The Pros and Cons of Artificial Lawns

grass lawn

Artificial lawns have seemed to be the answer to drought-stricken California’s prayers– but are they really all they’re cracked up to be? While they don’t require watering, fertilizer, or mowing, they still have environmental consequences as a petroleum-based, non-biodegradable product.

Time to move on from the perfect freshly mown lawn?

Unfortunately, we’ve learned more and more over the years about the environmental impact of real turf, and it doesn’t look good. Watering makes up one-third of residential water use, so it’s no wonder certain municipalities enforce maximum lawn sizes and watering hours regulations.

  • Fertilizers used to bring about the signature lawn-grass-green are chalk-full of chemicals which pollute groundwater.
  • The maintenance of a lawn using various power tools contributes more to air pollution than the lawn’s oxygen output detracts.

Going traditional

There is a lot to be said for the feel of a traditional lawn– the cool blades of grass soft under your feet, and the smell after it has been freshly mown. Pros of a traditional lawn:

  • You don’t have to waste gallons upon gallons of water: use recycled laundry and shower water (gray water).
  • Those chemical-filled fertilizers aren’t the only option – use an organic fertilizer (though it may be a less than perfect green lawn) and avoid the toxicity it brings.

Off the beaten…lawn

Artificial lawns can be a great alternative for those unable to keep up with lawn maintenance, or who are looking to lessen their environmental impact.

  • Made of recycled materials (old tires or plastic bottles), these grass carpets require no watering, feeding, or mowing.
  • The lifetime of an artificial lawn can be up to 25 years, at which point the initial expense has payed for itself multiple times over.

Alternatives to the alternative?

  • Unfortunately, artificial turf is not 100% environmentally friendly: it still creates pollution in the manufacturing process, is not biodegradable and will eventually be in a landfill. It absorbs heat, so in hot climates can reach temperatures 35 degrees higher than the surrounding temperature. As for pet owners, artificial turf does not absorb animal waste.
  • So if both a traditional lawn and an artificial green won’t work for you– consider other alternatives such as moss, wood chips, or rock or crushed shells, explained in one of our past posts.

Have your own tradition versus artificial turf experience to share with the BMR Insurance Community? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below! Questions about your insurance coverage? Call us at 714.838.1911 for a free quote!

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