The trend of digging up lawns and replacing grass in back yards with artificial alternatives has been growing and gaining pace for years. It’s an attractive option for households that are cash rich but time poor thanks to the low maintenance nature of the plastic imitation version.
Artificial grass is a poor choice for the environment, as it adds to the near infinite use of plastics, and removes natural habitats of insects and other species like bees. While green spaces are on the decline, a green outdoor carpet does little to help environmental concerns.
Why are artificial lawns bad for the environment?
Contrary to popular belief, the main environmental risk posed by swapping natural grass for synthetic alternatives does not relate to removing a living, growing lawn.
The manufacturing process of creating a fake grass installation, transporting it to the location where it is to be fitted and getting the job done has a massive carbon footprint relative to simple activities like mowing the existing lawn.
What’s more, lawns are a wonderful source of wildlife including ants, spiders, worms, bees and all manner of other tiny life that is destroyed by digging up turf and replacing it with synthetic alternatives.
What are the advantages of artificial grass?
The advantages are what appeals to householders, and many people focus on these when deciding to swap their back garden’s natural grass for a plastic alternative.
The main draw for people to go fake is the ability to forget mowing the lawn through the summer months. We all have busy lives, and being able to ditch the responsibility for mowing can easily save upwards of an hour at weekends, and also save a trip to the tip to get rid of the clippings.
Artificial grass can also be quite hard wearing. If you’ve got kids that love to play football in the garden, you’ll be familiar with the bare earth in the makeshift goalmouth or divots taken out of the surface as the tackles fly.
What are the disadvantages of artificial turf?
Aside from the environmental damage done by switching to fake lawns (once commonly known as Astroturf), the biggest obstacle is likely to be cost.
Don’t kid yourself that eliminating the need to use the lawn mower will save on electricity or diesel and pay for itself eventually – you’ll be replacing the artificial surface long before that so called investment pays itself off.
It’s likely that for the smallest of gardens you’ll be paying north of two grand to get the job done, with materials and labor included.
For a rough estimate, measure a rough rectangle in meters in the garden and multiply the width of the garden by the length.
That gives you the number of square meters you’ll need to cover in your yard, at a cost of approximately $75 per square meter. The range we got during our research ranged from $40 per square meter to over $100 per square meter, with $75 being the median quote.
Based on that median, here’s some examples:
|Width (meters)||Length (meters)||Area (square meters)||Cost at 75/m2 ($)|
A typical family home with a small garden will measure at least thirty square meters, bringing us to the typical lowest point in the range of $2,000.
Does an artificial lawn contribute to global warming?
Manufacturing almost any product has an impact in terms of carbon release, which in turn affects climate change and global warming.
The fact that an artificial lawn is plastic means it cannot provide the same environmental benefits as a living plant, so while lawns may not give a huge benefit to the environment, it’s certainly preferable to plastic in that sense.
Is artificial grass good for wildlife?
While you’re likely to see bugs, spiders and other creatures in your garden after switching to fake grass, you’re not doing them any favors. Natural lawns are much more homely for animals, especially if allowed to grow a little between mows.
Can artificial grass be recycled?
Many types of artificial grass can be recycled, but it’s a specialist process and there are few facilities available to handle the process. Until that situation improves (and there’s no guarantees it will), so few artificial lawn surfaces get recycled at the end of their lives that they may as well be considered non-recyclable.