Over the fence
Over the fence What’s the case for an artificial lawn? Is one ever acceptable in a ‘proper’ garden?
Fake grass: an eco no-no or time saver?
There’s no worry about weeds with an artificial lawn Daisies, clover and speedwell provide a source of nectar for insects
ime is a currency nowadays. I could spend an hour cutting my grass, or an hour playing ‘shops’ outdoors with my daughter, and this is where the world of artificial grass could come in to save the day. The time aspect is a massive thing for me. Everyone knows that if a garden is looking a bit tatty around the edges, it can be tidied up no end by cutting the grass, but how about the garden looking that neat and tidy all the time by opting for an artificial lawn? No dragging the lawnmower out every week, or getting rid of grass cuttings. No worrying about weeds finding their way through, or having to water it af ter weeks of sun beating down on it – just a beaut i f ul , green, pristine lawn ready to go every time you step outside your back door. My nan is always asking me how to stop her dog ruining the lawn, and patchy yellow spots in the garden are not something you’d be proud to show the neighbours when they pop over for a cuppa. But an artificial lawn solves the problem by rolling out the green carpet for them. Artificial grass can be quite expensive, depending on the size of space you are covering, and if you are going to do it then scrimping and buying the cheap stuff can do more harm than good. But for me the positives outweigh the negatives, and as a home investment you’ll never look back. As long as you have plenty of real plants for wildlife and real gardening to get involved with in your garden – as you’ve got to get some soil between those fingers somewhere along the way – then I say artificial grass could be the future and we should all try to embrace it. ardening is about cultivating plants – and that includes the lawn. A lawn should not be a lifeless layer; a real lawn is easy on the eye and a green space with an environmental benefit. It produces oxygen, takes in carbon dioxide and slows down rainwater run-off to prevent flash flooding. Change your mindset, see weeds as wild flowers and your lawn will be transformed into a beneficial habitat, a pretty carpet, patterned with daisies, clover and speedwell (all sources of nectar for insects), and you will soon have blackbirds searching for worms, green woodpeckers probing the surface for ants and pied wagtails and robins catching insects. With a push mower, you can have a good workout, with no need to go to the gym, and the lawn clippings can be mixed into the compost heap as an activator to break down woody material. Artificial lawns don’t offer anything to the environment; they’re just for your convenience. As for the time it takes, if you mow little and often, preferably twice a week during active growth, mowing the lawn doesn’t take long at all; you won’t have to lift a heavy grass box either. If you are worried about urine patches, just stand by with a bucket of water to pour over the grass when a dog wees, or train them to go in one place. The trouble with artificial lawns is however hard you try, they don’t look real. They’re too uniform and consistently green, the light doesn’t shine through as it does with real grass, the surface they create is dead flat. Slap bang in the middle of your personal paradise is an lifeless green space. You’ll be planting artificial trees next!