For those who don’t have synthetic grass in their yards, it’s that time of year to concentrate on protecting your natural lawn from the cold weather. There are several ways to keep your lawn happy and healthy throughout the winter, as long as you have the time and energy to put into it.
The challenge with keeping lawns green and happy during the winter months is that so many Australians seed grasses which are designed to stand up to our hot summers. This keeps the majority of yards green and lush in the warmer months. Yet, as the seasons change, these warm season grasses fall into a state of partial hibernation and delayed growth. The result? Dull, unattractive lawns with thin patches that just won’t rally. When the growing season comes around again, your lawn still may not recover. That is, not unless it’s properly taken care of through the winter.
If you’ve waited until now to begin preparing your lawn for winter, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise. The real secret to a gorgeous winter lawn is to start putting extra work back in autumn. After winter arrives, the cold weather will prevent your lawn from returning to top health. Your grass has to be in good shape well before winter if you want it to flourish. A weakened lawn won’t have the chance to recover during the cold season, and may die out.
Your first treatment of winter-specific fertiliser must be applied prior to winter setting in, by May at the latest. Although the method of applying fertiliser is the same in the winter as it is in summer, the fertiliser itself must compensate for the season. Winter fertilisers contain more iron, which helps lawns retain their strength during the long season.
One treatment of fertiliser won’t be enough, however. The second application should be scheduled to follow about two months after the initial treatment. July is a good time to refresh your lawn with the much-needed nutrients which are packed into your winter fertiliser. Ideally, you should already be maintaining a regular fertilising schedule for your lawn throughout the year. If this is the case, just be sure to change fertiliser types over to a winter fertiliser and continue your normal routine.
Aerating and Acidity
Roughly two weeks before you fertilise, double check the acidity of your soil. Many fertilisers are acid, so you may have to take extra steps to return the soil closer to neutral. Dolomite lime is one solution for adjusting your pH. It should be added to your soil about two weeks before you plan to fertilise.
In addition to checking your pH, you should also make sure that all the necessary nutrients and moisture are able to get down to the roots of your lawn where they’re most needed. Winter is a good time for lawn aeration. A garden fork should be inserted approximately every 15 centimetres across the entire area of your lawn to ensure even aeration. Depending on how cold it is, you may have to put a good amount of energy into breaking the ground up enough to be effective.
Without the warm weather which encourages growth, most grasses will lose their colour and have trouble recovering from any damage. This leaves lawns particularly vulnerable during the winter months, as the grass lacks enough energy or nutrients to repair itself or stay in good health.
Making sure your grass is suited to cooler weather, changing your fertiliser, and maintaining proper pH balance and aeration are the bare minimum required for you to keep up a green, healthy-looking lawn during the winter.
Alternatively, you may consider a lower-maintenance option which will stay green with no extra effort on your part: invest in an artificial lawn. With nothing to mow, weed, fertilise or aerate, synthetic grass can bring beauty to your yard no matter the season.
It’s every man’s dream to have his own putting range right in the backyard. The good news is, there’s no reason you can’t build one yourself. Many PGA professionals own their own synthetic turf putting greens, and we know how great their games are. Choosing synthetic grass for your green makes installing the perfect, flawless playing surface a snap.
Installing a putting green in your yard isn’t too complicated if you follow the correct steps. Step one is to read the directions and gather all the tools you’ll need to finish the project.
You will need:
» Tools to remove existing landscaping (shovel, hoe, etc.)
» Plate compactor for compression
» A metal rake
» A level, to check your slope angles
» Landscaping edging
» Base materials (usually crushed gravel)
» Quick-set concrete
» Fill sand
» Landscape fabric
» Synthetic grass
» Utility knife
» Infill sand
Next, choose where you’d like to install your green. Take into consideration the ground slope, shade cover, and whether the sun will be in your eyes when you’re lining up a shot. Your green should also be well away from structures and shouldn’t collect sitting water when there’s rain.
