Green Giant
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Artificial Grass is it really worth it?

I am currently undergoing a decision on about whether i should dig up my lawn or not.

I am at the stage of being quite tired of caring for my grass. However i don't want an ugly looking garden.

I have been looking at various places on the internet and have been sent some free grass samples by a company to get a feel of how my lawn could look and feel. To be honest i found it rather strange. On exploring the website further i had looked at the gallery and the results are beyond amazing.

I'm just wondering to see if anybody could help in my decision on making the change.

What do you know? Do you have it? How does it really look? maybe you're considering it too...
Last edited by Green Giant on Fri Apr 04, 2008 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Why is my neighbours lawn always greener?...
Sod the astro turf!

TheLorax
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You Brits blow us Americans out of the water in the landscaping arena but I'll bite and share what I think about lawns. I find them to be toxic and chemically dependent so I'd definitely dig up 100% of my lawn right this very instant if I could. I begrudge the time my husband has to spend mowing it and the cost of upkeep on the lawnmowers and the cost of gas to run the lawnmowers. I can't imagine what lawns really cost us all over the long haul and we long stopped wasting water on our lawn to keep it green and haven't used chemicals on it in years. I'm convinced the costs of maintaining lawns are considerably higher than what we might fathom so eliminating them in their entirety and going for a more natural landscape makes sense to me. I'd go for a path to the front door and would fill every spot in with native plants already adapted to the area in which I garden that benefited wildlife and didn't require chemicals.

https://www.naturalengland.org.uk/default.htm

If you do decide to dig up you lawn, you may find some ideas here-
https://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/htbg2/module8/

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My daughter's pre-school has the artificial grass. I think as a playground surface or even as a playing field it has it's uses.

There are types of grass that do not need constant watering. I did a quick look for the UK and found a site selling hardy grass that is low maintenance and disease resistant. You may want to consider visiting a reputable nursery and discuss purchasing grass seed that has those characteristics. Or, following on with Lorax's suggestion, which sounds like a good one, you can try to find a nursery that specializes in native species and investigate the available options.

Green Giant
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That's one thing i don't understand. Why does the American community seem to depend on everything that uses gas i.e lawn mowers? We Brits do tend to have a love for our gardens but we are quite fond of using the good ole 'flymo' (Electric Lawnmower) Surely with an extension lead or two you could reach the end of your huge gardens? It would be a good way of saving some money especially with all of the gas price rises at the moment.

One of the reasons i am actually considering the Astro Turf approach is to cut down on the amount of time i spend mowing my lawn

The fact that schools use it as well suggests it would be suitable for my children and pets, i guess that is a good aspect of safety. I just wonder if over time the grass will begin to look teathered and i have to fork out for a new Astro turf. If i do decide to revert to the traditional grass would this also be possible a few years down the line?

so many questions and positive attributes, just soo difficult to decide help me haha.
Why is my neighbours lawn always greener?...
Sod the astro turf!

TheLorax
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I have no idea why we Americans are still so obsessed with our lawns considering all we now know. Chemicals leaching into our water tables, the rising cost of gas, and water shortages sweeping our Country should have been a clue we collectively should re-examine our views on turf.

The astro-turf sounds interesting. Haven't a clue how long it would last.

I've been slowly but surely whittling down my lawn. We still have well over an acre of it left and no way to reach it all with an electric mower. A push mower would have my husband out there once a week from dawn to dusk with the amount of lawn we still have left. I'd really like to have it all gone some day. Fortunately, our City has no ordinances dictating that lawns be mowed to a specific height so I'm going to go with a locally native grass that grows to 8" in areas closest to the home by beds I've been creating to try to increase our curb appeal while converting all other areas to prairie. I've got a few neighbors who started to reduce their lawns like me but I'm no good with landscape design at all so it's a struggle for me.

Green Giant
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It seems like your lawn is more of a chore than anything. Maybe it would be better to do some research on landscaping ideas, slowly build up a nice garden like you do a home. If if things do go wrong you can always get some decent grass fitters in to finish the job for you or ou could just cement the whole thing and have no worries for a good few years.

You could even invest in a cow or two, grazing is good.

Why don't you consider the grass challenge as an opportunity?
I'm now thinking i could turn gardening into a hobby for myself.
Why is my neighbours lawn always greener?...
Sod the astro turf!

TheLorax
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The lawn is certainly a chore for my husband. Let's face it, there are many enslaved to their lawns because everyone seems to have been sold a bill of goods that all homes should have turf from the curb to the front door. The sheer time my husband spends cutting it is time that could be better spent on my "honey-do" lists so that adds insult to injury.

I have done a little bit of research on lawns. Based on my findings, I want mine gone. For those who want to learn a little more, here are two publications that I've purchased that may be of interest-
Redesigning the [url=https://www.amazon.com/Redesigning-American-Lawn-Environmental-Harmony/dp/0300086946/ref=sr_1_29?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1207228597&sr=1-29]American Lawn: A Search for Environmental Harmony, Second Edition[/url]

[url=https://www.amazon.com/American-Green-Obsessive-Quest-Perfect/dp/0393329305/ref=pd_sim_b_title_2]American Green: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Lawn[/url]

[url=https://www.amazon.com/Natural-Landscaping-Designing-Native-Communities/dp/0299173240/ref=pd_sim_b_img_4]Natural Landscaping: Designing with Native Plant Communities[/url]

I think we've been sold a bill of goods on lawns and this about sums it up, "Steinberg exposes that most of our green lawns and lawn care habits are formed by marketing of companies likes Scotts and LawnChem".
The reviews of [url=https://www.amazon.com/review/product/0300086946/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?%5Fencoding=UTF8&showViewpoints=1]Redesigning the American Lawn[/url] say it much better than I could.

