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Artificial grass is evil Your plastic paradise is killing the planet

Tear it up, Janet (Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Tear it up, Janet (Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


December 9, 2022   6 mins

There’s something about the great outdoors that features heavily in childhood memories, regardless of generation. Perhaps it’s the novelty of a place that isn’t so familiar as the four walls of home. Perhaps it’s sensual — the rough, knowledgeable texture of tree bark, the intoxicating scent of nature’s perfumes, or the piquant, autumnal taste of a swollen, sour blackberry.

Or perhaps it’s the danger of freedom. The thrill of becoming lost. The imperfections of nature that cannot offer complete, bubble-wrapped security and comfort. But wherever imperfection exists, there is someone out there to sell you the dream. Why submit to the chaotic, beautiful imperfections of nature, when you can have a “forever flawless” artificial lawn?

Advertised by their promoters as the perfect solution to gardens bronzed by the unrelenting warmth of climate change, time spent outside mowing and weeding, burn marks from pet urine, and dirty shoes, the artificial lawn market has expanded rapidly in the last decade. There is money to be made — with industry forecasters predicting that global demand for artificial lawn will reach $7 billion by 2025. They’re not cheap either — Which? magazine advises that a fake lawn is comparatively expensive, especially if landscapers or specialists are employed for its installation, which is important for preventing visible seams, wrinkles and having a properly fitted underlay: “The prices quoted for fitting a 50mÂČ area ranged from ÂŁ1,000 to ÂŁ2,700 — double the price of the artificial grass alone.”

So what is the appeal of artificial grass, and why is this such a rapidly expanding industry? Clues are abundant in marketing pitches for the product, citing low maintenance burdens and year-round “flawless” green lawn. One advert for New Lawn promises to “give your family the perfect, safe and mud-free garden year round”.

But this vision of perfection is, frankly, chilling. Can you imagine any child delighting in the artificial crunch of plastic under their feet over the sensory stimulation of real, natural grass in its resplendent, fragrant verdancy? Artificial lawn gardens are fundamentally sterile. The removal of nature goes well beyond the blades of grass. To install outdoor carpet, plastic membranes must be laid down to ensure that plants are unable to take root and grow among the artificial fibres. This means no clover, no buttercups, no daisies. None of the invertebrates and other insects that feed on pollen and decomposing matter. No birds, either — what are they to feed upon in this barren wasteland?

Perfect Grass Ltd. offers this dystopian advice for preventing the simple pleasure of watching birds enjoy a source of food during a long, cold winter: “Keep bird feeders well away from your artificial grass. These will only encourage droppings to build up and rodents to dig at the grass below the feeder.” Grim. The desert conditions persist below ground too — without a source of grass cuttings and other organic matter breaking down into the soil, detritivores like earthworms are starved too. Instead of decomposing humic matter and aerating the soil, without food, they themselves decompose. And deprived of oxygen, the conditions underfoot offer forth the foul odours of the anaerobic rot of whatever organic matter remains, often amplified by pet urine, a known problem for artificial grass.

But worry not, the purveyors of perfection have another solution: chemicals. We’re not just talking about vinegar, washing up liquid and detergents, soaking into the groundwater. There are companies out there to sell you the smell of real grass for your fake grass. Perfect Grass offers this advice for brushing perfume into your plastic:

“If you want your artificial grass to smell like the real thing then add some artificial grass cleaner to it and brush it in
 This compound is a colourless liquid that has an intense smell of freshly cut grass. Mixed with other ingredients and bingo – you are able to deliver that freshly cut grass smell.”

But it’s not all heavenly in plastic paradise. The very same website advises against using lawn fragrance to mask odours that are inherent to artificial grass: “We don’t recommend using these products to cover up the smell of dog wee for example, as we have found it results in a “dog wee grass smell”. It is best used like a perfume; you wouldn’t apply perfume or aftershave without washing first!”

Avoiding maintenance is said to be one of the key advantages of artificial lawns. Yet here again the dream is a failed one. If they are to fulfil their promise of perfection, outdoor carpets require vacuuming to remove debris such as leaves, blossom and twigs. The fibres also require regular agitation to remain firm and upright. Many of the outdoor vacuum cleaners for this purpose (such as the “Lazybrush”) even bear a striking resemblance to
 a lawnmower.

