The South Lawn Amenities
The White House Complex covers a lot of ground, and the South Lawn sports some impressive features of its own.
The tennis court which graces the lawn got a makeover shortly after President Obama took office. Now it serves as a multi-purpose space, allowing for both tennis and full-court basketball games. The redesigned court has hosted events for basketball players of all skill levels, as well as activities for the first lady's "Let's Move" campaign, which encourages kids to stay active and take positive steps towards healthy living.
If you thought the White House grounds only housed humans, you haven't heard about the beehive. That's right, the South Lawn is home to a dedicated beehive to cultivate honey for use in the White House kitchens. The hive is a relatively new addition to the lawn -- it was installed in 2009. The beehive is actually not a particularly pricey endeavor, and those bees earn their keep by pollinating another feature of the South Lawn -- the kitchen garden.
Like the beehive, the garden was established in 2009, and it is the first garden of its kind on the White House grounds since World War II. Many of the seeds that started the garden came from the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants at Monticello. The produce that comes from the garden is used in the White House kitchen to prepare both small meals and state dinners, and some of it is donated to facilities that provide food for the needy.
While gardening, beekeeping and basketball may not rack up mammoth price tags on their own, the areas of the South Lawn used for these endeavors all had to be renovated and receive ongoing maintenance. After all, even casual presidential luxuries need staff and upkeep.