16 Nov Climate Change Makes Artificial Grass The Best Option
Why climate change is likely to see a rise in artificial grass as prolonged dry spells and shorter, heavier rainfalls make maintaining real grass more difficult.
RHS report predicts major changes to lawns and gardens as temperatures rise
The findings in a detailed report published earlier in 2017 by the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) illustrated how climate change will impact gardens in the future. Their findings concluded that extended growing seasons and more volatile weather will provoke major changes in gardens in the years to come with even more widespread use of artificial grass predicted as traditional lawns become more difficult and take more time to maintain.
It’s well known that the UK is generally warming up as years pass; in the last 100 years the average temperature has risen by 1℃, with a 0.5℃ increase recorded since the 1970s.
Certain areas such as the West Country are predicted to be 3℃ higher by around 2080 and East Anglia 5℃. In the north of England, while the temperature increase may be less than in the south at around 2℃, the area will likely experience more extremes in the weather such as heavier rain and an increasing number of storms.
This will have the effect of increasing the growing season over the south with householders finding themselves mowing grass for a longer part of the year as growing periods extend. This increased level of lawn maintenance – especially coupled with other tasks such as edging, treating and increased watering of grass – may inspire more householders to buy artificial grass in greater numbers.
More maintenance for lawns and grassed areas
More rain means more mowing as in the case of the north of the country, but ironically more watering may also be required as there will likely be longer periods without rain interspersed with shorter but heavier rainfalls.
All this means increased maintenance and time spent on lawns:
- More rainfall and rising temperatures – grass grows for longer during the year so more mowing
- Prolonged dry spells – more watering will be required which poses a problem as water shortages are also predicted
A combination of more intense wetter spells and longer dry spells means it will become harder to maintain a lawn to a certain standard; many householders will find their lawn unusable for longer periods yet it will require more maintenance time.
It’s predicted that in the south especially, water conservation will be a major issue with underground tanks being used to catch water from downpipes during periods of heavier rainfall.
The rise of artificial grass
The combination of improved production techniques, minimal maintenance and virtual year round use potential is making artificial grass a tempting option for more homeowners. Climate change will, according to the RHS report and its ‘bullet point’ findings, see more artificial lawns appear in gardens.
The RHS report included contributions from the Met Office and university academics and, along with predictions about grass, says that the type of plants grown will reflect changing conditions. A wider variety of plants such as grape vines and olives could be grown in years to come, and gardens will take on greater importance as areas for rain water to soak away as more hard surfaces are created in response to increased housing demands, along with being a haven for certain types of wildlife.
Artificial surfaces offer certain environmental benefits over grass – a surprise perhaps to those who consider synthetic grass inherently bad for the environment in its manufacture even though much of it is actually created from recycled plastics.
- Water use – artificial surfaces don’t require watering so saving on water consumption; a very real concern as water shortages bite
- Fertilisers and weed killers – these contain chemicals and can get into the drains after rainfall; artificial surfaces don’t require fertilisers or weed killers
- Drainage – properly installed artificial grass includes efficient drainage so water is channeled away properly into the soil and won’t gather on the surface
- Noise and energy – using an electric or motor mower on real grass uses energy and causes noise pollution
Some 4,500 square kms of land in the UK is covered by gardens; they’re likely to see major changes in their composition and make up in years to come with artificial grass a key component.