A lawn is an area of soil-covered land planted with grasses and other durable plants such as clover which are maintained at a short height with a lawnmower (or sometimes grazing animals) and used for aesthetic and recreational purposes. Lawns are usually composed only of grass species, subject to weed and pest control, maintained in a green color (e.g., by watering), and are regularly mowed to ensure an acceptable length. Lawns are used around houses, apartments, commercial buildings and offices. Many city parks also have large lawn areas. In recreational contexts, the specialised names turf, pitch, field or green may be used, depending on the sport and the continent. The term "lawn", referring to a managed grass space, dates to no earlier than the 16th century. Tied to suburban expansion and the creation of the household aesthetic, the lawn is an important aspect of the interaction between the natural environment and the constructed urban and suburban space. In many[clarification needed] suburban areas, there are bylaws in place requiring houses to have lawns and requiring the proper maintenance of these lawns. In some jurisdictions where there are water shortages, local government authorities are encouraging alternatives to lawns to reduce water use.
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