Author Topic: To artificial lawn or not?  (Read 5904 times)

Ozstache

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To artificial lawn or not?
« on: December 02, 2012, 02:34:26 AM »
I've been tossing up the merits of changing out our 100 sq metres (1076 sq feet) of front and back lawn from scraggly real grass to artificial lawn.

At face value, artificial lawn seems very anti-mustachian, what with its plastic environmentally-unfriendly construction, high acquisition cost and lazy no-care maintenance. But long term, the maintenance savings add up and should eventually exceed the acquisition cost, thus making it cost effective. And although I am fighting fit at 44 and able to mow and trim my current lawn with ease, that will not be the case forever as I gracefully age. Finally, water here in Australia is a scarce commodity and is getting more expensive by the year, so saving water has both an environmental and an economic benefit.

To me at least, the pros and cons seem pretty balanced.

What do other Mustachians think?

JJ

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Re: To artificial lawn or not?
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2012, 03:29:36 AM »
There are other options...

I agree that mowing a lawn, then fertilising and watering it so it grows and you can mow it some more is a crazy past time.

I've pulled up a lot of lawn over the years and replaced with various types of landscaping - paving (old, recycled bricks for example), trees - a couple of lime trees are always nice if they work in your climate.  Should be ok in most parts of Oz, although the Fremantle Doctor can make a bit of a mess of them, and Tassie may be a bit too cool.  Your friends will love you - a far superior finish to to G&T than a slice of lemon.

If you don't mind a bit of a scruffy looking path, pumpkins are low maintenance.  A big pile of poo to get them going then let them rip until the leaves die off, then pumpkin soup for the next month straight.  Most of our inner city ethnic communities have very mustachian front gardens - tables out the front for when the extended family drop in, in amongst the tomato vines and beans.

I don't like the look of artificial grass myself - maybe I associate it with the artificial grass on concrete cricket pitches you get here.  As a rehabilitated pom it just isn't the same as the real thing.

SilverSoul

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Re: To artificial lawn or not?
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2012, 09:17:57 AM »
To be honest, I don't see any problem with using artificial grass.  My personal preference would be to use very little of it, and to landscape the rest of the yard with things like rocks, paths, etc.  I think your choice is a sound one, although I don't know the cost of getting turf put in.

Jamesqf

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Re: To artificial lawn or not?
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2012, 10:48:09 AM »
Don't know what's native to your area of Australia, but I keep a lot of my yard in more-or-less shortgrass prairie.  Low-water use grass, lots of wildflowers, etc.

michael

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Re: To artificial lawn or not?
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2012, 10:52:24 AM »
Australia is where permaculture began. You'd do well to look into an intro class to get your appetite wetted and see if you can apply the science's principles to bring your land in harmony with what you want from it.

smalllife

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Re: To artificial lawn or not?
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2012, 10:58:43 AM »
Are you required (by a homeowners association or local law) to have green grass?  If not, why is that something you aspire to?  How you answer those questions might yield other options and reveal what you value in a lawn.

My lawn is a combination of grass, weeds, and clover.  I cut it when it grows but just let it do its own thing - no fertilizer or watering.  A lot of my neighbors do the same.  I don't see the point in wasting the earth's resources for such an artificial cultural norm, but that's just me.

My vote is against artificial lawn: the cost is masked by the environmental waste and destruction on it's way to the store.   

Environmental protection tendencies aside, I like the idea of a front yard garden.  It's Mustachian, attractive, reasonable, can be low maintenance, and a great talking point.

mugwump

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Re: To artificial lawn or not?
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2012, 02:17:59 PM »
I've seen artificial grass in a high-traffic area, and it doesn't hold up very well, and it is not zero maintenance.  I second the votes for native plants, permaculture or trees and pavement.  If you put in artificial grass now, it will need to be replaced before you would be too old for maintaining real grass.

rusty

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Re: To artificial lawn or not?
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2012, 03:50:20 PM »
My mother (72) used to say her chore as a child was to sweep the front yard (was dirt).  She had to pull the bits of grass that came up also. 

Seems we sometimes laugh at what the older people do/did; but some of those in their 70's are probably the closest generation to what we are trying to reach as FI or MM.

Try moss or a Zen rock garden.

Ozstache

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Re: To artificial lawn or not?
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2012, 12:08:09 AM »
Thanks for all the feedback everyone. Amusingly, my wife would still like a bit of lawn for the dog to do her business on in the back yard but ironically it is dog pee that is killing our current lawn in patches!

I'm really liking the idea of going with a native/vege/rockery garden, which should cost less than artificial lawn, cost less to maintain than real grass and produce the odd bit of food - win/win!

catalana

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Re: To artificial lawn or not?
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2012, 04:21:02 AM »
We've had the same conversation about lawn and dogs!  OH likes a lawn, but doesn't like cutting it, and it looks terrible with the yellowing and bald patches.  I was ready to throttle him when he got all "I like how lawns look" when I said I wanted to get rid of it in the new house.  He hadn't blooming well cut it for a month and we weren't letting the dogs out because they trail dirt back into the house!!

Anyways..... we're in a new rental with an entirely hard landscaped back garden.  It's the middle of winter (very muddy here) and we can still let the dogs out for a pee without needing to mop the kitchen floor afterwards.  It is great.

I would recommend that you look at fine gravel.  Dogs don't take kindly to perfectly flat surfaces because they get splashback onto their legs.  Gravel is natural, but doesn't harbour germs like plant based materials, and can be hosed down with outdoor disinfectant.  Something you will definitely appreciate if your dog is ill!

I am thinking a lot about our garden in the house we're buying.  I'm thinking of putting in a lot of raised beds with either low maintenance shrubs (so there's lots of greenery) or fruit and veg (probably the high value / lower maintenance items).  We've also talked about having a dedicated dog loo (you can even get dog specific composting bins that you bury in the ground apparently) which I would probably put gravel on.

We're still tempted with an area of grass for lazing and running around on.  I think initially we'll try real grass (after setting up the doggy loo area) and if it fails again, go for either more gravel or the fake lawn.  To keep it looking reasonable and keep costs down, I think I'll go for small areas only, just to give a splash of green.

Ozstache

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Re: To artificial lawn or not?
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2012, 03:08:27 AM »
Some good ideas there catalana. The raised beds idea will discourage my dog from at least running over that part of the garden at full pelt, as she is often seen doing!

Re my dog needing grass, she certainly doesn't hunt the stuff out when we go for a walk and she needs to do her business or make her mark. Any object is fair game when it comes to marking one's turf it seems.

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: To artificial lawn or not?
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2012, 12:16:45 PM »
The house up the road has artificial turf. It looks terrible, all smooshed down and shiny, and they are constantly having to weed it because life has a way of making mockery of our ideas of control. Can you imagine having to WEED your fake lawn? Ugh. Talk about the worst of all worlds.

I support the third option: non turfgrass landscaping. Your dog can poop on drought tolerant prairie grasses just as well, can't he?