Our guest blogger explains why she feels natural lawns are better than artificial turf.

Last June I visited my Uncle in Dorset.  He has recently installed an artificial turf lawn.  Just a small one.  I can understand why – his knees are bad and the area is hardly big enough to justify owning a mower.  But all the same, it didn’t sit well with me.

I have a tiny front garden.  It does have a small lawn.  It’s up some steep steps and mowing it is a real kerfuffle.  It’s the ideal candidate for artificial turf.  But I just can’t do it.  Here’s why.

Real lawns are good for the soul

dog on natural lawn
No artificial turf here. This bulldog is certainly enjoying the lawn. Having natural plants underfoot and all around is believed to improve wellbeing and productivity. So if you work indoors most of the day – try to find somewhere green to sit or walk in during your lunch break.

I know.  Daft isn’t it.  But real plants can invoke a feeling of wellbeing that just isn’t matched by plastic. Looking out of my office window and watching my friend Mr Blackbird foraging on the lawn gives me real pleasure.  As does that newly mown grass smell.  Mmmmmm

Natural turf drains brilliantly

Flood season seems to come round quicker and quicker in this country.  Now I live on top of a hill (that’s right – a hill – in Norfolk!) and it would need to be a horrendous flood to affect me.  Others are not so fortunate.

Too many impermeable surfaces are said to increase the risk of flooding. We all need roads and pavements but perhaps we should think harder about balancing them up with soft landscaping that allows free drainage

There is a theory that by covering our country in concrete and relying on drains to keep our feet dry, is actually exacerbating the risk of flooding.  Rainwater doesn’t soak into solid surfaces well and so the drains take almost all of the water that falls onto our roads, roofs, driveways etc.  When drains are blocked or overwhelmed with the volume of rainwater, we get floods.

Lawns on the other hand absorb water like a sponge.  It soaks into the soil and filters down down down into the earth where it eventually finds its way into watercourses.  The process is gradual – which means that the lawn might be a bit soggy underfoot for a while. But streams and rivers are less likely to be overwhelmed. This way there is less risk of flooding.

Aside from the flooding issue, natural drainage gives water a chance to reach soil temperature before entering streams.  So what? I hear you say.  Well, a torrent of cold water pouring direct from the rooftops into the rivers could affect the temperature of the watercourse. Not a problem for humans but some aquatic wildlife is temperature sensitive and could be damaged by the unexpected change.

Lawns let us breathe

Every lawn is a dense carpet of living green plants.  Mostly they are grass but some people choose to have a sedum lawn or a chamomile lawn or indeed a wildflower lawn. No matter what the species, green plants produce oxygen for us to breathe and they absorb carbon dioxide from the air.  They improve our living conditions.  Can plastic do that?

Natural lawns and other green plants help to improve air quality through a process known as photosynthesis. Natural lawns are a great way to absorb some of the carbon dioxide produced by modern living

Those are just 3 good reasons to choose a natural lawn over and above artificial turf.  There are many more.

Take a look at the Turfgrass Growers Association website where you will find a whole list of benefits associated with lawns.  There are statistics and figures to support their reasoning.  It makes good reading.

Visit the TGA website 

It needn’t cost a fortune to water your lawn.  Here’s an article on waterwise lawn care

The positive effects of green space