A Green Revolution of the Synthetic Kind
Richard is a happy man. He stands barefoot in the grass, watching his kids running around on his front lawn, chasing and falling all over each other like puppies. The only thing different in Richard’s front yard, compared to the other yards in his neighborhood, is that his is still green.
While drought may have left the rest of the yards dry and brown, Richard’s lawn somehow manages to flourish. It is flawless in its uniformity and its color is the exact shade of freshly watered grass. It is also entirely synthetic!
In small but rapidly growing number of places in suburbs everywhere natural lawns are quickly being replaced with their more synthetic cousin, artificial grass. Makers have been hard at work to figure out and develop the best form of this faux grass. Some have even tried grass with different colored blades and even with extra padding for softer landings.
A Sound Technology
Unlike before, companies are beginning to attempt to make synthetic lawns more porous for better drainage by softening up the base with sand or rubber chips. The latest attempts in this field have been to echo the real deal.
This they attempt by imitating the tiniest detail like using a mix of green tones on individual blades of grass, or adding a tan tone to achieve a feeling of dirt, or even weaving in bits of brown yarn to mimic bits of dead grass. Many companies also mimic regional species of grass to give a truly authentic feel. Many of these manufacturers of synthetic grass are based out of China.
This is particularly encouraging for dry regions where water cannot always be wasted in maintaining huge patches of grass. Some drought prone regions, like Los Angeles County, have seen their municipalities offer rebates to those who remove areas of natural lawn. Artificial grass can turn these places green again.
One of the biggest plusses of such synthetic lawns is that they never require seeding, fertilizing or mowing. It needs no maintenance equipment that spews hazardous gasses in addition to eliminating the use of dangerous chemical fertilizers and insecticides in that space. Most importantly, it saves large amounts of water that usually go into keeping the lawn alive.
It is proven that watering the lawn, maintaining it, covering it with weed-killer and pesticides and mowing it offsets the impact of actually manufacturing fake grass. And because water is scarce in many areas, it can also be seen as being environmentally friendly.
Depending on the region of the country, a typical grass sports field requires between 500,000 to a million gallons of water or more each year. During 2010, between four to eight billion gallons of water were conserved through the use of synthetic turf. The average American family uses 400 gallons of water every day, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A saving of four to eight billion gallons of water equates to the annual water usage of over 27,000 to 55,000 average American families of four.
Also, most natural lawns are monocultures, i.e. they do not make room for fauna, and the chemicals that go into maintaining them can damage the environment. Conservationists recommend introducing bird-feeders and herbaceous borders wherever possible to offset potential environmental damage when replacing natural lawns with synthetic ones.
Using organic gardening methods such as composting and reducing the use of fertilizers will also have a positive effect on the nearby flora and fauna.
Uses of Synthetic Grass
Turf maintenance for highways, roundabouts, grass verges, central reservations and traffic islands is costly and often requires a lot of water, fertilizers and pesticides. It also poses safety concerns for maintenance workers busy cutting the turf.
It can also be used for carpeting school play areas. Synthetic grass provides a much better surface than most carpets, tarmac, chippings or rubber outdoor flooring. Many have also taken to using this synthetic grass as wallpaper or as a comfortable headboard for their bed.
No matter what the weather the artificial turf is designed to look perfect come rain or shine. Its low upkeep makes it the perfect choice for people and organizations who want to avoid the hassle of maintaining a lawn. It can be installed in sports fields, playing areas, home gardens, retirement centers, schools and colleges and is safe for children and pets. Synthetic grass reduces city maintenance costs drastically, freeing tax dollars for other purposes.
With an artificial lawn you will hardly have any mud being tracked into the house. Moreover, pets love synthetic grass and any mess on the turf can simply be hosed down. Most synthetic turfs now have brilliant percolation systems which avoid waterlogging and are also often resistant to pests.
Thousands of homes, businesses, golf courses, municipalities, parks and tourist attractions like Disneyland and Steve Wynn’s Las Vegas resorts have begun using synthetic grass. This ensures that they provide a lush, attractive landscape solution with minimal resource occupation and expenses while saving millions of gallons of water each year. Rooftops once deemed unsuitable for growing vegetation now have a green hue about them thanks to synthetic grass.
People have resorted to buying synthetic turf because it costs almost nothing to maintain it. Leaves, weeds, dirt, animal urine, flooding, UV discoloring and grass disfiguration, among other things, can make your lawn look ugly, but these are of no concern for an artificial turf.
Maintaining a synthetic lawn is simple. If leaves or tree waste accumulates on the surface use a blower/sucker to get rid of them. Weeds should never appear on your turf’s surface, and thorough cleaning can be done with a water hose.
Despite getting a strong reaction out of people, the quality of synthetically manufactured grass continues to improve. With more options becoming available, people are slowly taking to the many environmental and financial benefits of having a synthetic turf in the front yard.
So, after all said and done, Richard is still happy with his choice of synthetic turf. Who would be interested in spending all that time watering, mowing and maintaining your lawn, when you could be spending time with your children on your newly installed synthetic turf.