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Thanks for posting this Phil - it's a prime example of just how out of touch the horticultural/gardening industries are becoming with the world around us.

There's no doubt that lawns as we know them are rising higher up the list of environmental no-no's. They are huge guzzlers of finite natural resources, primarily the oil required for fuel, fertiliser and biocide manufacture - not to mention the 'embedded energy' in mowers and other lawn care equipment.

The figures for conventional lawn care (especially in countries such as the USA) are truly staggering and, in environmental terms, especially when you look at the effect of the overall implications of emissions in terms of climate change, deeply concerning.

To suggest that plastic grass is somehow going to offer a better environmental bet strikes me as a bit of slickly mown gardening greenwash.

These plastic lawns are, surely, ultimately made from oil and will, one day, thanks to the sun, fade, disintegrate and need to be replaced. Grass goes on and on - look at our ancient biodiversity-rich meadowns. And how does plastic grass score on in terms of sustanaibility when it comes to recycling? I doubt anyone has even given it a passing thought. Grass clippings, handled correctly, make great compost and marvellous mulch.

Perhaps even more importantly, where is all that water from a sudden downpour going to go when it hits a sheet of hairy green plastic - into our already overwhelmed drainage system, perhaps? Stick some holes in the hairy green carpet if you wish, but the soil beneath will be (just like it is below decking) all but dead, and not the intricate, water absorbing and root-rich ecosystem that it ought to be. Doubtless manufacturers will be offering the 'perfect' solution to your plastic lawns self-inflicted drainage problems as a pricey added extra...

The 'lawns' of the future, when we finally have a genuinely eco-savvy gardening population, will look very different to what we have now. There'll be much more like flower-rich meadows with a few close-mown paths winding through them. These backyard meadows will boost biodiversity and change with the seasons - unlike dead, soulless plastic grass. They won't guzzle finite natural resources, and when it rains they'll soak it up - all for free.

Mowers will be simple 'push' types which will last several lifetimes, while others will be battery driven and they'll be charging up from a solar panel on your shed roof. They'll be quiet, emission-free, low maintenance and 100 per cent recyclable at the end of their long lives. Gardeners keen to work even closer to nature will re-learn the elegant simplicity of using a scythe.

We're drowning in gadgets and gizmos that serve to disconnect us from the natural world. Our gardens might be the last hope that many of us have for re-connecting with it.

The last thing we need is another planet-trashing gardening craze that steals the grass, literally, from beneath our feet.

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