Forsaking chemical fertilizers and the maintenance required to maintain them, many companies are letting their lush and groomed landscapes sway in the wind, literally. 

Corporate landscapes are going natural these days, reports The New York Times. 

The shift — mirroring what’s happening at public parks, on university campuses and in homeowners’ backyards — is being driven by a growing awareness of the environmental costs of installing and maintaining lawns, clipped hedges and tidy flower borders. New laws ban the use of water for “useless” grass in drought-prone areas, and company sustainability programs encompass the land the buildings sit on. Apps calculate the carbon footprint of landscapes in much the same way that buildings are monitored for greenhouse gas emissions.

 Kentucky bluegrass, a common lawn grass, draws carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But propagating the same grass species everywhere comes at the expense of native plants that are in tune with the local climate and provide food and habitat for endangered birds, bees and butterflies. And then there’s the environmental cost of keeping lawns lush — the endless watering, weed killing, mowing and blowing. 

The article says that Pennsylvania firm Air Products tried something different when it opened a new headquarters: 

“Rather than plant grass that would need constant watering, mowing and fertilizing, it turned to native plants that pretty much took care of themselves. Today, shoulder-high grasses wave in the wind and attract wildlife. “

Air Products encountered “questions about what we had done,” said Patrick J. Garay, vice president of strategic projects at Air Products,   “especially when the meadows had just been planted and “looked like a weed field..Once people hear the why, you can see them nodding their heads,” he said. “People are beginning to understand that these little impacts add up.”