Next, clean off your chosen location. If you have natural lawn already, that should be removed. Sticks, rocks and other debris should also be removed. The green is then ready to be shaped and the soil loosened. Shape the green depending on how you’ll lay down your artificial turf.
Now, get the dirt a little wet for better compression, and tamp down with a plate compactor. Once the loose dirt is packed firm and smooth, you can roll out the landscape fabric over the compressed earth.
Install edging around the green and then distribute your base materials (usually crushed stones). Even them out with a metal rake to remove any lumps or bumps. Remember, this is a putting green, so ensuring a smooth surface is a must. The green needs to be sloped at one inch per 12 feet. Like the soil, dampen the base materials slightly and tamp them down to compress them.
Now it’s time to install your cup. Dig a hole in the base material that is wider and deeper than the cup itself by a few inches all around. Set your cup in the hole and pour quick-drying concrete around it. Some of the cup should be left exposed at the top, at least an inch. Repeat this process for as many holes as you’d like on your green. After the concrete is dry, cover that area with more base material.
Next, use sand to fill in any gaps in the base material. After a final smoothing out, it’s time to lay your synthetic turf. Starting at the edge of the green, roll out your surface, smoothing creases as you go. If you have to use more than one piece of turf to cover the green, join the seams with outdoor adhesive or artificial turf tape. Tuck in the edges.
Next, spread infill sand over your new green, sweeping it smooth to ensure proper distribution. Repeat as needed until the green is completely filled. To finish, sweep across the grain to remove any excess.
Locate your cups and cut around the inside circumference with a utility knife to expose them, making sure to leave clean trims. There’s not much more frustrating than having your ball hang right at the edge!
Finally, roll the entire green with a roller. A water-filled roller will give you a fast green, so roll over the surface several times.
So, there they are: ten steps to your own personal putting green. Although we can’t guarantee your new synthetic grass putting green will improve your golf game, at least it’s a start.
As delightful as dogs may be, they can destroy a natural lawn pretty quickly… and much faster than they can hurt artificial grass. This is even more frustrating when it’s not your own beloved four-legged friend, and instead it’s the neighbor dog from down the street. There are a few ways you can keep the neighbour dog off your lawn, whether real or artificial.
How Dogs Kill Lawns
Dogs can ruin your nice green lawn in record time, unless you’ve already installed a synthetic lawn. For one thing, dogs have claws on their feet. If they’re running and playing vigorously in your yard, especially more than one dog, the turf will get torn up and grass destroyed by its roots. This is even more the case with younger dogs, who are naturally more active. And of course, many families like to play fetching games with their dogs, encouraging them to run and frolic across the lawn even more.
Besides the normal wear and tear from playing, many dogs love to dig holes in the yard to keep cool or maybe just for fun, which obviously isn’t ideal for your lawn. Dogs with a digging habit will leave dangerous pitfalls all across your yard, which could trip up any unsuspecting pedestrian or child with a sprained ankle in record time. Not to mention, a lawn covered with huge holes is not attractive in the least.
Finally, even if the trespassing dog doesn’t run vigorously through your yard or actively dig it up, they’ll almost certainly take a potty break there. Animal urine burns grass because of the high ammonia concentrations, leaving pale dead spots in the dogs’ wake. This can be alleviated if you’re ready and able to run outside immediately with the hose and dilute the urine, however, this isn’t often a realistic solution for most of the population.
As the saying goes, prevention is the best cure. It is far more challenging to repair dog damage after the fact than it is to prevent the dogs entering your property in the first place. A nice high fence can keep dogs from taking shortcuts over your yard.
You might also consider having a talk with your neighbour dog’s owner and ask them to please keep their dog away from your greenery. One persuasive argument might be to explain the harmful effects many lawn fertilizers can have on their furry friends, especially if they’re having a nibble at your grass on the way by as dogs like to do.
