Ceci was a lawn, as grassy and pristine as they come.
Doing the right thing for the environment sometimes means messing up a bit with it first. The alarming photos are of a geothermal heat pump installation. The good news from the trenches is that in the end it's all worth it (at least for a more rural kind of property): cheaper heating during the long winter and cooling during those couple of weeks of summer, and some hot water too. A FAQ also mentions cuts in your personal emissions (something we already avoid in social situations). Can't go wrong.
NextEnergy has a simple explanation of how this works and generally what's involved. Our friend rw indicates that the extent of the digging (for the underground pipes) is dictated by the size of the house to heat, and that it can also be done vertically (which is more expensive, unless of course you hit oil). Several federal and provincial grants make this enterprise somewhat more affordable.
Mind you, last year my front yard looked pretty much the same. Some guys painted Plumbers on their truck but couldn't find a sewer pipe if it dripped on them. Then recently NASA used a similar technique to ascertain there is water on the moon; luckily, NASA employs more competent people.
Back to the geothermal thing. It's also good for the environment. Just installing it should give one a warm feeling.
Photos by rw.