Exasperated with our first world lawn troubles, I innocently posted the above picture on IG asking if I should give up and go faux. The response was…‘enthusiastic’ and ‘divided’.
In one corner there’s the people that have gone faux for whatever reason (convenience, otherwise unable to have a lawn, inherited when moving etc.) and absolutely love it. I haven’t heard from a single person who has gone faux and doesn’t rave about it or would apparently ever go back. Whilst the in the other corner, we have the die hard real lawn fans, for who no amount of yellowing, bald patches or weeding will ever be enough to make them go faux for reasons coming up.
From where I’m standing, achieving a successful lawn is difficult. I’ve read a lot of comments understating the problem and oversimplifying the answer. It’s not just that we can’t be bothered to get the lawn mower out and as it turns out, the cons are not just about being a faux lawn snob – which is about all that was stopping me before last week.
In The Blue Corner – Faux Lawn Converts
Sit Back and Relax – You can put all that grafting behind you. No, not the Love Island kind, real grafting. Say goodbye to mowing, weeding, reseeding and the rest. There’s some maintenance tasks still to be done, but if real lawns are high maintenance divas, faux lawns are low maintenance surfer chicks.
Reduce Water Consumption – Real lawns require lots of water to stay lush and green. Excessive water consumption leads to shortages, can have a negative impact on the environment and eventually your bank balance.
Lawn Appeal – Lush, green and inviting all year round. No mud baths, no fields of hay, no bald patches, no praying to Pachamama to please please please bless your lawn. No, none of the above.
Stick it Where you Want – Be it in heavy shade or a concrete balcony, you can enjoy a little bit of the green stuff wherever you please thanks to faux. Concrete, decking, tarmac, earth are all viable bases, so long as it’s level.
Hay Fever Begone – I’m basically desperate for a perfect real lawn, but whenever I’m around grass moan about how I have the worst hay fever on the planet and am unable to sleep from April to June. A faux lawn could save my other half a lot of earache.
Giant Outdoor Play Mat – Lots of people with children got in touch with me (have you guys been speaking to my mum?) championing faux lawn as a game changer – bye bye muddy trails through the house, wondering what your toddler has unearthed, momentarily despising that child for obliterating your hard work with the football. They can have all the fun they want and not a care in the world for you. Ok, maybe that’s too far, but you get it.
Lawn Snob No More – One message made me chuckle saying ‘faux lawns are the polystyrene ceilings of the future’. I won’t comment on that, but I do know that faux lawns now offer a mind boggling array of choice (they can even come with brown bits and varying blade heights) to make them more realistic than ever, so now faux lawns are more difficult to identify than trustworthy trades people.
In the Green Corner – Mow or Die Real Lawn Club
Initial Outlay is Spenny – Like faux plants you can expect to pay more if you want to be fooled into thinking it’s the real thing. Generally faux can cost from £10 to £30 per sqm (expect to double the cost for installation) depending on the realness factor. Ask for samples, lay them next to real lawn for comparison and shop around.
Plastic Problems – Whilst we’re not consuming faux lawns in the same volume as bags or straws, it’s still another plastic product. Suppliers claim that with proper care, a faux lawn can be kept for up to 20 years (though I’m sure there’ll all be pushing the new, ‘more life like that ever’ alternative every 5), but is it more unnecessary plastic production that we’ll eventually need to dispose of?
Not Entirely Care Free – To keep your faux lawn looking its best, you will need to remove leaves, debris and animal waste promptly. The strands are held upright by brushing a layer of fine sand into the pile which should be renewed annually and brushed occasionally to keep the strands upright.
Loss of Wildlife – Worms and soil insects that thrive under a real lawn won’t survive under artificial grass, which equals bad times for birds. There’s some ‘interesting’ research by faux grass companies stating people who no longer have to spend time mowing their lawn can instead focus on attracting wildlife by other means – bird feeds, water baths etc. not quite sure what to say about that one.
It’s Getting Hot Out Here – The first time I heard it, I thought this was a strange thing to highlight, but I then received countless messages all saying the same thing and I kept coming across it online. Apparently this really is an issue and on hot days you won’t be able to walk on it. Learn something new everyday.
It’s Not Real Grass – Captain state the obvious over here I know, but I’m sorry there’s just something about being part of the horticultural society that I crave, despite continuously failing at every step. I still believe that I’m going to grow into it. Please let it been soon!
So thanks to all my lovely followers, I had plenty to think about and despite a lot of time, money and effort spent in pursuit of the perfect lawn, I’ve decided to have one more crack at it with mother nature. I have to say, I’m more tempted than ever having uncovered the concrete we paid a landscaper £5k to remove 3 years ago beneath 2 inches of topsoil, but I hoping that greener pastures are just around the corner.