Even regular brushing and vacuuming in colder, wetter climates will not be enough to prevent the build-up of moss and moulds, which darken the lawn, break down the plastic fibres and end the fake perfection. Again, artificial lawn chemicals can come to the rescue — or, if all else fails, you can pressure wash your plastic grass clean again. In the summer, moss and mould give way to intense heat, because artificial lawns absorb and radiate much more heat than natural grass. Aura Landscapes tested this with an infrared thermometer, finding that artificial grass in the sun reached over 60ÂșC — enough to cause thermal burns to human skin.

So, given how awful artificial lawn is, how easy is it to dispose of it? In fact, artificial lawns dispose of themselves, shedding mass as microplastics into the air and watercourse. Research on microplastic emissions from domestic artificial lawn is limited, but playing-field astroturf has been estimated to be the second-largest source of microplastics in the environment after road wear and tyre abrasion. The remainder, once it reaches the end of its useful life of potentially less than ten years, is very hard to recycle, owing to the sheer variety of polymers involved to achieve the “right” texture, ultraviolet light resistance, colour and general durability. Thus, it ends up in landfill.

Already, hundreds of fields that were installed in the mid-2000s in the US are at or beyond their estimated eight-to-10-year life spans. Now these fields are being torn up, en masse. In one 2017 report, the Synthetic Turf Council projected that by the end of the decade, at least 750 fields will be replaced annually. The average field contains approximately 18 tonnes of plastic carpet and 18 tonnes of infill, according to the report. This means that as much as 150,000 tonnes of waste could require disposal every year. The problem is not unique to North America — one Dutch report on how artificial turf is disposed of at the end of its useful life found that recycling facilities often do not follow through with their promises, either taking the money and storing the turf instead of recycling it in reasonable time, or even selling it abroad. Storing large volumes of flammable plastic and rubber is inherently risky, too. The very same facility featured in the Dutch report later suffered a large fire, which took days to put out, releasing toxic fumes into the air.

All of the above said, the most fundamental reason to despise artificial lawns, is that they look shit. Tacky, lifeless green carpets don’t look like a perfect lawn; they look like what they are — as fake, plasticky, and artificial as an American newsreader. Outdoor carpet follows the “uncanny valley” model of emotional response to likenesses. That is to say, it looks unnatural and dystopian precisely because it is so close to, and yet so far from, the natural thing it is trying to emulate. Artificial lawn installation companies often share before and after comparisons: before, the perfect imperfection of nature — a garden habitat for invertebrates, hedgehogs, insects and birds; after, a sterile, fake perfection — devoid of variation, devoid of life. Fake turf is the manifestation of a deep cultural weakness, expressed in short-termism and a distaste and disrespect for the wonder, variety, and temporality of the natural world. Artificial lawns are the “Live, Laugh, Lobotomy” of gardening.

It’s time to go to war against plastic turf. Some municipalities already are: Boston has banned artificial lawn in its city parks. Professional societies are also weighing in — the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) recently declared: “We launched our sustainability strategy last year and fake grass is just not in line with our ethos and views on plastic. We recommend using real grass because of its environmental benefits, which include supporting wildlife, mitigating flooding and cooling the environment.” The RHS’s flagship event, the Chelsea Flower Show, introduced a ban for artificial grass in 2022.

Even if we can’t ban it nationwide, surely the civic minded among us can take the initiative in filling watering cans with acetone and paying a visit to our dear neighbours’ artificial lawns? And if that doesn’t take your fancy, do what you can. If you move somewhere with one, or if you have one already — rip it out, and restore the hum, buzz and chaotic beauty of nature to your surrounds. The planet will thank you, and so will your discerning neighbours.

***

An unabridged, illustrated version of this article first appeared on the writer’s Himbonomics substack.


James Sean Dickson is an analyst and journalist who Substacks at Himbonomics.

Gaylussite

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Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago

I am thrilled that someone finally shed light on this plague on humanity! If anything returns us to the primitive it will be plastic lawns. Bravo!

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago

I am thrilled that someone finally shed light on this plague on humanity! If anything returns us to the primitive it will be plastic lawns. Bravo!

