A lush lawn has gotten to be such a fixture of the American dream that the hum of lawnmowers and the soft hiss of sprinklers have become nostalgic harbingers of summer. But there’s more to landscapes than just blades of grass and garden gnomes. Here are some facts you may not know about your yard.

20 Acres of lawn in the U.S., in millions — more land than any single crop takes up

30 Percentage of water consumed on the East Coast that goes toward watering lawns

60 Percentage of water consumed in western States that goes toward watering lawns

32 Gallons of water used per capita on lawns daily in the U.S.

20 Gallons of water used during an average shower in the U.S.

3 Estimated pounds of pesticides per application for an acre of farmland

7 Estimated pounds of pesticides per application for an acre of lawn

40 Percentage of chemicals from ChemLawn’s consumer product line-up that are banned in other countries

19 Number of commonly used lawn pesticides known to be carcinogens

75 Number of human studies documenting a connection between pesticide exposure and lymphoma

10 Approximate percentage of bugs in a typical yard that actually interfere with lawn growth

100 Number of miles a late model car would have to drive to produce as much pollution as a lawnmower emits in one hour

373 Number of calories a 150-pound person would burn using a push mower for one hour

1830 Year that Edwin Budding invented the lawnmower

1855 Year that Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass was published

1962 Year that Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was published

1984 Year that the U.S.’s use of synthetic fertilizer on lawns surpassed the amount used on all of India’s food crops

Sources: National Wildlife Federation, Redesigning the American Lawn, Pesticide Action Network North America, Toxics Action Center, Lymphoma Foundation of America, EPA, People Powered Machines, Gimme Green.

This article originally appeared in Plenty in June 2007. This story was added to MNN.com in June 2009.

Copyright Environ Press 2007.