If your own digging dogs are the problem, consider keeping more entertainment for them around the house. Sometimes destruction is a symptom of boredom, and a few extra toys inside the house could help preserve the landscaping
Rather than focusing on prevention, you may consider proactively making the change to synthetic grass, especially if you have dogs of your own. Artificial turf foils animals in several ways:
● Digging habits are completely prevented, due to the nature of the synthetic turf
● Animal urine will not affect the artificial lawn in any way and can simply be hosed off
● No amount of running and playing will gouge up the surface
● No chemicals are needed, preventing inadvertent harm to pets or kids
Unless you’re in the market for a big fence around your yard, you’ll face a lot of challenges trying to keep stray dogs off your turf. Making the switch to artificial grass will let you keep your green lawn and your view, as well as maintain friendly relations with your neighbours and their dogs.
One of the best ways to conserve water in your garden is to change your landscaping from the traditional green lawn and instead use a combination of native foliage and synthetic grass. South East Queensland native flora is particularly suited to withstand our natural harsh climate, and won’t require the heavy watering a traditional lawn or imported species will. There are several ways you can make your garden waterwise.
Over 40 percent of residential water consumption is spent on outdoor use. This means our country’s residential water usage could be cut nearly in half if households restructured their yards to focus on native plants and artificial grass rather than thirsty imports. Just implementing waterwise gardening techniques can make a huge difference. Making your yard waterwise doesn’t mean just using drought-tolerant plants, either. There are lots of little tricks that can be used to save water, from plant selection to garden layout and design.
There are four main things to keep in mind in order to reduce your outdoor water use: use plenty of mulch, install a drip irrigation system, integrate water storage products and wetting agents into your existing soil, and use drought-tolerant native plants.
A drip irrigation system will save tremendous amounts of water over other watering methods. This can be enhanced even further by making sure to not water during the hottest part of the day or when rain is in the forecast. Using mulch, you can make a dam to keep water from running off. This is less of an issue if water is distributed closer to the roots through drip irrigation. Mulch also absorbs more water than sandy soil, so it helps to keep plant roots moist in that aspect as well. If any plants are struggling come autumn, replace them with more drought-tolerant varieties.
Hot sun and dry air suck the moisture right out of your garden. Even native plants can benefit from a little extra shade. This can be provided through structures like arbours or lattice. Training creeping plants to form a canopy will add to this shade cover, as well as reduce the speed of water evaporation and reduce weed growth. Native trees, such as the Gum Tree, can also be used to provide garden shade and cut sun exposure.
When planning out your garden, choose native plants. They are already perfectly suited to our Sunshine Coast climate, and won’t even blink at the heat or low water levels. Some examples include: Acacia (Wattle), Kangaroo Paw, Hakea, and native strains of flax and rosemary. The Queensland Government Department of Environment and Resource Management maintains a searchable database plant selector that allows gardeners to search by postcode, plant type and water needs in order to build the perfect waterwise landscape.
In addition to installing water-conserving drip irrigation, adding shade to your yard and choosing native flora, synthetic grass is another excellent option for the waterwise garden. An artificial lawn requires no watering, while still adding the green you’ve come to love in a traditional lawn. A natural lawn needs careful maintenance in order to flourish along the Sunshine Coast. For example, warm season grasses, like couch and buffalo, can be cut short in the summer, although cool season grasses should be kept longer. Grass also should not be cut by any more than one-third of its length at any season. Artificial grass doesn’t include any of these complications, and will save you from an astronomical water bill to boot.
Climactic changes are on the way for South East Queensland, making artificial grass a wiser investment than ever. Despite the recent rains and flooding due to La Nina, rainfall predictions over the next several years are expected to decline, while temperatures are on the rise. The combination is not a good one for anyone still keeping up a traditional lawn.
The climate in Queensland has always been variable, and residents have come to expect this. However, the state’s Department of Environment and Resource Management predicts climate changes coming up will lead to wider shifts than locals have experienced in the past. Temperatures are predicted to increase, leading to the hottest averages in over 50 years. Amberley is projected to have over three times the number of days where temperatures top 35 °C, while Brisbane will have more than six times more. Even the ocean around Australia is warming, which may contribute to increased cyclone activity and other severe storms.