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago

“Can you imagine any child delighting in the artificial crunch of plastic under their feet over the sensory stimulation of real, natural grass

.?”
I can’t even imagine children in my neighbourhood going outside. There are children around somewhere but I never see them. Things are far too dangerous in the outside world – nasty old people,school bullies, the rays from the sun, exercise, the impurities in the air (Dyson toys welcomed in my area, especially if it’s on the NHS – as one poster points out), dirt from the ground, insects which bite, viruses which can give you a runny nose. It is just not safe for children to venture outside.
But they could have artificial grass in their bedrooms, as well as bonsai trees. And the grass doesn’t even have to be green.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago

“Can you imagine any child delighting in the artificial crunch of plastic under their feet over the sensory stimulation of real, natural grass

.?”
I can’t even imagine children in my neighbourhood going outside. There are children around somewhere but I never see them. Things are far too dangerous in the outside world – nasty old people,school bullies, the rays from the sun, exercise, the impurities in the air (Dyson toys welcomed in my area, especially if it’s on the NHS – as one poster points out), dirt from the ground, insects which bite, viruses which can give you a runny nose. It is just not safe for children to venture outside.
But they could have artificial grass in their bedrooms, as well as bonsai trees. And the grass doesn’t even have to be green.

Colin Baxter
Colin Baxter
1 year ago

Great article, very well articulating another user friendly fad, which ultimately damages the environment while pertaining to mimic it.

Colin Baxter
Colin Baxter
1 year ago

Great article, very well articulating another user friendly fad, which ultimately damages the environment while pertaining to mimic it.

John 0
John 0
1 year ago

The article correctly says that plastic grass is ugly, therefore pointless. But the article does not go into the huge pollution problems from plastic as it breaks apart and moves into waterways. It is not toxic like some chemicals, but it still is causing serious problems for creatures like fish.

Jorge Espinha
Jorge Espinha
1 year ago
Reply to  John 0

It does refers it as a major source of microplastic pollution

Kathleen Michels
Kathleen Michels
1 year ago
Reply to  John 0

I find this a nice summary in the article. What would be nice is the citations (which I know exist because I’ve used them – ,from. Report commissioned by FIFA to one by the surfriders foundation and published research studies .
“Research on microplastic emissions from domestic artificial lawn is limited, but playing-field astroturf has been estimated to be the second-largest source of microplastics in the environment after road wear and tyre abrasion. The remainder, once it reaches the end of its useful life of potentially less than ten years, is very hard to recycle, owing to the sheer variety of polymers involved to achieve the “right” texture, ultraviolet light resistance, colour and general durability. Thus, it ends up in landfill.”

Jorge Espinha
Jorge Espinha
1 year ago
Reply to  John 0

It does refers it as a major source of microplastic pollution

Kathleen Michels
Kathleen Michels
1 year ago
Reply to  John 0

I find this a nice summary in the article. What would be nice is the citations (which I know exist because I’ve used them – ,from. Report commissioned by FIFA to one by the surfriders foundation and published research studies .
“Research on microplastic emissions from domestic artificial lawn is limited, but playing-field astroturf has been estimated to be the second-largest source of microplastics in the environment after road wear and tyre abrasion. The remainder, once it reaches the end of its useful life of potentially less than ten years, is very hard to recycle, owing to the sheer variety of polymers involved to achieve the “right” texture, ultraviolet light resistance, colour and general durability. Thus, it ends up in landfill.”

John 0
John 0
1 year ago

The article correctly says that plastic grass is ugly, therefore pointless. But the article does not go into the huge pollution problems from plastic as it breaks apart and moves into waterways. It is not toxic like some chemicals, but it still is causing serious problems for creatures like fish.

SC Fung
SC Fung
1 year ago

the eco freaks are already trying banning fur and other natural fibres! They don’t realise most polyester and artificial materials are by products of oil!!! And recycled polyester cannot never degrade! Just like the net zero terrorists we are warned and berated for using natural energy. Renewables are renewable, nor sustainable.

SC Fung
SC Fung
1 year ago

the eco freaks are already trying banning fur and other natural fibres! They don’t realise most polyester and artificial materials are by products of oil!!! And recycled polyester cannot never degrade! Just like the net zero terrorists we are warned and berated for using natural energy. Renewables are renewable, nor sustainable.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

Is it just me or are the caliber of comments on Unherd degenerating?

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

No, it’s the subject matter. When people argue about things that come down to personal taste and/or personal bias, this is the result. One cannot intelligently debate the relative merits of blue, red, and purple.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

But artificial grass, pretending to be natural and perfect, and it’s consequent negative impact on the environment when put to waste is a pretty fantastic ‘pitch’ on which to debate important topical issues – the environment; humanity seeking perfection. You seem to have overlooked that opportunity.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Or sometimes a case of “you can’t use reason to change someone’s position when they didn’t use reason to arrive at it in the first place”?

