I write in defence of my lawn.

It's a tough time of year to defend its beauty because at the moment it's not really a lush green carpet. Its hue is somewhere between a 70s shag carpet orange and an early 00s beige wool pile with a texture like a day five leg stubble.

That's because, unlike some in my neighbourhood (looking at you, showhomes), I'm obeying the sprinkler ban.

It is a modest lawn. More of an area rug than a carpet. Tiny by a boomer's standards and nothing like the lovely tree-laden expanse I enjoyed growing up with on a farm, but I worked hard for it.


And it is under attack.

"A dumb waste of time and money," proclaimed a comment piece 'Why New Zealand's obsession with lawns needs to end' in the Herald this week.

Gardens are fine, apparently, but lawns are a middle-class catastrophe stopping kids from making friends and poisoning pets so we should all use our local parks instead.

There's plenty of pontifications out there on what the humble lawn says about the violent relationship between people and the environment, their homogenising effect on the suburban psyche and their role in climate change.

The Ministry for the Environment even encourages people to replace lawns with native plants to save water.

Thing is, the main benefit of having a lawn is that it is a flexible outdoor space and planting it out makes it a lot less flexible.

Provided you're not too precious about your blades, a lawn can be a soccer pitch, picnic area, dog zooming space or a nude sunbathing spot.

Chuck a marquee up and have the extended family over. Watch the kids play bat-down cricket. It's the definition of a social space (that lawns make kids anti-social was the most nonsense argument of them all).

Sure, your local park could also host these activities (maybe not the nude sunbathing) but there's a lot to be said for privacy and the enjoyment of your own space.

Lawns have aesthetic value as well. They can be just as pleasing to the eye as a garden, providing the neutral space designers are always banging on about.

I don't mind the maintenance. We do as much for the lawn as we do in the gardens – the weeds don't discriminate.

And in any case, the grass clippings are good for my compost.

Of the arguments against lawns, the herbicide situation gives me the most pause. The upsides are being quickly eroded by new research revealing the downsides.

But not everyone wants to plant the place out with hebe and harakeke. The traditional turf isn't going anywhere.

People who want to live in standalone houses are always going to want to have some space between their place and the neighbours. They have to fill that space with something.

I say green it up. It's got to be better than more concrete.