By now, you’ve all probably heard of goatscaping, the act of “hiring” a team of emissions-free, surefooted ruminants-on-a-mission to tackle overgrown lawns and clear away unwanted plant life in nooks, crannies and rough terrain that even the most souped-up weed whacker can’t reach. But goats aren’t the only critters capable of performing a thankless task that allows homeowners to sit back, relax and temporarily retire their arsenal of pollution-spewing gas-powered machines.

The folks at — the real estate website that previously invited readers to “Romneyize” their homes — have taken it upon themselves to wrangle up a few other animals that excel at residential grass-chomping and various forms of lawn maintenance. Unlike goats, however, full-on ownership, not renting, is usually par for the course with many of these animals so you’ll be gaining a full-time barnyard pet as well as a living, breathing lawn mower. Movoto writer Kate Folk also lists the pros and cons of keeping animal landscapers including sheep (docile but will strip the bark off of trees), cows (easy to keep fenced in but too large to keep on most residential properties), chickens (will eat bugs in addition to grass but will dig holes in lawn for “dustbathing”), and even guinea pigs (portable and ideal for small yards but vulnerable to predators). And, yes, goats are included in the mix (excellent weed-whacking abilities but also skilled climbers making them a flight risk).
In addition to the article itself there’s also a nifty interactive infographic where you can find out how many animal landscapers would be required to mow your yard in a single day. First off, select the animal of your choice. I selected sheep because, well, they’re the cutest/dullest/cuddliest of the lot. Next, I plugged in the size of my yard. Since I don’t actually have one, I entered the size of the average American lawn: 8,712 square feet or 1/5 of an acre. Turns out, it would require a whopping 15 sheep to do the deed. That’s a whole lot of sheep, but a paltry number compared to the small army of hungry guinea pigs (348 guinea pigs, to be exact) that would be needed to complete the task in 24 hours. If I had gone the bovine route, only one cow would be needed to mow the average American yard in a single day.
Scroll down to find out how many goats/sheep/chickens/cows/guinea pigs would be needed to mow your yard. Also, has anyone out there actually used guinea pigs for landscaping purposes? I certainly haven't seen herds of the adorable rodents hanging out in the parking lot of Home Depot lately.
Via [Movoto] via [Grist]

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Ready to replace your lawnmower with 348 guinea pigs?
As 'goatscaping' becomes increasingly popular in suburban contexts, explores other living lawnmower replacement options including guinea pigs. Yes, g