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeff Cunningham
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

But artificial grass, pretending to be natural and perfect, and it’s consequent negative impact on the environment when put to waste is a pretty fantastic ‘pitch’ on which to debate important topical issues – the environment; humanity seeking perfection. You seem to have overlooked that opportunity.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

Or sometimes a case of “you can’t use reason to change someone’s position when they didn’t use reason to arrive at it in the first place”?

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeff Cunningham
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

No, it’s the subject matter. When people argue about things that come down to personal taste and/or personal bias, this is the result. One cannot intelligently debate the relative merits of blue, red, and purple.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

Is it just me or are the caliber of comments on Unherd degenerating?

Jorge Espinha
Jorge Espinha
1 year ago

Thank you James. I was toying with the idea of replacing my lawn and you convinced me otherwise. Living in Lisbon I’m sure the temperature would easily surpass the 60C mark. At the moment we are experiencing heavy rainfall and problems draining the water (I always abjected to the idea of having a swimming pool but mother nature had a different idea). I will keep my lawn, I have to come up with a solution for watering the damn thing during spring and summer.

Kathleen Michels
Kathleen Michels
1 year ago
Reply to  Jorge Espinha

Unless you frequently play lawn games on
it why not replace with drought and heat adapted living vegetation?

Kathleen Michels
Kathleen Michels
1 year ago
Reply to  Jorge Espinha

Unless you frequently play lawn games on
it why not replace with drought and heat adapted living vegetation?

Jorge Espinha
Jorge Espinha
1 year ago

Thank you James. I was toying with the idea of replacing my lawn and you convinced me otherwise. Living in Lisbon I’m sure the temperature would easily surpass the 60C mark. At the moment we are experiencing heavy rainfall and problems draining the water (I always abjected to the idea of having a swimming pool but mother nature had a different idea). I will keep my lawn, I have to come up with a solution for watering the damn thing during spring and summer.

David Jennings
David Jennings
1 year ago

Well, despite the simplicity (or merely simplistic?) of this article, the subject is complicated. From a 2010 article published by Columbia University’s Climate School:
“Today, American lawns occupy some 30-40 million acres of land. Lawnmowers to maintain them account for some 5 percent of the nation’s air pollution – probably more in urban areas. Each year more than 17 million gallons of fuel are spilled during the refilling of lawn and garden equipment—more than the oil that the Exxon Valdez spilled.
Homeowners spend billions of dollars and typically use 10 times the amount of pesticide and fertilizers per acre on their lawns as farmers do on crops; the majority of these chemicals are wasted due to inappropriate timing and application. These chemicals then runoff and become a major source of water pollution.Last but not least, 30 to 60 percent of urban fresh water is used on lawns. Most of this water is also wasted due to poor timing and application.”
The writer seems to assume water is not a scarce resource, yet draws on statistics that are heavily influenced by water-parched areas of the world. He also writes about “astro turf” of a previous generation despite significant changes in design, manufacturing and installation that make the experience significantly different today that that he describes (most new artificial lawns -properly installed- are aerated, for example). After wuite a bit of study, we installed a patch of artificial lawn in our wet climate in Canada (water availability was not the issue) along with a rock garden and plants due to those cute birds the author mentioned (in our case, flocks of crows) annually ripping up entire lawns on the street and nothing but moss growing in the shaded areas. Regarding the author’s assertions about product deterioration: judging the wear of an artifical lawn on the basis of a sport stadium’s use makes as much sense as judging regular grass replacement and maintenance based on what happens at Wimbledon stadium during a certain two weeks a year.
I do not suggest those artificial lawns are the perfect answer for all but the very soft, aesthetically pleasing, draining artificial lawns provide (based on the Columbia article and many other reviews) some material environmental benefits overlooked in this article.

john O'Neal
john O'Neal
1 year ago
Reply to  David Jennings

That’s a different subject. Pot bellied unmanly men buttressing their masculinity with giant lawn tractors are as silly, grossly polluting for no real reason, just like the fake lawns.
Real men, those with the sense to maintain their fitness , use push mowers, and I don’t believe there is a more perfect ” Work-ercize”- exercise that actually accomplishes something.
Full body workout from head to toe and after the small investment in the mower, just keep it lubricated and get the blades sharpened every few years and you are all set.
And push mowers are virtually silent, no two stroke whine or four stroke rumble.

