Is it worth getting an artificial lawn?

There’s quite a lot of interest these days in artificial lawns. At first glance, having an artificial lawn can sound like an attractive proposition, with many benefits suited to today’s fast-paced lifestyle.

Just install it and you’ll have something that looks like grass without having to do any of the drudgery associated with keeping a lawn alive and healthy.

Except that’s not exactly true.

To understand all of this, it is helpful to take a closer look at what artificial grass actually is.

Essentially, a synthetic lawn is just a big, outdoor carpet. You lay it over an area of prepared ground, on top of a layer consisting of rubber crumbs typically produced from old car tyres.

As with an indoor carpet, you have to make sure your artificial grass is either vacuumed or kept clean of foreign objects.

A normal lawn acts as part of the natural landscape, nurturing and sustaining life, absorbing organic material, producing oxygen and helping maintain ground temperature equilibrium.

But although plastic grass lets water through to the ground beneath, it does not absorb or break down organic matter such as bird or pet faeces.

A cost to the environment

An artificial lawn can look attractively vivid and green, but there are environmental costs.

Lawns actually sustain living organisms which help the soil to breathe. As such they are part of the eco-system.

Artificial lawns are made from petroleum-based plastic which creates artificial waste in its manufacture.

And at the end of its 20 year life, where will it end up? In landfill.

It has also been found that staphyllococus bacteria can live and flourish in polyethene – the stuff used to make artificial grass – for more than 90 days.

In hot weather, real grass has a cooling effect, the opposite of what happens with artificial grass. In summer, artificial grass can reach temperatures of 75ºC and more – and it has been known to cause skin burns.

Aesthetically pleasing. Or not?

You artificial grass will certainly look like the genuine article, appearing to be healthy and always the same vivid shade of green – no matter what the time of year, season or weather conditions.

If it’s a very hot summer like the one we just had, all the natural grass around will look dry and dead, but yours will look flourishing and verdant. In other words, at many times of the year, it will look unnatural.

And in those summer months when you throw off your flip-flops and walk through it barefoot it will feel plastic – and it will feel hot. As it will if you sit down on it.

Aesthetics is not just about how things look. It is also about how things feel, and harmonising human and natural environments.

A real lawn connects people with the natural environment – something a plastic outdoor carpet cannot do.

No turning back

Once you’ve made the decision to install artificial grass, it is very hard to go back on that decision and reinstall turf grass because the ground underneath the synthetic carpet will have killed off any organisms living in the subsoil.

It would take years before that area of ground would be in a fit state to grow anything again.

Artificial grass – permanent solution or passing fad?

There is currently a growing wave of enthusiasm for artificial turf as a way of beautifying open spaces. In future years, people may look back on past this as a passing fad.

Whether that happens or not, we do need to view artificial grass against a much bigger picture.

The growing spectre of global warming has caused the world to focus on the vital importance of a respect for nature.

Our very survival as as a species may come to depend on how successful we are at living in harmony with our natural surroundings. We must view artificial grass in this context.

In some situations, there may be a place for artificial grass, but it should be a limited one. In a world of fakery, it is comforting to know that we can still rejoice in the beauty of the natural world by bringing some of this magic into our own domestic spaces.

The glory of nature can never be replaced by plastic grass, no matter how convincing it looks.

To find out more about natural grass to add beauty and value to your home, call us to discuss our range of quality lawnturf products.