Why Lawns Aren’t Going Anywhere – Toeing the Line Between Organic and Artificial

Lawns used to be an American family’s source of pride. Our grandparents used to meticulously care for their lawns as though it was a criterion for judging their success and standing in the community. And if you’ve lived through that era, you’d probably agree – back in the day, growing up in suburban Americana, they really were a household’s pride and joy.

Recently however there has been a spate of people moving from old-fashioned lawns to pristine, immaculate and artificial turf. And rightfully so – these artificial lawns are just as soft, and are, at least on the surface, hassle-free. They don’t need watering, maintenance, and fertilizing. On paper, they’d also save you money in maintenance, water consumption, and fuel or electricity consumption on mowing it. In a country that has had its share of drought, and a general economic gloom, they seem to be almost too good to be true.

The idea of not having to mow a lawn again has led people to tear out their once painstakingly-manicured lawns in favor of artificial grass that stays green and immaculate all year round. But is it really all what it’s cut to be? Could it be the first step towards a full-blown artificial revolution in the world of gardens? Are we on the cusp of a new revolution in gardening? Well, it really depends on how you look at it. The way I see it, they’re still a long ways away from totally replacing that green grass of home, so to speak. Let’s get to the reasons why.

1. Artificial Grass Isn’t Biodegradable

For me, this is the reason why it can never, EVER replace the feel of a traditional, living ecosystem such as a lawn. Yes, it may come close to its feel, almost as though it were the most immaculate Kentucky bluegrass, but you know there is something amiss, especially when you’ve gardened your whole life. You won’t just be able to get over the fact that it is what it is: plastic. Plastic that will someday end up buried in the soil many years after you’ve consigned it to the wastebasket.

2. You Don’t Reduce Your Carbon Footprint by Going Artificial

This is one of the great ironies of trying to reduce your carbon footprint by replacing what once was a living ecosystem of its own in your backyard: you don’t. Despite being partly assembled by recycled materials, artificial grasses are created with petroleum distillates that do pollute the environment when they’re made.

3. You’ll End Up Having to Clean them Anyway

You may think that cleaning and maintaining a real live lawn is a total drag, but imagine cleaning something artificial. In the end, you’ll have to pressure wash, scrape, pull out those nasty hairs that get in between it, and use a leaf blower on it anyway. It pretty much negates the reason why you switched to it in the first place, which is its easier maintenance. Point is, you can’t get away from the same responsibility you have with a real lawn. It’s part and parcel of the experience of owning a lawn, just as much as smelling freshly-cut grass is.

4. Organic Lawns Cools Down Your Surroundings

Notice that grass keeps its temperature even when the sun is at its peak at midday on a 4th of July in Alabama? Well, that’s because grass absorbs heat. The rubber that artificial grass is laid on top of will actually contribute to heat; assembling a water cooling system on the other hand is cumbersome and wasteful anyway.

The fact of the matter is, a real, live, well-manicured lawn can never be replaced by something synthetic. There are some things you just can’t manufacture. Freshly-cut grass, the sweet smell of morning dew, and the cool, refreshing sight of a immaculately manicuured lawn everyday are just some of the benefits of owning a lawn, warts and all, entails.

Maintenance is much easier now than it’s ever been, with all sorts of alternatives like gas-powered lawnmowers; just head on to Lawn Mower Lane just to see some of them.

That being said, let’s keep the synthetics to the cities and keep the lawns to our homes; let’s keep that distinctly American tradition alive for our own children to experience.