Jim R
Jim R
1 year ago
Reply to  john O'Neal

I have an acre and a half lawn up at my cottage and a tractor to mow it. If i tried to mow it with a push mower, I would not have time to go to work. Then I would be poor and have a small lawn, like you. And i guess I would say mean things about people with tractors, projecting my own insecurities onto them.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim R
Jim R
Jim R
1 year ago
Reply to  john O'Neal

I have an acre and a half lawn up at my cottage and a tractor to mow it. If i tried to mow it with a push mower, I would not have time to go to work. Then I would be poor and have a small lawn, like you. And i guess I would say mean things about people with tractors, projecting my own insecurities onto them.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim R
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  David Jennings

This comment, and the responses, all of which are very reasonable and relevant, underscore the fact that ultimately, all environmentalism is an exercise in subjective reasoning. Since the environment cannot speak for itself, there is no ascertaining what is best for it, only a series of human advocates who claim to speak for it and know what’s best for it. They also underscore how idealism and romantic notions are utterly useless when faced with real concerns like human needs and basic resource requirements.

Kathleen Michels
Kathleen Michels
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

First we are part of nature and what affects nature affects us. And hmmm- to your argument about nature not speaking- young children also cannot speak for themselves ..So.would you say just expose them to known harms until and unless they can speak for themselves? Also are you saying we should ignore the objective truth that plastic outdoor carpeting is manufactured with known toxic chemicals and other toxic substances added to keep up the make believe ? Alternatives.to lawn are other natural landscaping Plastic carpeting is objectively harmful and unacceptable .

Last edited 1 year ago by Kathleen Michels
Kathleen Michels
Kathleen Michels
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

First we are part of nature and what affects nature affects us. And hmmm- to your argument about nature not speaking- young children also cannot speak for themselves ..So.would you say just expose them to known harms until and unless they can speak for themselves? Also are you saying we should ignore the objective truth that plastic outdoor carpeting is manufactured with known toxic chemicals and other toxic substances added to keep up the make believe ? Alternatives.to lawn are other natural landscaping Plastic carpeting is objectively harmful and unacceptable .

Last edited 1 year ago by Kathleen Michels
Philip Stott
Philip Stott
1 year ago
Reply to  David Jennings

Well said.
We’ve had our artificial lawn for 9 years now, and it still looks and feels great.

Jorge Espinha
Jorge Espinha
1 year ago
Reply to  David Jennings

All that is true. In some areas the best option is not to have a lawn! But the point of the article is not replacing the lawn with plastic. The environmental impact of a lawn in the New England is far less than in California or Arizona. There are also different species of grass, some are lesser beautiful and more sturdy. Another issue is the way water is managed in the US. Specially in places like southern California , sewer water should be treated in order to be used for watering gardens, for washing machines and toilet flush. The age old technology of collecting rain water and deposit in underground tanks can also help. In any case the argument presented in the article is sound. Don’t have the plastic lawn as an option. You can always .have no lawn as an option.

john O'Neal
john O'Neal
1 year ago
Reply to  David Jennings

That’s a different subject. Pot bellied unmanly men buttressing their masculinity with giant lawn tractors are as silly, grossly polluting for no real reason, just like the fake lawns.
Real men, those with the sense to maintain their fitness , use push mowers, and I don’t believe there is a more perfect ” Work-ercize”- exercise that actually accomplishes something.
Full body workout from head to toe and after the small investment in the mower, just keep it lubricated and get the blades sharpened every few years and you are all set.
And push mowers are virtually silent, no two stroke whine or four stroke rumble.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  David Jennings

This comment, and the responses, all of which are very reasonable and relevant, underscore the fact that ultimately, all environmentalism is an exercise in subjective reasoning. Since the environment cannot speak for itself, there is no ascertaining what is best for it, only a series of human advocates who claim to speak for it and know what’s best for it. They also underscore how idealism and romantic notions are utterly useless when faced with real concerns like human needs and basic resource requirements.

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
1 year ago
Reply to  David Jennings

Well said.
We’ve had our artificial lawn for 9 years now, and it still looks and feels great.

Jorge Espinha
Jorge Espinha
1 year ago
Reply to  David Jennings

All that is true. In some areas the best option is not to have a lawn! But the point of the article is not replacing the lawn with plastic. The environmental impact of a lawn in the New England is far less than in California or Arizona. There are also different species of grass, some are lesser beautiful and more sturdy. Another issue is the way water is managed in the US. Specially in places like southern California , sewer water should be treated in order to be used for watering gardens, for washing machines and toilet flush. The age old technology of collecting rain water and deposit in underground tanks can also help. In any case the argument presented in the article is sound. Don’t have the plastic lawn as an option. You can always .have no lawn as an option.