Here's one I keep meaning to purchase but never quite got around to doing so:

[url=https://www.amazon.com/Wild-Lawn-Handbook-Alternatives-Traditional/dp/0025294458/ref=pd_sim_b_img_3]The Wild Lawn Handbook[/url]

Would be interested to know if anyone has this publication and what they thought of it.

There was a time when I would have considered concrete or a cow for this lawn but I've been plugging away bit by bit doing my best to eliminate it. Takes time, doesn't happen over night what with so many demands on our lives. Last year I did make considerable progress toward elimination. I began adding landscape beds around the home. I'll have to figure out how to take photos and post some pics this summer. Granted, I'm no landscape designer but I do know what I want and it is beginning to take form over here. Next goal is to get a raised bed vegetable garden started though. I am trying, little bits at a time and before I know it the lawn will cease to exist.

MaineDesigner
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Artificial grass is a complete non-starter for me. All the examples I've seen have looked horribly ugly and fake to my eye.

I was, for a time, completely anti-lawn but at least in Northeast and North Central North America I've come to appreciate the virtues of turf. Putting aside those obsessives who can't stand the presence of anything but turf grasses lawns are remarkably low-maintenance, stand up well to foot traffic and can be quite attractive. What I recommend to my clients is that they top dress the lawn in the spring with about 1/4" of compost (more in any obvious low spots), keep it mowed to about 3" and your mower blades sharp, fertilize once in the fall with a good organic lawn fertilizer and maybe add some supplemental calcium (Northern New England soils are almost always calcium deficient) at that time. Supplemental watering is rarely needed here but if we have a dry July & August a few early AM deep waterings (perhaps once every ten days) are usually sufficient. Running a plug aerator over the lawn just before the fall fertilization once every three to five years also helps. If your lawn is small enough to permit a push reel mower or an electric so much the better.
This somewhat oversimplifies the subject and assumes a decent lawn to begin with but organic lawn care is neither complicated nor particularly labor intensive on per square foot basis.

TheLorax
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I just want mine gone. It will be nice to reclaim my husband so he can help me with other things around here and what we have costs him at least 3-4 hours weekly that could be better spent doing for me. Hate to sound selfish but he normally has to start cutting our lawn right about now and that continues well into October if not into early November. Way too many hours spent on the lawn during a time when being outside with friends and family is more important to us.

What do you think of Buchloe dactyloides (Buffalo Grass)? It's a perennial and I've seen it planted around here and it seems to be able to withstand foot traffic just as well as more common non-native lawn grasses. The other obvious bonus is that it is considerably deeper rooted so I suspect it would look much better un-watered than what we currently have which acquires a brittle straw look once the heat starts in. Most of the people I know who have converted to locally indigenous B. dactyloides claim they either never cut it at all throughout the entire growing season or they only cut it once. It really doesn't grow all that high and I liked the soft whispy look of the plant un-mowed.

What I'd like to do is create a small area in my back yard comprised of Buffalo Grass that is large enough to entertain. Maybe just enough to be able to set up a croquet course. Other than that, I'd like to plant the Buffalo Grass around the perimeter of the home extending about 6' or so from sidewalks and from the beds I created last year while reverting the entire rest of the existing lawn to prairie. At least that's my goal but I have a strange premonition my skillset in landscape design by comparison to yours on a scale of 1-100 would be about a 2 or 3 while you'd be way up off the charts. I really suck at design and can't even arrange flowers in a vase.

MaineDesigner
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Lorax, I know next to nothing about Buffalo Grass. As I understand it it is basically a mesic condition grass and out here in coastal New England we get almost twice the amount of precipitation it is adapted to.

TheLorax
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Yes, mesic condition as you call it which will hopefully be ideal for what I want to do with it. Cross your fingers and toes for me. Our riding lawn mower can't last forever and I'd like to get this taken care of before we have to buy a new one. The cost of Cub Cadets these days floors me. They cost as much as a good mechanically sound used car- gag me.

Green Giant
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Maine Designer, how can you say the Artificial Lawn doesn't look at all real?
Last edited by Green Giant on Fri Apr 04, 2008 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Why is my neighbours lawn always greener?...
Sod the astro turf!

MaineDesigner
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Sorry, but even at the relative low resolution of these images it looks fake to me; the color is too uniform and the reflectivity is wrong. Shades of green are wavelengths where human vision is near to maximum sensitivity and most professional gardeners are acutely aware of very subtle variations as part of their developed "eye" for weeds for unhealthy plants. I'm not contending that it would look fake to everyone but for me it fairly screams petro-chemical carpet rather than living plants. I am, however, not the person who will be living there nor am I your landscape designer so my opinion ultimately doesn't matter much.

TheLorax
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The astro turf looks real from the photo to me however what will it look like in 3 years... 5 years...?

From a personal standpoint, there's something not sitting right with me about these types of products for residential applications. I'm sure they're permeable and all but...

TheLorax
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Most testimonials shared by distributors will be glowing. The comparison photos of the turf lawn are well... what can I say... they want to sell their product so it is doubtful they would want to show us an eco-friendly lawn such as this because it would undermine their ability to sell their product-
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ciscel/501643676/
or this-
https://www.energyscapes.com/
or this no-mow lawn utilizing species indigenous to Australia-
https://www.drpr.com.au/media_releases/images/lawn.jpg

All of these lawns can take a good hammering too.

I sort of hope this wave of artificial turf doesn't gain too much popularity because I am getting this visual of these products ending up in landfills down the road. They aren't exactly capable of re-seeding themselves.

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