Reduction in Rains
The last two years have been some of the wettest on record, thanks to the influence of La Nina. However, Sunshine Coast locals shouldn’t expect continuation of the heavy rains and flooding that have defined the recent seasons. When the average over the last decade is examined, the autumn rainfall shows a decline of 32 percent. Summer rainfall has decreased as well, by 16 percent. Since the 1980s, only a few summers have had higher precipitation than normal; the overall trend is a consistent downward spiral. These rates are predicted to continue dropping.
Although the overall averages of rainfall will decline, there is expected to be an increase in extreme storms, especially along the coast. Flash flooding can affect transport, communications, sewage and water supply, especially in areas closest to the coast.
What Does This Mean?
The increase in high temperatures combined with the predicted rainfall decline doesn’t add up to a pretty picture. By 2050, these conditions could be severe enough to threaten the available water supply. Since the population around South East Queensland is also predicted to grow rapidly, ensuring long-term sufficient availability of water will become particularly challenging.
Climate changes can also affect soil moisture, which may reduce the edible ground cover used to feed livestock. Heat damage to crops is another likelihood of rising temperatures. Crop-damaging fruit flies will extend their territory southwards once the air warms up, potentially causing millions of dollars in damages to the interstate and international produce trade.
People, too, will be impacted by significantly higher temperatures. Heat exhaustion, dehydration and even mortality rates among the very old or very young are all likely to increase along with the thermometer readings. This is especially true for areas which haven’t yet gotten used to extreme temperatures as a standard way of life.
Adapting to Changes
There’s not much we can do to increase the rainfall in South East Queensland. We can, however, take steps to ensure that our water shortages are minimized on the home front. Maintaining a live green lawn is one of the largest consumers of fresh water in any household; with the decrease in precipitation, watering costs are likely to skyrocket.
A viable solution is installation of synthetic grass in Sunshine Coast homes. It’s easily maintained and ideal for families with small children or pets. Whether you have a large or small yard, making the change to artificial grass can save both money and maintenance time. The strain on your water budget, and the strain on our natural resources can both be eased by installing synthetic grass.
As an ever-growing number of professional sports teams are struggling with training and game schedule interruptions due to weather conditions on grass playing fields, they’re starting to ask the question: could making the switch to artificial grass be the answer?
Recent weather extremes
As Australians, we’re already familiar with drought challenges and trying to keep lawns green. Now, with the recent flooding and other La Nina-related extreme weather conditions, we’re having the opposite problem of too much water in some regions. This extends to sports teams having trouble finding fields in which to either practice or play. For example, the Brisbane Lions recently had to leave their flooded traditional sporting grounds in favour of St Lawrence’s college field. The synthetic grass field, installed on the Mater Hospital roof, has a padded underlay which allows collected water to disperse at a quicker rate than traditional turf. Luckily for Lions fans, synthetic turf allowed the team to continue their rigorous practice schedule despite the flooding of their home fields.
Cost benefits: environmental and financial
The increasing popularity of artificial grass among sporting organisations is really leading the way as far as responsible water use. Switching to synthetic grass is one of the choices which can have the biggest positive impact in countrywide water conservation. The Bureau of Meteorology has already warned us to prepare for warmer years coming up. Drought measures should be taken across the country, not just in the hardest-hit areas. Synthetic turf can save countless litres of water annually over natural lawns. Just one square foot of lawn will need half a kilolitre of water per year. Per hectare, this comes to over 55,000 kilolitres, at an average of $1 per kilolitre. In sporting arenas where grass commonly covers dozens of hectares, costs are typically in excess of $1 million per year just for watering. Think of the number of football fields, golf courses or race tracks there are across the country and a staggering picture adds up pretty quickly of just how much water we’re using to keep all those areas neat and green.
Changes have to be made
Although we’ve had the third-wettest year in Australia’s history this year, the Bureau of Meteorology still warns us about upcoming rainfall deficiencies. Regardless of flooding, many areas of our country are still suffering lower-than-average rainfalls. The time to start planning for water-saving alternatives is right now. Artificial grass will save sports organisations both in water usage and maintenance costs. Installing synthetic turf will also eliminate loss-of-use time due to mud or standing puddles, because correct planning and installation of the material will reduce those kinds of drainage problems.
