Following the recent success of artificial grass in suburban gardens, it could make an even bigger impact in the year ahead as gardeners begin redesigning their plots. But how does it compare with the real thing? It’s undeniably labour-saving but is it environmentally-friendly?
Artificial Grass – the Good Bits
Rolling out a carpet of artificial grass can transform your garden in seconds. You don’t have to wait for it to become established, it will never need watering, weeding or mowing. Every day it will make your garden look stylish and tidy. Different blade lengths and colours can actually make it look fairly realistic and best of all, it should last for about twenty-five years. It is particularly useful for creating the appearance of a luscious lawn in difficult damp, shady spots, in areas that are too small for a lawn mower or around intricate stepping stones. It’s ideal for playing football on whatever the weather. Fans of artificial lawns claim they are good for the environment because they save water, the use of fertilisers and save the energy of both electricity and gardeners.
Artificial Grass – the Bad Bits
The cost of the grass and the installation is high although this is offset by not needing to purchase a lawnmower. It is manufactured from a variety of plastics some of which have been recycled from bottles. While that in itself is helpful to the environment, the costs and pollution produced during their manufacture are detrimental. Rainwater can seep through the artificial turf but it attracts the heat of the sun and can become quite rather hot. Pets who usually like to lie on real grass to cool down in the summer will find it too uncomfortable. At the end of its useful life artificial turf is often destined for landfill sites.
Compared to Real Turf
A lawn of real grass looks stylish when it has been trimmed but its true value lies in the ecological benefits it produces. Lawns don’t have to be treated to gallons of water during dry weather as left alone they’ll soon recover once the rain arrives. Good quality turf of hard-wearing grass seed varieties don’t particularly need fertilisers to keep them in fine condition. Most grow more than fast enough without any encouragement! Unless you insist on an immaculate lawn, grass will usually contain clover and plantains that are of great benefit to bumble bees, butterflies and moths. Birds will look through lawns for worms and caddis fly larvae to feed their young.
Much of our suburban landscape is already buried beneath concrete leaving little space for wildlife. Should even more disappear beneath a layer of plastic? Lawns can be designed in imaginative shapes that will add character to your garden. Consult the experts at Garden Club London for their views on using artificial or real turf.