Faking it: No mowing, no mud and green all year round
By CONSTANCE CRAIG SMITH
Published by The MailOnline 20 July 2010
A decade ago, no gardener worth their salt would admit to having an artificial lawn. Fake grass was stiff, ugly and an utterly unconvincing substitute for the real thing.
In recent years, however, it has been growing in popularity and respectability, with fans like The X Factor judge Amanda Holden singing its praises.
This year, fake grass even made its debut at the Chelsea Flower Show, when it was used to line a shed roof (although its use is still banned in the show gardens).
The main reason for the increasing acceptance of artificial lawns is the enormous improvement in quality.
The first generation of artificial grass was made of basic quality plastic, became waterlogged and lost its vibrant colour after a few years.
Today’s replica lawns have a porous Latex matting for fast drainage, and keep their colour and shape for over a decade. From a distance, many of them look just like the real thing, and there’s no doubt that they offer some great advantages.
For a start, there’s minimal maintenance involved – no mowing, spiking, feeding or watering is required, just the occasional brush and regular hosing down to remove dirt and leaves.
And your grass will look green whatever the weather – the recent hot spell, which has caused many lawns to shrivel up and go yellow, leaves artificial grass unaffected.
It’s also useful in shady gardens where grass won’t grow; as an alternative to paving or decking; and on roof terraces and balconies, where the considerable weight of real grass would be an issue.
Fake grass is very popular with families with young children, particularly if they’re football mad; even the toughest lawn will struggle to thrive if it’s constantly being used as a football pitch.
Sophie Murphy and her husband, Nick, who have two children – Ella, nine, and Grace, seven – and live in West London, are one of a growing number of families who have opted for an artificial lawn. They decided to get rid of their 20sq m turf lawn after Nick built his office at the end of the garden and they were forever mopping up muddy footprints every time he came into the house.
“I agonised over losing my real grass,’ she says, ‘and at first I thought I’d made a terrible mistake. It looked too perfect and, well, fake”
“However, within a day, bits of leaves and plants fell onto it and it began to look real. I couldn’t have predicted the lawn’s success”