The concept of a semi-private patch where families could relax, romp, and reap the benefits of the outdoors, meanwhile, spread beyond the town’s borders. The lawn is now a cornerstone of bedroom communities across the country, but it’s had some damning environmental impacts. US homeowners spend up to 50 gallons of water a day ensuring that their verdant carpets hold up to local ordinances and neighbors’ scrutiny. What’s more, runoff from fertilizers and pesticides contaminates water sources and kills off bedrock species in the food chain. That’s led to a rival movement in recent years, where people replant their yards with overgrown shrubs and billowing sedges to foster real, thriving ecosystems. The individuality might stray wildly from Olmsted’s prototype, but it still brings nature to Americans’ front steps.