The bottom line is, natural grass needs a lot of water, and we’re a country which regularly faces drought. It just isn’t environmentally responsible to continue using natural lawns, and a decreased water supply will likely mean inflated watering costs over the next few years. Making the change to synthetic playing fields can save hundreds of thousands, and very likely millions, of kilolitres every year. We carry a responsibility to future generations to take care of this land and pass it on. We have the tools to be more conservative in our water use, so why not use them? Synthetic grass is already popular among Sunshine Coast residents; it can make an even greater impact if used by sports teams as well.
In a time when the level of rainfall each year is as uncertain as what tomorrow might bring, maintaining a thriving garden of flowering plants can be difficult, time-consuming and damaging, to both your wallet and the natural water supply. And, while artificial grass is a good option for drought-resistant areas, most people want more variety.
A garden can give your home personality, or it can make your home appear stale and boring. So, how do you keep your home from falling into the latter category? Plant drought-resistant foliage and flowers to border that synthetic grass you had installed last month. Your neighbors will be impressed, and you will be relieved when you finally get to sleep in on Saturday morning.
Where to Begin?
For those of you blanching at the idea of a cactus growing next to your eco-friendly, artificial grass lawn, don’t worry — there are plenty of options other than the desert flower to pursue. Before you go shopping, however, draw up a plan. You will want to know where your garden will be located and how much direct sunlight this location receives a day (for drought-tolerant plants, you want a location that receives 6-8 hours) and what kind of soil already exists on your property (well-draining soil is best for this particular type of garden). Once you’ve decided where your garden is going to be located, think about whether you want annual or perennial plants: In other words, do you want plants that flower for half the year, yet require replanting every spring (annual), or plants that bloom only ten weeks out of the year and require no replanting (perennial)? (It is ok to have both in a drought-resistant garden; when buying annual, however, just remember that they do require more water and will need to be kept in the most naturally wet areas.) Will you want to start with seeds or plants? If you choose to start with seeds, you will want to begin them indoors, and transfer them outdoors after the last frost. Lastly, you will want to keep in mind that plants native to the area will flourish the most with the least amount of assistance.
Now That You’ve Decided:
You have your garden mapped out and a list of plants that you want to help bring this garden to fruition. Now all you need to do is head over to your nearest Bunning’s and purchase the necessary materials. Be sure that peat moss and perlite are on your list as well, for you will want to work each of them into the top 20 cm or so of your natural soil to maintain what moisture it does have. If you purchase potted plants, replant them at the same level they were in in their containers. Be sure to water them generously for their first planting season, to get them acclimated to their new climate. Though this may seem to contradict the term “drought-resistant,” watering them daily will ultimately serve to help them establish themselves and remain drought-tolerant after that first year.
If you purchased seeds, begin them indoors in their separate pots, soaking them the first day with boiling water, and replanting them outdoors after the last frost. Once all your flowers are planted in your garden, surround them with about 10 cm of a natural mulching material — this will help them to conserve their moisture even during the driest of seasons.
Once your flowers begin to bloom, buy yourself some patio furniture, grab a glass of iced-tea, and breathe in the scents of a lovely, drought-and-hassle-free garden.
Some Plants to Consider:
Adenanthos x Cunninghamii
When you’re a kid and you hear the phrase “home of the future,” your mind automatically leaps to images of buildings seventeen stories off the ground. You think of robotic dogs, saucer shaped houses and flying cars. And, while we’re a little ways off from this sort vision coming to reality, there are major breakthroughs happening today that are bringing the home of the future a little closer to reality.
Closer to Home
When you finally achieve home ownership, the home of the future looks a little different for you. Sure, flying cars and a giant hot tub would be a bonus; in today’s economy, however, such luxuries wouldn’t be the first on your list of criteria when designing your new home. Rather, you will be thinking about the most energy efficient lighting system; the best way to utilize the 200 sqm you have; how to conserve water with your water-greedy lawn; and how to give your family a hot shower in the morning at the lowest cost and least energy consuming way possible.
