Most of my backyard has fake/artificial grass (also called “astroturf”). I chose this despite being aware of the environmental impact of it, such as microplastic pollution and it harming biodiversity.
So… why did I choose this? Well, I discuss all that in this video, along with showing some photos of me installing it.
Overall I’m happy with my choice of artificial grass, even though in an ideal world I would have preferred a proper grass lawn.
Hello, I’m Tristan. Someone recently commented that the artificial grass (also called fake grass) that I have in my backyard is terrible for the environment. They pointed out that it results in microplastics ultimately polluting our oceans, and it doesn’t allow for worms and other biodiversity.
And they’re completely right. So, do I regret laying fake grass in my backyard? Nope. Heck, I actually used to have a lawn (i.e. real grass) – but I ripped it up in order to lay fake grass. Why? Do I also like – y’know – cutting down trees for fun, stamping on wildlife and regularly taking private jets?
No, I don’t. I am generally quite eco-conscious, but when I moved into my new construction home 5 years ago, the backyard was terrible – it was low quality mud full of rubble, and the mud itself seemed to be permanently wet despite there being drainage provision.
As a result, I removed as much rubble as I could and I added some better soil. I then laid a real turf lawn. Unfortunately my backyard is north-facing so it didn’t get tons of light, and over time the green grass started turning yellow and patchy. Some areas also remained quite boggy.
It also made hanging clothes on the line quite annoying – even a few days after it rained, the ground would be soft underfoot and if you dropped clothes by mistake, they would be muddy and need to be washed again.
As a result, around the time that my wife and I had children, we decided to get rid of the real grass and switch to fake grass. I did the install myself – I hired a skip and I dug up the old lawn to the required depth. I then added scalpings (before compacting them with a plate compactor), then I did the same with the final granite dust layer. Then I laid the fake grass. It was quite a fun project, to be honest, although I am now permanently burned from when I touched the wrong part of the plate compactor during use.
Ah well, it was worth it because the fake grass is working out really well. When it rains, my children can use the yard straight after it stops raining. Previously the grass area would have been inaccessible for a day or two. And it’s quite nice not to have mud anywhere. My children don’t end up traipsing mud all over the house, and we can hang our clothes on the line without worrying about making them muddy if we accidentally drop them.
The only real downsides are that the fake grass gets quite warm in the peak of summer, and also the environmental downsides are genuine and worth remembering. In an ideal world, I would have a much bigger backyard and I would then have different areas – a patio by the house, a small patch of fake grass below our laundry line, and then a real green lawn for the rest of the backyard.
But since my backyard is quite small AND north facing, fake grass has been working out really well for us. I AM conscious of the environmental impact, but sometimes you have to be pragmatic and use the right material for the job – and in this case, fake grass is better for my family than real grass.
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