Real or implanted breasts; real wood or MDF; real stone or concrete; real decking or plastic...I could go on but I'm sure you get my drift?
In the landscape industry it's plastic grass - also known as fake grass, nylon grass, imitation and synthetic grass - that gets the blood boiling in traditional gardeners.
The installation of synthetic turf is growing apace. It's especially favoured in areas of high traffic or in areas where maintenance is complicated by poor soil conditions and low light levels.
It is therefore understandable that school and public park play areas and walkways are being laid with fake grass.
The pros are instant. Very little maintenance, good drainage, no muddy areas, non-slip, always green and extremely long life.
The obvious negative downside is cost of installation (although many would argue that due to competition and the rapid development of materials that the gap between installation costs for real/fake is starting to close).
It was once viewed as imperative that a sub-base such as compressed scalpings and blinding layer of sand was used to stabilise an area before the laying of synthetic grass.
Nowadays, in domestic applications or areas of low traffic, just by levelling off of an area and the laying of the synthetic grass may be acceptable. Bearing in mind that the synthetic filaments can be 50mm in length and when filled with sand is extremely stable.
Many traditionalists insist nothing compares to the real thing.
Real grass provides habitat for insects and worms and absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere.
Real grass is however expensive to maintain and some would argue - due to the sheer quantity of artificial chemicals we pour onto them during each season - that real grass installations are less friendly to the planet than the environmental impact of producing synthetic fibres.
Traditionalists would counter that argument by warning of hidden toxins in synthetic turf.
Also bear in mind that the use of real grass means that there are massive industries dependent on their business from those who have real grass installations.
Mower, scarifier and aerator manufacturers and dealers, fertiliser and herbicide manufacturers and the practitioners who apply them. Top dressing and compost manufacturers and suppliers. Turf and grass seed suppliers....I could go on.
For artificial installations there's very little need for a supply chain. Many fake grass installations just rely on periodic brushing and a top up of sand.
Passionate about grass or interested in the fake versus real grass debate? Join our professional discussion or leave a comment here.
The aerial image shows a Huxley synthetic golf green I installed at Highfield School Liphook in circa 2002.