There’s been much progress in making our visions of the future become a reality, and energy conservation and efficiency has become among the top priorities among architects as of late. The Australian Institute of Architects has been meeting with parliament on an annual basis to discuss building strategies of the future in their Built Environment Meets Parliament (BEMP) meetings. Meanwhile, the institute has also implemented an annual award that acknowledges individuals who have made outstanding contributions to sustainability architecture.
Builders all across the country are also getting into the future home trend, putting up higher and higher NatHERS rated homes (nationwide house energy rating scheme), equipped with water-heating solar units, state-of-the-art solar panels, advanced insulation techniques and more. Saving water has been big, too, with many homes now equipped with low-flush toilets, smart shower heads with water control, and synthetic grass mixed in with climate-specific plantlife in the gardens. On top of that, new building materials are being introduced that have the whole life-cycle of the product in mind. Imagine an office building that stands strong while it’s in use, and then, when it’s time to replace it with a newer building, the materials can all be either reused or allowed to decompose quickly and efficiently. Sustainability has become the theme of the future.
The Future Home is Everywhere
Oversees, many are striving for the same vision of the future home. During the U.S.-based National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) 29th annual International Builders’ Show, architect and builder Phil Kean set forth a vision that included solar-assisted heating-and-air-conditioning systems, solar hot water heater and formaldehyde-free wood cabinetry, according to CultureMap.com. He also included artificial grass in both the front and the back yards, which will save water and cut back on the costs of fertilizer and maintenance. To off-set these synthetic lawns, Kean dressed up the lawn with native and drought resistant plants that will be just as eco-friendly as their synthetic counterpart.
The Dream Come True
Of course, the home of the future doesn’t have to be just another pipe-dream. Now people don’t have to wait for builders to prop up advanced homes; they can modify their existing homes. Artificial grass is one such option, with many water-saving brands available. Energy-smart light bulbs are another, with light emitting diode (LED) versions using approximately 90 percent less energy than standard incandescent, and about half the energy of compact fluorescents (CFLs). There are also nifty apps available for smart phones these days that allow you to control various functions of your home at the touch of a button. Depending on the vendor, you can control your home lights, garage, alarm system and more if you have the right application.
The world is getting warmer, and water and energy are becoming increasingly important to the nation’s sustainability plan. Why not help the future by making it a part of the present? The home of the future is simply a matter of stepping out your front door and letting your toes sink into the luscious turf that will soon be a part of every home of the future.
Until the early 20th century, the game of Tennis was played on grass courts. However, wanting a surface that was more durable, required less maintenance and was easier on the players’ bodies, contractors first came up with clay courts—which proved to be a major hit—and, more recently, artificial grass. For those old-fashioned players, however, natural grass is still a favorite. It is highly debated today which court is best for the centuries old game – clay, natural grass, or synthetic grass? You decide.
Clay courts tend to be a favorite amongst tennis players because of the higher bounces that they allow. Clay courts cater to baseline players—players who wait for the bounce before hitting it back–as opposed to serve-and-volley players, who serve a swift ball to their opponent, then dash to the net to receive the ball so that they can hit it back before their opponent even receives the serve. Baseline players do extremely well on clay because they have the advantage of being able to volley back and forth for quite some time without tiring out; because of this, their game tends to be slower than grass court play. Whereas grass court play requires speed and stiff concentration, clay court play requires patience and stamina.
Though clay courts are favored by the players, they require a surprising amount of upkeep. They need to be raked and moisturized daily, and new clay needs to be added weekly, which can become quite expensive after a while.
Grass courts are generally thought to be harder to play on. Because of the uneven surface, the bounces are bad, so grass court players tend to be excellent serve-and-volley players. Grass court play is fast moving, with much volleying involved. Because of this, grass players tend to dominate on any court, while clay court players either struggle on or opt out of grass court matches. Speed, power and concentration are the key components to doing well on a grass court.
