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Have you been tempted by this artificial grass craze?

Fake grass

Thinking of swapping your grass for the synthetic kind in a bid to get your lawn looking green and immaculate? Or do you think these gardens are gaudy and unnatural?

My garden can be a lot of work: planting, pruning, weeding and feeding to keep it looking decent through summer. The thing that I feel I spend most time on, and is least rewarding, is my lawn. But recently I’ve had my eyes opened to the fuss-free joys of (whisper it) artificial grass.

Artificial grass trend

When visiting a National Gardens Scheme garden I stepped out on the lawn I realised that the colour was just a little too uniform for it to be real. But it looked good. It complimented the bold planting. Considering how many hundreds of feet must have pounded across it before me, it didn’t show any signs of wear.

The owner of the garden told me that she’d struggled with the patch of grass – it was always in shade so was either muddy or mossy. She’d thought that the only solutions was to remove it completely, but didn’t want to pave her garden.

Since then I’ve seen artificial grass used at a National Trust property and it was amazingly realistic. There were brown strands woven through and an irregular length; just enough to give the illusion of real grass.

It would seem that those who have it in their garden rave about it. Although it can be a little pricey to install, I hear that it’s brilliant if you’ve got dogs, great if you get hayfever and it’s wonderful if you have kids who like to play football.

And for those with patchy lawns it can be put in next to real grass, so if you’ve got a problem area then you can just tackle that bit.

But while artificial grass offers a fuss-free alternative for your garden, I’m aware that it’s not the best for the environment. It’s plastic after all, and so doesn’t provide any natural food or habitats for wildlife that you get with grass. So if you enjoy welcoming wildlife and spotting the odd Robin hunting for worms into your garden, then artificial grass is probably not the product for you.

Turf war

But all in all I have to say I’m tempted. No more hard, brown, dry lawn in the summer or a mossy lawn covered in weeds the rest of the year. And let’s face it, no more endless hours of mowing.

So where do you stand on artificial grass? Have you been tempted by this synthetic lawn trend? Do you lust over an immaculate garden, or do you prefer to keep yours natural?

Would you install artificial grass?

No, never (40%, 709 Votes)

Maybe, it depends on the situation (33%, 591 Votes)

Yes, I would (22%, 380 Votes)

Not sure (5%, 85 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,765

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Comments
Member

The British obsession with a perfect lawn is amusing. I’m always reminded of Asterix in Britain, where we see a Briton “manicuring” his lawn with a tiny sickle, and later stopping Roman trespassers, saying, “my garden is smaller than your Rome, but my pilum is bigger than your sternum”. Classic.

Pros and cons. If the artificial lawn lets water through (does it?), it’s better than monoblocking. And it saves energy as it doesn’t need any mowing or watering. But yes, it’s made of plastic and is of no interest to wildlife that I can think of.

Time to accept that if you feel you must have a lawn, it will be a living, evolving thing? Brown and hard in the summer, so what, and I would bet that more kids in the world play football in fields of dirt than not. And what on earth is wrong with a mossy lawn covered in “weeds”? A perfect lawn is a green desert to wildlife.

But what if you physically can’t mow your lawn/meadow anymore? I know of an old lady who had an artifical lawn put down because of that. Not an easy issue.

Member

I would not replace my real lawn with artificial grass, but I have used it in 2 places.
Under bird feeders just becomes a mud patch with all the birds and squirrels, plus my wife topping up the feeders. So a small (1sqM) patch seems t do the trick, but it does stand out from the real grass around it. So far it less water through with issues, but is odd to walk on. That’s probably a bad install by me.
The other place is a small decked area (2-3sqM) with a bench seat on it. This had old decking but it just rotted away. So some OSB boards and artificial grass on top looks much much better. It’s the same grass as above but as distinct from the lawn it does not standout as different. It’s also nice to sit on the bench with bare feet in the “grass”.
I think these days the artificial grass is much better than it was (varying lengths, brown strands, right shades), so it’s worth considering for the right location.

Member

Not even in my wildest dreams would I replace a thing of Nature with a man made artificial piece of plastic . Have you checked into the complaints by footballers using it ? Lots more ligament injuries and other leg injuries . While there could be a -save money case as regards football clubs to me its an abomination to replace your natural/real/ organic grass with stuff made out of recycled plastic. Has it occurred to dog/cat owners who have pets that leave “deposits ” in the grass that the breakdown time in real grass and plastic is a mile different ? Also the smell will linger longer and the uric acid taint the grass requiring hosing down . Which means young children playing in it have a longer risk of infection if it is not kept clean regularly .

Member
Nigel Heptinstall says:
5 September 2016

See The State of Nature Report, (http://www.rspb.org.uk/Images/stateofnature_tcm9-345839.pdf) headline findings, ” We have quantitative assessments of the population or distribution trends of 3,148 species. Of these, 60% of species have declined over the last 50 years and 31% have declined strongly.” Butterfly Conservation say, “The new analyses provide further evidence of the serious, long-term and ongoing decline of UK butterflies, with 70% of species declining in occurrence (based on the BNM distribution data) and 57% declining in abundance (based on the UKBMS) since 1976.” Even grass is home to many creatures important because they are at the bottom of the food chain. Couple this with the effects on the environment of plastic and run off and it all adds to global warming, pollution and biodiversity in decline. DON’T DO IT.

Member

You,ve got my backing on that Nigel -100 % . Just imagine that lovely summers day , and you are walking in the countryside , a slight cool breeze blows through the branches of the trees , white clouds pass by in the sky , and, instead of the hum of insects flying by or the tweeting of birds, —complete silence ! and you then lie in a field to feel “one ” with nature and a plastic piece of grass sticks in your leg.

Member

Artificial lawns seem to be the new decking. The material is being heavily advertised and I see more and more examples. Our neighbours on one side have laid panels of artificial grass on their front garden. It looks a bit like a badly-laid carpet where the weft has been laid against the direction of adjacent pieces; also the joins are very noticeable. On the other side the neighbours have dug up all the grass on their frontage and put down an expanse of glaring white chippings which draw attention to the several inspection chamber covers that adorn their front garden . The problem where we live is that the underlying soil is very poor being former heath and scrub [broom and gorse] mixed with woodland [Scots pine]. The developers ‘complimentary’ turf was not of the best quality by a long way and after three years in a very dry climate it does not look good with lots of wild flowers and weeds breaking through everywhere. Nevertheless, I persist in trying to maintain a decent lawn at the front with treatment and feeding, and I am reasonably satisfied with the results although it does not have the gleaming appearance of the stone chippings on the right nor the even colour and texture of the unnatural carpeting on the left. I have managed to keep Mr Mole at bay as well although he and I did meet on one occasion. The lawn at the rear of the house is in much better condition because I prepared the substrate thoroughly myself and had a good grade of turf laid professionally, but there are now signs of weed incursion which is the land’s attempt to revert to its natural state.

Member

Do you need an artificial lawn-mower to keep it trim? 🙂

Member

Good thinking!

I’m not sure, Ian – I haven’t noticed any routine maintenance of the neighbours’ artificial grass and reckon it must be getting clogged with dirt and debris – perhaps a powerful vacuum cleaner is all that is required.