Is it time to rethink grass lawns?

Two urban ecologists have questioned the environmental impact of grass lawns and have asked people to consider using alternatives.

Urban ecologists Maria Ignatieva and Marcus Hedblom have written a paper published in the journal ‘Science’ that looks at the impact of grass lawns on the environment. They argue that the negative effects on the environment out way the benefits.

A lawn requires fertiliser, needs mowing and is watered during dry weather spells. Petrol lawn mowers produce carbon monoxide and other toxins. In arid regions of the world, lawns use 75% of the water consumed by the average household, plus weed killers and fertilizers can pollute it.

Grass does consume carbon from the air and this is a benefit, but the authors of the paper say that the disadvantages of a lawn are greater than the benefits.

Ignatieva and Hedblom looked at alternatives such as using natural meadow grass that is allowed to grow wild, and new short grass plants. Though they do not recommend artificial grass, other experts do, since it needs hardly any maintenance. It does not require watering, fertilising or mowing. Debris is easily removed with a leaf blower or broom, and the reduction on maintenance saves users both money and time.

Artificial grass looks good and is available in a number of green shades. Manufacturers of artificial grass are working on processes that reduce organic emissions and non-recyclable waste.

If you care about the environment and want to reduce your water usage, consider installing artificial grass in your Wrexham garden.