Artificial Grass - the Green solution for your garden?
We would all love to have a lush green lawn, preferably throughout the year. When the idea of an artificial lawn is first mentioned it doesn't inspire a green eco friendly image, being made from synthetic materials. However, in many ways it is one of the most environmentally friendly options.
This is because maintaining a real lawn in itself uses many resources which can add pollutants, consume energy and dramatically increase ones carbon footprint.
Lawn feeds and fertilisers
Using a lawn feed requires knowledge of
- the different types of lawn feed (including the feeds mineral balance, organic and non-organic)
- the correct times of year to apply the lawn feed
- the correct amount to apply to the lawn using a suitable feed spreader
If lawn fertilisers aren’t applied properly it can result in some areas of the lawn receiving more than the recommended amount of the fertiliser thus flooding that area with too many nutrients which then upsets the mineral balance in the soil.
Fuel Consumption and air pollution
We have all woken up in the morning and the first thing we hear is the sound of a neighbour’s lawn mower. Although that lawn mower isn't the biggest gas guzzler on the planet consider how many lawn mowers simultaneously are being used and how much fuel is being burned. If all those people were to use an artificial lawn, imagine how much of this limited resource would be saved.
Although garden equipment has regulated emissions in many countries there is still older mowing equipment still in use today. These machines compared to their modern day equivalents are less efficient and produce more carbon emissions, release more pollutants and burn much more fuel.
Have you ever considered what happens with all those grass clippings once you have mowed your lawn? Believe it or not once you have emptied your clippings on your compost heap they begin to emit higher levels of methane gas. This occurs because Oxygen cannot penetrate into the pile of grass cuttings fully to start breaking it down.
Pesticides and weed killers
Although we would all aim to have a fully organic garden, certainly where a weed free, lush green lawn is concerned we often have to resort to using chemicals. Sadly these chemicals have an impact on the environment and can affect the ecological balance of many micro-organisms that exist in your garden. They can even sterilize your soil making it a harder environment for plants to survive.
Pets (especially cats and dogs) often try and eat the tiny pellets in the weed / feed products and this can make them sick and very poorly.
Safety of children in the garden is also an important consideration . Small babies and children may also try to eat the often brightly coloured pellets or get fertiliser residue on their fingers which they then put in their mouth.
No need to water the artificial lawn
We must also consider the amount of water that is required to maintain a healthy lawn. Certainly in the summer months the lawn will need to be watered to keep it looking for way it is. These days water is becoming a precious commodity, so much so that droughts are becoming more frequent, and in some areas it may not be possible to water a lawn with a hosepipe ban in place. The water must be pumped to your lawn which uses energy and if watering on a hot day then a lot of the water can be lost through evaporation.
Reduction in flora and fauna diversity
The benefits of the synthetic turf must be weighed up with the negative ecological aspects of an artificial lawn in the garden. The main negative impact must be the reduction in bio-diversity in the garden, with fewer insects and flora (albeit some would be weeds) that would normally live in and under the grass and thatch layer of a living lawn. Thatch is the build-up of debris on the natural lawn such as grass cuttings, decaying leaves etc. This reduction in habitat can have knock on effects higher up the food chain, e.g. the birds and small animals that would eat the insects etc.
Do the ecological benefits make an artificial lawn more attractive?
Considering all these environmental factors associated with the proper maintenance of a lawn, does it seem that a decision to buy artificial grass is the most environmentally sound option? Do the ecological benefits coupled with the added advantage that it is far easier to maintain then a real lawn inspire you to install an artificial lawn?
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