-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Sunday, November 09, 2008

fake lawn becoming more popular

It seems like at last fake grass is starting to catch on in Australia - see extracts from article below.

I suspect we are going to have to go down this route at least in part so I don't go nuts from lack of greenery. Fake is better than nothing!

I reckon too it could also be a really practical lower-maintenance alternative to gravel or cobbles for the pathways between garden beds...

Extracts from "Which Grass is Greener?" (November 4, 2008)

Frustrated at seeing their once green lawns turn to parched, dusty hollows because of the watering ban, many people are weighing up the choices: is synthetic turf that you don't have to water kind to the environment or are drought tolerant grasses the way to go?

Peter Ammoun, of Lifestyle Turf, says demand has never been higher for his artificial turf, with this winter "the best ever".

"When we first started, the requests were in summer and for smaller courtyards and little shady areas," he says. "The average size was about 35 square metres, but that has doubled and people are doing their front and back gardens and around swimming pools, plus nature strips." ...

While sales of artificial turf have increased, demand for the real thing is still high, according to HG Turf's Peter van Leeuwen. He concedes that synthetic turf is more practical because there's no need for watering or mowing, but it doesn't have the same feel underfoot as natural turf, which is softer and more cooling...

"A lot of drought-hardy warm season grasses are available and, once established, require little water," van Leeuwen says. Instead, drought-tolerant, warm season grasses such as soft-leafed buffaloes are being grown including Sir Walter, sapphire and palmetto.

Kikuyu, used at Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens in heavy traffic areas, and couch are also viable alternatives. However, like buffalo, they brown off (already there are signs of lawns under stress after two dry months) but they bounce back after rain or being refreshed with grey water...

The cost of natural turf and its synthetic counterparts vary greatly, with real grass costing $7-$10 a square metre and artificial turf, fully installed, $80-$90 (depending on the quality and supplier). If you choose to do it yourself, the cost is about $35 a square metre.

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