Thursday, September 30, 2010

Is artificial grass "eco-friendly"? What about the wildlife?

I was just reading an article that I found online called 12 Ways to Make Yard Care More Eco-Friendly. I was reading down the list of items, which included things like collect rainwater, use a lawn moisture meter, don't hose down your sidewalk, and thinking that it was a pretty good list, until I got to number 9) which said "consider using synthetic grass." That's the one that made me go "hmmmmmm".

I don't really know anything about synthetic grass, so I did a little research before I decided to form any opinion. The first sentence that I found about synthetic grass was all I needed. It said "no mowing, no weeding, no chemicals, no bugs, no birds......" Oh UGH, UGH and double and triple UGH!

To me, one of the wonderful things about gardens and landscapes is the life that they support: the birds, the butterflies, the insects, the worms. As someone who loves to garden for wildlife, I spend a lot of time encouraging people to choose plants that attract birds and insects. The thought of choosing something for a landscape that has NO value for wildlife just goes against SOOO much I believe in. If you are going to use artificial grass, you might as well use plastic and silk flowers. And perhaps you could have an outdoor sound system with music that "simulates" the sounds of birds and other garden wildlife.

But what do you think? Do the benefits of using something that requires no chemicals or water out-weigh the fact that it also provides nothing for the native wildlife? My opinion is a definite "NO!"

OTHER than the synthetic grass comment, the rest of the article had some pretty good advice. Check it out!


  1. I began to get curious at "hose down the sidewalk." I though we need to conserve water and I don't consider that to be very conserving.
    Have to agree with you about the artificial grass though. That seems to be a real red flag. Did they support the notion with any arguments?
    I have several recordings of water and birds and thunderstorms if you need them.


  2. Hi Dub. I sometimes keep a baby monitor outside my window so that I can bring the sounds of nature IN!! There's no better soundtrack, as far as I'm concerned.

  3. Actually, the original article said Don't hose down your sidewalk or driveway and explained why. And the synthetic grass was only mentioned as an alternative if you lived in a "high drought" area and really loved the look of grass. Certainly better than watering it everyday. And the suggestion to put in a garden instead of either type of grass was also mentioned. I thought it was a very good article.

  4. Arrgh. Thanks for pointing out my typo, Duncraft (I corrected it above) The original post does say DON'T hose down your sidewalk or driveway. I also agree that the rest of the article had some good points.

    Thanks for joining the conversation!

  5. I would not place synthetic grass in parts of the country where there is sufficient rain fall and the grass can survive on that after it's established. I live in the high desert southwest and we prefer natural desert landscape over Kentucky Blue fescue being used as landscape greenery. However, there are people who come to this part of the country and want that "green grass" yard. In that case, I would suggest using either a drought tolerant native grass or the synthetic as a last resort.
    We do have major water issues here and anything to prevent more unecessary water usage is a plus, even if it is fake.

  6. I was just at a conference with town officials and we were just talking about this subject since many sports fields are using artificial turf. It seems there is no definitive answer. I also found out that although these were sold to towns as low maintenance, they get so hot that they have to get watered. Apparently, the football field in my town caught on fire last year.


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