Nature discourses in the residential yard in Minnesota

Maria E. Dahmus, Kristen C. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The residential yard is a relatively unexamined context of nature discourses. We analyzed residents' nature discourses in their yards that emerged during group discussions about yard care choices in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area of Minnesota, USA. We found the following nature discourses: nature as a lawn management type, ecological actor, aesthetic attributes, and limited time and maintenance, and nature in relation to human function. However, participants used the term nature as though it had an agreed upon meaning. These nature discourses are one example of the complexity of homeowner conceptualizations of their yards. The presence of multiple nature discourses discussed as a single idea highlights the need to refine broad references to nature in public outreach messages that seek to promote urban ecosystem quality through yard care choices. Also, the discourse of nature as ecological actor in the yard may be a starting place for communication about ecosystem functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-187
Number of pages5
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
StatePublished - May 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Science Foundation Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems Program (BCS-0908998). We thank discussion participants for participating in our study. We also thank A. Slaats, GIS specialist, for creating maps of the study sites. Special thanks to A. Woodside for logistical, methodological, and data entry support. This project is part of a larger study focused on urban ecosystems; we also thank our research colleagues L. A. Baker (PI), S. E. Hobbie, J. Y. King, and J.P. McFadden (Co-PIs).


  • Nature discourses
  • Social construction of nature
  • Yard choices


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