David Jennings
David Jennings
1 year ago

Well, despite the simplicity (or merely simplistic?) of this article, the subject is complicated. From a 2010 article published by Columbia University’s Climate School:
“Today, American lawns occupy some 30-40 million acres of land. Lawnmowers to maintain them account for some 5 percent of the nation’s air pollution – probably more in urban areas. Each year more than 17 million gallons of fuel are spilled during the refilling of lawn and garden equipment—more than the oil that the Exxon Valdez spilled.
Homeowners spend billions of dollars and typically use 10 times the amount of pesticide and fertilizers per acre on their lawns as farmers do on crops; the majority of these chemicals are wasted due to inappropriate timing and application. These chemicals then runoff and become a major source of water pollution.Last but not least, 30 to 60 percent of urban fresh water is used on lawns. Most of this water is also wasted due to poor timing and application.”
The writer seems to assume water is not a scarce resource, yet draws on statistics that are heavily influenced by water-parched areas of the world. He also writes about “astro turf” of a previous generation despite significant changes in design, manufacturing and installation that make the experience significantly different today that that he describes (most new artificial lawns -properly installed- are aerated, for example). After wuite a bit of study, we installed a patch of artificial lawn in our wet climate in Canada (water availability was not the issue) along with a rock garden and plants due to those cute birds the author mentioned (in our case, flocks of crows) annually ripping up entire lawns on the street and nothing but moss growing in the shaded areas. Regarding the author’s assertions about product deterioration: judging the wear of an artifical lawn on the basis of a sport stadium’s use makes as much sense as judging regular grass replacement and maintenance based on what happens at Wimbledon stadium during a certain two weeks a year.
I do not suggest those artificial lawns are the perfect answer for all but the very soft, aesthetically pleasing, draining artificial lawns provide (based on the Columbia article and many other reviews) some material environmental benefits overlooked in this article.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

I’ve only ever seen astro turf installed in places such as blocks of flats with communal courtyards that get little sunlight. I’ve never heard of it being fitted in regular housing in place of grass lawns so I’m not sure how widespread it actually is

Su Mac
Su Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

My Mum has it in Dorset (she is over 80 and loves it) My Sister has it in a house she bought in London and as she is not a gardener I cannot imagine her wanting anything else. Her kids love both lawns for all year play but also enjoy grass, flowers, trees etc when out and about. I love plants, birds, flowers and would NEVER have it!

Su Mac
Su Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

My Mum has it in Dorset (she is over 80 and loves it) My Sister has it in a house she bought in London and as she is not a gardener I cannot imagine her wanting anything else. Her kids love both lawns for all year play but also enjoy grass, flowers, trees etc when out and about. I love plants, birds, flowers and would NEVER have it!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

I’ve only ever seen astro turf installed in places such as blocks of flats with communal courtyards that get little sunlight. I’ve never heard of it being fitted in regular housing in place of grass lawns so I’m not sure how widespread it actually is

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 year ago

I hear, but if you are a Lefty Liberal do not get excited just yet as we have to see if it plays out yet, but I hear a bunch of Gasht-e Ershad may shortly be out of work – you know the old ‘Prevention of Vice, Promoting Virtue’ Cops from Iran.

What could be more perfect than hiring on a couple squads of them and getting them right on this astro-turf thing? Surely this is right in their perview, as is all the Carbon/plastic, CO2, oil, gas, coal – ESG* (*Environmental, Social, and Governance) ethical vice/virtue stuff.

I mean it is a vice to have this worm killing fake grass, and throwing a can of soup over it just does not do much. No. What is needed are ESG Morality Police, and the Gasht-e Ershad have shown themselves to be very good at this kind of thing. Gretta would approve. Problem solved.

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 year ago

I hear, but if you are a Lefty Liberal do not get excited just yet as we have to see if it plays out yet, but I hear a bunch of Gasht-e Ershad may shortly be out of work – you know the old ‘Prevention of Vice, Promoting Virtue’ Cops from Iran.

What could be more perfect than hiring on a couple squads of them and getting them right on this astro-turf thing? Surely this is right in their perview, as is all the Carbon/plastic, CO2, oil, gas, coal – ESG* (*Environmental, Social, and Governance) ethical vice/virtue stuff.

