The yard has always been the Swiss army knife of the American home; it is an outdoor living room, a garden, and a play space for kids all rolled into one. Its functions are almost as numerous as its blades of grass, but as the size of today’s average home grows larger, the American yard is shrinking like a pair of jeans after the holidays.
As CityLab reports, in 1978, the size of the typical American home was 1,650 square feet and it sat on an average lot of 0.22 acres. In 2015, the size of the typical American home has grown to 2,500 square feet. Not only has the average home's footprint grown, but the lot it sits on has actually decreased 13 percent down to 0.19 acres. With a bigger home and a smaller lot, the average American lawn has shrunk by more than 26 percent.
When forced to pick between a large home and a larger lawn, most Americans are picking the home. Why do they have to pick? Well, available land that is relatively close to job centers is prohibitively expensive and larger homes on smaller lots is a compromise between what builders can profitably build and what consumers will buy.