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Artificial Grass

Synthetic lawns as an alternative to the real thing

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Artificial Grass
photo © Getty Images/ Steven Errico

Artificial grass is becoming more prevalent, especially in parts of the country with arid climates and water scarcity. To many, a synthetic lawn is an outrage, a crime against nature. For others, it's a way of life including water restrictions, low maintenance, and no mowing.

Modern synthetic grass is not your uncle's Astro-Turf either. Gone is the nasty color, harsh texture and concrete base, today's artificial lawn is soft, natural looking and (in the right light) indistinguishable from the real thing. Except fake grass needs no water, fertilizer, mowing, weed control, aeration, or string trimming. Modern artificial grass is even pet friendly, promising easy clean-up for pet owners.

Synthetic grass is not completely maintenance-free. Some require topdressing with materials like crumb rubber or sand to maintain a natural feel and preserve the material. At the very least a good rinse would be necessary form time-to-time.

A decent quality artificial lawn is expensive but it's a one-time purchase. After the initial investment there are little or no further expenses. A synthetic lawn that will last many years and hold up to children and pets will likely cost top-dollar but is worth it. Sometimes it's worth paying a little more for a quality product.

The downside of a synthetic lawn is that it's synthetic. Plastic, derived from petroleum, destined for a landfill, toxic if burned. Despite their best efforts, an artificial lawn will never recreate the soul of a real lawn. Fake lawns cannot reproduce the relationship with the soil, the intricacies of the food web and the connectedness of everything from microorganisms to butterflies and birds.

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