I mean it is a vice to have this worm killing fake grass, and throwing a can of soup over it just does not do much. No. What is needed are ESG Morality Police, and the Gasht-e Ershad have shown themselves to be very good at this kind of thing. Gretta would approve. Problem solved.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

There are several lessons to be drawn from this article, none of which is the message the author intended. First, it shows how American culture was exported everywhere else for the past fifty or so years. The front lawn is largely an American invention from the 1950s, when the first suburbs were built outside American cities, which brings us to the second lesson. It was the widespread availability of automobiles to middle and lower class workers than enabled them to move farther from their place of work and commute the distance in a reasonable time, allowing suburbs to be economically built and profitably sold away from urban centers where there was still cheap land available. In all those old advertisements for the cookie cutter houses there’s always a car in the driveway. It wasn’t just the automobile of course, but other things like washing machines, vacuums, electric lights, heating and air conditioning, and a host of other inventions that made modern lifestyles possible. Before this time, home ownership was limited to the affluent who could afford servants to maintain houses and to rural family units which often housed multiple generations under one roof and who usually had enough children and elderly to keep up the family property (and feed the chickens and slop the hogs and weed the garden and so on). The whole concept that the author spends several paragraphs romanticizing is actually a fairly recent invention. Well groomed front lawns were always unnatural, always sterile, always a symbol of humanity’s dominion over nature, always required constant maintenance, and always caused problems. Entirely manufactured lawns for whatever purpose private or public are, at worst, only marginally more so. Depending on where one lives and the availability of water, if you MUST have a lawn to satisfy some romantic notion from your childhood, an artificial lawn might make a good option. As we can see just from the comments in this article, what’s best for ‘the environment’ is debatable, and also entirely subjective. Debating what’s best for ‘the environment’ and what humanity’s ‘proper’ relationship is to the environment has become a hobby of modern romantics and their sentimental attachments to their own ideas and a colossal waste of intellectual resources. We’ve quite enough to worry about learning to properly and respectfully relate to one another.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

There are several lessons to be drawn from this article, none of which is the message the author intended. First, it shows how American culture was exported everywhere else for the past fifty or so years. The front lawn is largely an American invention from the 1950s, when the first suburbs were built outside American cities, which brings us to the second lesson. It was the widespread availability of automobiles to middle and lower class workers than enabled them to move farther from their place of work and commute the distance in a reasonable time, allowing suburbs to be economically built and profitably sold away from urban centers where there was still cheap land available. In all those old advertisements for the cookie cutter houses there’s always a car in the driveway. It wasn’t just the automobile of course, but other things like washing machines, vacuums, electric lights, heating and air conditioning, and a host of other inventions that made modern lifestyles possible. Before this time, home ownership was limited to the affluent who could afford servants to maintain houses and to rural family units which often housed multiple generations under one roof and who usually had enough children and elderly to keep up the family property (and feed the chickens and slop the hogs and weed the garden and so on). The whole concept that the author spends several paragraphs romanticizing is actually a fairly recent invention. Well groomed front lawns were always unnatural, always sterile, always a symbol of humanity’s dominion over nature, always required constant maintenance, and always caused problems. Entirely manufactured lawns for whatever purpose private or public are, at worst, only marginally more so. Depending on where one lives and the availability of water, if you MUST have a lawn to satisfy some romantic notion from your childhood, an artificial lawn might make a good option. As we can see just from the comments in this article, what’s best for ‘the environment’ is debatable, and also entirely subjective. Debating what’s best for ‘the environment’ and what humanity’s ‘proper’ relationship is to the environment has become a hobby of modern romantics and their sentimental attachments to their own ideas and a colossal waste of intellectual resources. We’ve quite enough to worry about learning to properly and respectfully relate to one another.

Gordon Mackay
Gordon Mackay
1 year ago

I love our artificial lawn
 looks great and the kids can finally play outside without turning what was a horrid little patch of grass into a mud-pit.
In terms of being unnatural
 we’d already gone down that route with a tarmac drive, LVT kitchen floor and carpets throughout the rest of the house. Purists would probably reject the render finish on our external walls and carp (pun intended) about the poor fish held in eternal captivity within their glass prison.
On the plus side, we have one of those natural gas powered central heating systems instead of a filthy log-burner.

Last edited 1 year ago by Gordon Mackay
Gordon Mackay
Gordon Mackay
1 year ago

I love our artificial lawn
 looks great and the kids can finally play outside without turning what was a horrid little patch of grass into a mud-pit.
In terms of being unnatural
 we’d already gone down that route with a tarmac drive, LVT kitchen floor and carpets throughout the rest of the house. Purists would probably reject the render finish on our external walls and carp (pun intended) about the poor fish held in eternal captivity within their glass prison.
On the plus side, we have one of those natural gas powered central heating systems instead of a filthy log-burner.

