There has been a fair bit of debate around Australia recently on how environmentally responsible synthetic grass is in our neighborhoods and there has been a lot of misleading information out there.
Several councils around Australia are debating the viability of installing synthetic grass on their verges but there have been some misguided statements flying around council chambers and the wider community. That’s not too surprising because synthetic grass is a relatively new product in Australia and its popularity is only just starting to grow.
First of all, we should point out that several councils in Australia have invested in the synthetic grass because of the obvious benefits:
• Saving serious amounts of water
• Saving maintenance costs
• Eliminating use of fertilizers and pesticides, which often leach into our rivers
Some councils are more cautious than others when it comes to approving the use of a new product and that’s understandable as councilors need to know they are making the right policies for their taxpayers.
In this blog, we seek to dispel some of the popular myths and misgivings about artificial turf. We want people who care about their gardens, verges and the environment to have a balanced view of synthetic grass.
We want you to be able to make an informed choice about the products you use for your garden.
So below we highlight some of the statements we’ve heard about synthetic grass recently and give you the facts:
Rainwater runs off plastic lawn – Some people will tell you that rainwater runs off synthetic grass preventing replenishment of groundwater. This is not true. The good quality synthetic grass is permeable with stormwater drainage wholes and, if installed properly, will allow absorption of rainwater in harmony with established drainage systems.
Bright green surfaces all year-round look unnatural – This is debatable of course but it is important to point out that there is a great variety of different synthetic lawn products available now, with different densities, coloring and ‘thatch’ that gives a much more natural appearance. It could also be said that ‘natural’ grass lawns look unnatural if they are green throughout an Australian summer – that’s because they often receive an unnatural amount of irrigation and fertilizer.
Synthetic grass is not energy efficient –
Obviously, there is an input of energy required to produce synthetic grass but this should be balanced against the elimination of the need to use a lawn mower, excessive amounts of water, pesticides, and fertilizers for the next 20 to 30 years of the lifespan of the lawn.
Plastics used in the synthetic grass are not biodegradable, so end up as land-fill – While it is true that synthetic lawns are made of non-biodegradable materials (you wouldn’t want your lawn to fall apart would you!), most of the components can be re-used at the end of its long lifespan. We believe the scope for recycling synthetic lawn components will grow in the coming years but these are yet to be developed because synthetic grass has only just started to grow in popularity and most high-quality artificial lawn products with reasonable maintenance and care given will last for 20 to 30 years.
Degradation of synthetic lawn releases toxins which leach into groundwater – It is important to ensure that when you purchase synthetic grass that it comes from a reliable supplier who can guarantee quality and safety. No Worries Turf Grass lawns do not contain toxins or heavy metals which can be harmful to the environment, your family, or pets. However, there is a growing number of small-scale operators have entered the synthetic grass market in Australia recently and the quality of products varies considerably. We suggest that you do as much research as possible before you choose synthetic grass for your lawn. Those selling synthetic grass should be able to give you full information about their products – if they are not able to answer your questions then look elsewhere to ensure you have confidence in the investment you are making for your home.
Synthetic grass can get hot – It is true that synthetic grass products can get warmer than a natural grass lawn. However, this is usually only a consideration in the height of summer. Yes, this has been a long, hot summer but synthetic grass certainly does not get as hot as paving, another popular alternative to natural grass. The NWTurf product range also includes ‘Cool Grass’ which is up to 25% cooler than other synthetic grass products. We believe that some accounts of the heat retention of synthetic grass are overstated as few people walk on (even natural) lawns on hot sunny days.
The soil under plastic lawn is sterile – In a majority of Australia natural soil is largely sand and has been classified as one of the poorest quality agricultural soils on the planet. If you have good quality soil under your lawn you are either very lucky or have put an awful lot of work and additives into it. Synthetic grass will not support bacteria, insects, ants, and worms, in the same way, good soils under natural cover can but not many gardens do!
The synthetic lawn does not absorb CO2 or produce oxygen – True. Natural lawns do absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen but that natural process is largely inhibited in Australia’s summers due to the extreme heat and dry conditions, especially with the necessary water restrictions. Synthetic grass will not enhance the carbon budget in your garden – perhaps one reason why many people see it as an attractive option to paving their backyard while retaining the lush look of a lawn.
Poorly- maintained synthetic lawn looks bad – We agree! It is important to maintain your synthetic grass properly but if it is properly installed that is an easy job. Good quality synthetic lawns look great if they are well maintained. But any garden will become unattractive if it is not well maintained (whether it uses synthetic or natural products).
In heavy rain, the synthetic mat will wash away – One of the more laughable and misinformed statements we’ve heard. Properly installed lawns are very firmly attached through solid fixings and considerable “infill” and would only be moved by an extreme natural disaster in which other structural damage would occur.
Know the facts!
Through this blog, we want to make sure people considering synthetic grass know all the facts. If we were to highlight one aspect of choosing the right product for your garden then it is to ensure you have a quality synthetic lawn that you have confidence in. We want you to have a lawn that you can enjoy for many years to come but there is a wildly varying quality of synthetic grass products on the Australian market. If you feel some of your questions about synthetic grass remain unanswered check out our website or give us a call on Phone1300 03 77 11