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Across the world, there are prehistoric remains of humans and our impact on the earth. Mounds, patterns, and interesting designs can be found on many continents. They are intriguing reminders of people who lived here centuries or millennia before us.

Turf- or Sod-works are created from grass or moss and soil. This type of art has roots (if you will pardon the pun!) in the Land Art movement (also known as the Earthworks or Earth Art movement) that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. During this exciting period, landscape and the work of art began to be viewed as linked. Sculptures were not just placed in the landscape; rather the landscape became the very means of their creation. These works often existed in the open, located well away from communities, and were left to change under natural conditions. Many of the first works were created in the deserts of Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. They did not, or were not meant to last, and now exist only as recordings or photos.

Check out the Wikipedia overview of Land Art, with its many links to images.

A quick visual overview of earth art and earthworks which also includes “non-living examples”.

Works made from the earth are changing the way in which people view art, and often are used to promote environmental awareness. These works may be created on waste sites, and may draw attention to land reclamation and urban restoration efforts.

Recent earth artists have worked with soil, sod, or moss to create forms that may be intimate and small, or large and multi-acre. They may be cut out of the earth, or formed with soil. They may give a nod to the past, or they may be cutting edge and contemporary in design. Some examples include labyrinths and mazes, animal and human forms, geometric shapes, and furniture.

In our activities, we focus on sod furniture, since it is both functional and ornamental, is relatively easy to make, and can result in terrific public art that also provides a hang out spot for youth in the community.


  • Perfect: Mowing Techniques for Lawns, Landscapes, and Sports. Mellor, David R. 2001.Wiley & Sons Inc.
  • Lawnscapes: Mowing Patterns to Make Your Yard a Work of Art. Parfitt, David 2006. Quirk Books.
  • Crop Art and Other Earthworks. Herd, Stan 1994. Harry N. Abrams Publishers.
  • Crop Circles: Art in the Landscape. Pringle, Lucy 2007. Frances Lincoln.