NOT Once when my children were growing up, I forbade them to play on the lawn.
Yet that was the advice given to some families during the recent heat wave.
The advice, carried by the media, targeted those with artificial lawns, warning that plastic grass can get very hot as it absorbs heat and can even cause burns, which in fact, as one site states Web, ‘a dangerous choice for young families and pet owners during the summer’.
Yes, plastic lawns are not safe for your children or pets in hot weather.
There are two reasons not to have one.
And I can think of many more. With climate change driving these extreme temperatures, shouldn’t we put the planet first? Why would anyone want to banish vegetation in favor of something plastic?
Yet they are becoming more and more popular.
It’s not just lawns. It is commonplace these days to see plastic flowers in pots and hanging baskets. The other day, while snooping around a local store, I came across a giant trellis of leaves and flowers just begging to be taped to a wall. I have no doubt it saves time waiting for a real vine to grow and bloom, but it looks awful.
Unlike a real clematis or a climbing rose, there is nothing to attract other life forms than the strange ant or the spider that takes a wrong turn and does not find its way out of the synthetic jungle .
As for the carbon footprint, well, it can’t be good.
With the future of the planet in jeopardy, this is madness. Isn’t plastic supposed to be public enemy number one? After all, artificial grass was banned by the Royal Horticultural Society at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. But we can’t get enough.
Plastic windows and doors are bad enough. I am ashamed to say that I have plastic windows, although they were inherited from previous owners. I hate them with a passion but I can’t afford to replace them.
But when we laminate – yes, that word exists – our gardens too, there must be something wrong.
It will only be a matter of time before we start throwing away plastic houses. Come to think of it, maybe that’s not such a bad idea. Like the giant Wendy houses, they could be mass-produced at a fraction of the cost of bricks and mortar. We would be like big Sylvanian families. It could be an answer to the housing crisis for Liz or Rishi.
The only thing is that when the mercury soars, they might be susceptible to melting, so insurance might be steep. But regardless, it’s a small price to pay for a plastic roof over your property.
Before this recent explosion of plastic vegetation, the only place you saw it was in wine bars and cemeteries. I always find plastic flowers on graves depressing. Even if people can’t visit often, a fleeting bouquet of real flowers is much nicer. I hope when I give up the ghost, my daughters will deem me worthy of real flowers.
The companies offer tips for keeping your “grass” cool on hot days, such as using garden furniture to create shaded areas. Unless your recliners are the size of mega yachts, this really won’t help. Can I nominate trees? No, wait, they’re not plastic.
Of course, in times of drought, when neighbors’ lawns are brown and scorched, your artificial garden will still be bright green, albeit unnatural.
You don’t need to mow it. But you can’t escape watering. Apparently, you still need to water plastic lawns once a week to keep them clean. “This will remove dust, debris and dirt and prevent any airborne seeds from germinating,” the guide says. Seeds, germination – isn’t that a natural process? God forbid.