While perusing the shelves at my local garden center for a hose, I noticed that nearly every option was green. It made me wonder why the color choices for garden hoses were so limited. Is there something meaningful behind most garden hoses being green?
Garden hoses are green for two reasons:
- Camouflage- Being green allows a garden hose to blend in with the grass so when attached to a sprinkler, it can go unnoticed.
- Green is associated with nature- The connection to plants, gardening, and Earth started a trend. Consumers now expect hoses to be green.
As Europeans settled in the New World and brought with them their propensity to landscape with grass, garden hoses have become ubiquitous with American suburban life.
Why Garden Hoses are Green
While some people now choose a color that matches the surface the hose will be laying on, the garden hose mostly remains a green-colored commodity. Despite technological improvements and expansion of uses, the vast majority of sales are still for green hoses. Let’s explore the reasons why.
To Match Lawns
Lawns are commonplace in residential and commercial properties throughout the United States. Even in the arid climates in the states of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, lawns are still grown and maintained.
In 2005, a study by NASA estimated that lawns account for 128,000 square kilometers (49,000 sq mi) of land in the United States. Such extensive coverage makes lawns the most substantial subset of watered land, with all irrigated areas accounting for the use of approximately 2.3 billion gallons of water per day. In short, there is a lot of green land than needs watered continuously in the U.S.
Garden hoses are most commonly used to water gardens through a sprinkler system. While sports teams and the wealthy use underground sprinkler systems, many people will use surface sprinklers, or a network of them, to keep their grass luscious. Of course, the sprinkler needs to be connected to the source of water. Therefore, a system of tubing or garden hoses is required.
It’s a Matter of Convenience
Grass needs to be watered frequently to remain healthy and vibrant. In the summer months, lawns need to be soaked 1-4 times a day, depending on the climate of the area. It is cumbersome and time-consuming to set a sprinkler out each day and then tidy it away after use. As a result, most sprinklers and their connecting hoses are left unfurled on the lawn permanently.
For this reason, most consumers do not want their irrigation systems to be evident. Therefore, for aesthetics, garden hoses are manufactured to be of a similar color to that of grass so that they would go relatively unnoticed by passersby. To meet this demand, manufacturers started to dye hoses green.
Heat Absorption is another factor
Although rubber is naturally white, carbon black is often added to it to increase its strength and durability. However, black material absorbs heat more readily than lighter colors. Extensive heat absorption causes the water in hoses to warm far above ambient temperatures.
Hot water can affect the oxygen uptake in plants, affecting its growth and is therefore not advised to water your garden with hot water. To keep water cooler and considering the consumer’s desire for camouflaging the garden hose in the grass, manufacturers settled on green being the standard hosepipe color.
Green = Nature
Green has connotations of the Earth and fertile lands. It stems from the abundance of chlorophyll, the chemical involved in photosynthesis, in the natural world. It is more than plants and trees that have adopted this color, with animals evolving to exhibit it as a means of camouflage.
Natural green is additionally found in minerals like emerald, chlorite, and amazonite. Significantly, green has a dominant wavelength in the middle of the visible spectrum ranging from 495-570 nm (the entire visible spectrum is 380 – 740 nm). It means that humans can see it far better than any other color.
Gardeners generally are more mindful of protecting the Earth and follow the “Green Movement.” Their interests lie in preserving nature and preventing humans from destroying the Earth irrevocably. The environmentally friendly sprit encourages most gardeners to recycle and grow organic produce for personal consumption. Green is also associated with many positive aspects of life, like granting permission.
The positive psychology of the color has transcended into the horticulture ethos, and as such many garden products have a green color. Everything from spades to trimmers has an accent of green running through their design. Garden hoses are no different. Whether the tube is for watering a lawn or potted plants, consumers instinctively look for green-colored products to reinforce their environmental views.
Why Are Some Garden Hoses Not Green?
Hoses are used for a variety of tasks beyond lawncare. Garden hoses are also employed to wash cars, clean housing exteriors, fill paddling pools, or rinse the family pet. In short, the term garden hose doesn’t automatically apply to its use for gardening. Due to the multitude of uses, hoses are available in different colors and materials to suit the purpose and personal taste. The result is that almost any color of hose is available at non-garden specific stores.
In keeping with the need to blend with surroundings, throughout the world, garden hoses come in a variety of colors. For example, in the Cyclades, most garden hoses are white to match the exterior color of the homes. In parts of Arizona, the most common garden hose color is an ash brown to harmonize with the natural color of the rock found in the surrounding landscape. In China, most garden hoses are also brown to match the color of dry soil. This makes it is easy to determine the areas of vegetable gardens that need watering.
Which Garden Hose Color Fits Your Needs Best?
When choosing a garden hose, think about what surface it will be laying on most of the time. Here are a few options found on Amazon.
This color is great if it will be used mostly on an outdoor patio, driveway, or even near an in-ground pool. White hoses are also built to be drinking water safe.
If your hose will be laying in mulch or on earthy toned stones or gravel, brown might be your best choice.
The most obvious place to use a black hose would be on asphalt.
Certain types of mulch, clay ground, or a brick surface would be perfect for using a red garden hose.
In this article, we have found that garden hoses are green for several reasons. Primarily, it is to match the landscape that they nestle amongst so that they blend into the background unseen. Second is that green is a dominant color in nature and has positive connotations for the consumer. Although most garden hoses in the United States are green, there is a trend of providing more variety in hose colorings to match consumer individuality and their intended use beyond gardening.
Leave a comment below and let us know what color garden hose you prefer and why. We’d love to hear from you.
Here are my favorite tools for keeping the grass as green as possible:
Can You Drink from Your Garden Hose? Garden hoses aren’t manufactured with public health in mind. Therefore, the materials used in hoses can leach poisonous chemicals into the water. Water from a garden hose may contain lead, antimony, bromine, organotin, phthalates, and bisphenol A (commonly known as BPA). In addition to these contaminants, water lingers in garden hoses, and this makes them ideal breeding grounds for bacteria. If you, or your pet drink water from a garden hose too often, it could result in illness.
When Did the Garden Hose Originate? Hoses first appeared around 2,500 years ago in Greece. Back then, their purpose was to flight fire. The invention used ox intestines that were attached to a bag of water. To create a driving pressure, the bag was compressed to move the water through the ox-made hosepipe. Once Dutch technology created a leather-based fire-fighting hose in the late 1600s, the path to inventing a garden hose was a short one. By the 1700s, garden hoses were commonplace in commercial and personal agriculture.
What are Garden Hoses Made Of? Garden hoses need to be robust, flexible, and as lightweight as possible. These qualities enable them to be easily manipulated through plants, over rocks, and across tree roots without tearing. Typically, garden hoses are made of either extruded synthetic rubber or an equivalent soft plastic, like vinyl. Often, these materials are reinforced with an internal web of fibers or metallic coils, which helps them keep their shape and adds to their longevity.
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