional support provided by the Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC), NSF Grant No. SES-0345945. Also, we thank Nancy Grimm and Marcia Nation for their support of this research, along with undergraduate students, Julianne Vittal and Matthew Salem, who assisted with field work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kelli L. Larson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elizabeth Cook
    • 2
  • Colleen Strawhacker
    • 3
  • Sharon J. Hall
    • 2
  1. 1.Schools of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and SustainabilityArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.School of Life SciencesArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  3. 3.School of Human Evolution and Social ChangeArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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