However, though grass courts require more effort, they take a lot to maintain. Grass courts need to be cut 2-3 times a week, sidelines repainted fairly often and the grass re-seeded at least once a year. This type of maintenance is both time and cost consuming, and not many venues are willing to put in the work when there is an easier option.
A Happy Medium?
So if both clay and grass require more maintenance than it’s worth, and at high costs, which is the best option? A lot of venues are now using artificial grass. By using synthetic grass, the cost and time it would take to maintain the courts are cut considerably. The turf is resistant to water, repels dirt and is user friendly. Unlike natural grass, the lines never have to be repainted and the blades never fade in color or grow sparse. Artificial grass also retains the same play characteristics, rain or shine, and so tennis can be played year round. Turf is the new happy-medium for both clay players and grass players alike, and may very well be tennis’s new future.
When you drive through neighbourhoods today, you see perfectly manicured lawns with grass as green and lush as a springtime meadow. You think to yourself, “What a beautiful lawn—that must have taken quite a bit of maintenance,” and you would be right—it does. You wouldn’t, however, be thinking to yourself about the environmental impact a lawn like that would create —why would you be? The lawn is all natural, and so is therefore helping the environment, right?
The Hidden Environmental Impact of Lawns
Wrong. In order to maintain a beautiful lawn, you need fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals harmful to both the environment and yourself. You need water, and a lot of it. Most harmful of all, however, is the lawnmower used in cutting that lush, green grass to keep it from turning into an uneven, multi-colored sea in your front yard.
A study conducted a while back at the University of Callaghan in Newcastle, NSW, found that lawnmowers contribute 5.2 and 11.6 percent of CO and NMHC emissions in the Newcastle region alone. In fact, a 2007 report by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities gives an example of a brushcutter that meets USEPA emission standards (something Australia lacks) as creating as much pollution in an hour as 10 cars in the same amount of time. It estimates that domestic, non-regulated brushcutters likely emit several times more pollutants.
Overseas, it’s no different The gas-powered lawnmower emits the same amount of pollution in one hour as a car driven for up to 100 miles, according to a Swedish study conducted in 2001. According to a U.S. government body, the Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), 54 million Americans alone mow their lawns each weekend, contributing as much as 5 percent of the nation’s air pollution. And it doesn’t stop there. It is estimated that over 17 million gallons of gasoline are spilled each year while refueling lawn equipment, contaminating both water sources and the air. Lawn mowers also release high levels of CO2, volatile organic compounds, and nitrogen oxides, according to PeoplePoweredMachines.com.
Now What Do You Do?
So how do you maintain your lawn if you can’t use that trusty mower you’ve had since the early 80′s? You could get yourself an imported mower from places such as the United States, Europe, or Canada, who all have set emissions standards. However, their standards still don’t alleviate the oil-spilling problem. You could get yourself an electrical mower, if you want to spend anywhere from $700-$2,000. You can only use electrical mowers on small lawns, however, because they need to be plugged into an outlet at all times, and, depending on your electrical company, can be just as damaging as fuel-powered mowers.
The Friendly Alternative
So what is the most environmentally friendly way to maintain a beautiful lawn? Synthetic grass. For those of you opposed to artificial grass, keep in mind the environmental—as well as aesthetic—appeal of having a synthetic lawn. On average, a natural lawn needs about 25 millimeters of water a week. Annually, Australia gets about 472 millimetres of rain a year. In only 18 days, a natural lawn uses just as much water as the entire country receives on average in any given year. Synthetic grass, however, uses no water for sustenance. On top of that, it drains what water does hit it back into the soil beneath it. Turf also requires minimum maintenance, which means—you guessed it!—no mowing. You would no longer have to worry about finding an eco-friendly alternative to that old mower you’ve had for years, or about your front yard turning into a sea of green and brown. Most of all, you would no longer have to worry about spilling oil when refuelling your mower. With a synthetic lawn, you could say goodbye to your old oil-spilling, CO2 and nitrogen oxide emitting mower, and hello to a cleaner, more beautiful atmosphere.