Last edited 1 year ago by Gordon Mackay
Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

You know, I think this sort of attack on the plebs would sell better at some wokey lefty virtue-signaling organ of the educated gentry.
Dull dogs like me say: well, artificial lawns are not quite out of the top drawer, old chap. But peasants gotta peasant.
Now, since you mention the Dutch, we may all quail at the very idea of Dutch farmers adding to the methane in the atmosphere, at present a shattering total of 0.00018% — as against oxygen at 21%. That is what fills me with terror and outrage.

john O'Neal
john O'Neal
1 year ago

So do the research and write an article about Holland.

Seldom
Seldom
1 year ago

You’re late, mate. In lefty virtue-signaling organs we already know that “natural” lawns are awful for the environment. Wild gardens are where it is at now. All the smugness of saving the planet without having to contend with much garden-related work.

john O'Neal
john O'Neal
1 year ago

So do the research and write an article about Holland.

Seldom
Seldom
1 year ago

You’re late, mate. In lefty virtue-signaling organs we already know that “natural” lawns are awful for the environment. Wild gardens are where it is at now. All the smugness of saving the planet without having to contend with much garden-related work.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

You know, I think this sort of attack on the plebs would sell better at some wokey lefty virtue-signaling organ of the educated gentry.
Dull dogs like me say: well, artificial lawns are not quite out of the top drawer, old chap. But peasants gotta peasant.
Now, since you mention the Dutch, we may all quail at the very idea of Dutch farmers adding to the methane in the atmosphere, at present a shattering total of 0.00018% — as against oxygen at 21%. That is what fills me with terror and outrage.

Jim R
Jim R
1 year ago

We have a 20’ x 20’ lawn at our house in the middle of the city. With two big dogs peeing on it several times a day, at least half of the grass was dead, so essentially it was just mud – especially in the winter, which is most of the year in Canada. Last June we put in artificial grass and we couldn’t be happier with the result. Yes it smells like pee in dry spells. Yes we disrupted the ecosystem of a small patch of ground. But for the love of god is it really worse than pavement? And it cost us $7000 – at that price it’s never going to be as widespread as the author fears. Note to anyone ‘civic minded’ tempted to take the author’s advice and vandalize our lawn: we will let the dogs out, and happily observe the unrestrained forces of nature take their course!

Jim R
Jim R
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim R

I bet all the nature lovers grieving for the dead microbes in my yard also wear masks, disinfect their groceries and support lockdowns – to protect themselves from 
 microbes.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim R

This actually made me laugh. Great comment despite the downticks. The self contradiction of smug self described liberals is a bottomless well of humor. See my comment for further information on how laughable the notion of the sacred naturality of the front lawn actually is.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim R

This actually made me laugh. Great comment despite the downticks. The self contradiction of smug self described liberals is a bottomless well of humor. See my comment for further information on how laughable the notion of the sacred naturality of the front lawn actually is.

Gordon Mackay
Gordon Mackay
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim R

“is it really worse than pavement?”
Brilliant 🙂

Jim R
Jim R
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim R

I bet all the nature lovers grieving for the dead microbes in my yard also wear masks, disinfect their groceries and support lockdowns – to protect themselves from 
 microbes.

Gordon Mackay
Gordon Mackay
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim R

“is it really worse than pavement?”
Brilliant 🙂

Jim R
Jim R
1 year ago

We have a 20’ x 20’ lawn at our house in the middle of the city. With two big dogs peeing on it several times a day, at least half of the grass was dead, so essentially it was just mud – especially in the winter, which is most of the year in Canada. Last June we put in artificial grass and we couldn’t be happier with the result. Yes it smells like pee in dry spells. Yes we disrupted the ecosystem of a small patch of ground. But for the love of god is it really worse than pavement? And it cost us $7000 – at that price it’s never going to be as widespread as the author fears. Note to anyone ‘civic minded’ tempted to take the author’s advice and vandalize our lawn: we will let the dogs out, and happily observe the unrestrained forces of nature take their course!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Who cares? Get a life and find something else to whine and purge about

john O'Neal
john O'Neal
1 year ago

Indeed.Why don’t you do that?

john O'Neal
john O'Neal
1 year ago

Indeed.Why don’t you do that?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Who cares? Get a life and find something else to whine and purge about