Friday, October 9, 2015

Fake


I drive by this "lawn" on my way home from Xera Plants. While the rest of Portland's lawns have gone golden for the dry season (minus the hundreds of Dandelions which manage to remain green all summer) this one has stayed bight green.

Of course you can tell why...

It's fake!

On a bright summer day, driving by at 35-mph, you can still see the shine. At least there aren't any weeds, in the lawn...

We don't see the fake stuff much here in Portland, no one seems to mind letting their lawns go dormant, after all they spring to green when the rains return in the fall. While I don't (by any stretch of the imagination) advocate fake, I do hate the sight of all the dormant lawns. Summer is the most beautiful time of the year here...why front your house with a dead lawn?

I wonder if this river of pebbles will help to route the rainwater from the "lawn?" I'll have to do a driveby on a really rainy day and see if the "lawn" is a (stinky) puddle.

So how do you feel about fake? And are you seeing them much in your community?

All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

39 comments:

  1. Haven't seen any fake lawns in this neck of the woods other than on sports fields. I wonder how long they last and the difference of the environmental impact between the lifespan (?) of the fake and the mowing/watering of the real thing. I don't mind the summer brown lawn even though it's not aesthetically very nice but why not simply plant something else. There is a patch of violets in my front sloping summer brown lawn that stays beautifully green all summer and winter plus has flowers. It chokes out the grass nicely and doesn't seem to mind the winter moss and requires very little mowing. I'm hoping that it will eventually take over the whole lawn!

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    1. "why not simply plant something else" this is my battle cry!?

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  2. I find it a bit disturbing, especially in the winter. We have a couple houses in the neighborhood with fake grass. Looks perfect and verdant from a distance in the summer, so perhaps it has it's place if it is permeable and folks can't do maintenance. I just think there are better options, like more plants, more shrubs, hardscaping, gravel, a smaller-waterable lawn or dormant grass!

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    1. Indeed, real plants are always a better option. Here in Portland winter is the only time that lawns look good. As the fall rains return things start to green up again and my neighborhood (blocks and blocks of lawns) looks bright and happy again.

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  3. I'm seeing more, even in my little Overlook neighborhood. But the answer to a green lawn in summer isn't to fake it. The answer is to replace it with plants that like it dry. You are leading the charge, Loree, and I see many more front gardens all over Portland that use that strategy.

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    1. Wow really? Several in Overlook? The salesmen have been busy haven't they?

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  4. You're going to be shocked at what I'm about to say. I really really dislike the plantings in general at this place … and they're using some of my favourites … ie: trachycarpus and flax. Maybe it's a scale issue with the house, or maybe its too bare, but something about it is just not right. That mixed with the shockingly perfect look of the turf is troubling. I'd lawn gone that mess! Its somewhat trendy in high end parts of vancouver to have small sections of turf in postage size plots of land. It's usually accentuated by contemporary hardscaping elements.

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    1. Agreed, the whole thing is a little off, even with (as you note) some great plants.

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  5. I think the age of the artificial turf has come and gone, if it ever arrived in the first place. We briefly considered it but it gets super hot in the summer (a real concern here), it sounds crunchy when you walk on it, it feels weird, it's a petroleum-based product, and it doesn't break down in landfills. So no, I'd never have artifical turf.

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    1. Really? That's a bold statement. I hope you're right. So have you begun your lawn removal project?

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    2. Not yet. Our landscape guy is busy until January. More time to think about what we want to do after he's done removing the lawn.

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  6. If I were not so fond of the use you have made of grass (meaning lawn), I would be tempted to say I hate lawn grass, be it real or fake. The point being, it seems foolhardy to take a firm stand. Hoov has pointed out a few uses in draught-stricken S. Cal of which she approves and who am I to argue?

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    1. Never say never...or something like that.

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  7. I still can't come to terms with fake grass. I did - briefly- consider it for my own garden but even the newest versions look fake to me. They get hot too and apparently they can actually melt. (This was in the news here several weeks ago when 5 SoCal school athletic fields melted.) Then there's the fact that they don't contribute anything to the environment - it seems to me that there are alternative, living groundcovers that work well in most settings with the possible exception of athletic fields and maybe golf courses but, even there, I think I'd accept painted grass before fake grass. The local garden centers are advertising fake grass and I've seen sellers' trucks going to and fro in the area but I haven't seen any fake lawns in my own area (yet).

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    1. Fingers crossed that you won't be seeing them, as you make excellent points about their negatives.

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  8. I think a good fake grass is a good grass. We have friends in Ca and theirs is really lovely. You wouldn't know from even close up. I do think they could have done a better job with the rocks and plant around the edges of the grass to soften the look. Maybe that is in their plan

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    1. I've been watching this one long enough that I don't think they're planning any more improvements. They're done. But it sounds like you're saying that fake can be done well?

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  9. Long term it's probably a transition phase (for some people) from turf to climate-appropriate plants. Like vapers weaning themselves off cigarettes. It's part of the learning curve of a post-lawn era. There will be some odd dead-end roads and detours along the journey. We'll get it figured out eventually. In the meantime, there's that sparkle!

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  10. We have one in my neighborhood, and it will probably fit in better in winter when the other lawns turn green after some rain (I hope) but I find it quite unattractive and out of sync with a late-summer, early fall garden.If you must have lawn, have a tiny one (like yours) and keep it watered in summer . I agree with Louis, the entire thing is just not well done-wrong plant,wrong place !

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    1. You all are making me feel better about my small (watered) lawn!

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  11. There's lots of fake grass in my part of the world. Unfortunately the sort of people who put down fake grass are the sort of people who don't want to care for a garden, so the fake lawn is very quickly full of weeds coming up through it!

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    1. Ugh, I am sorry. That sounds horrible.

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  12. Ugh. Ugly but also suggests an attitude that doesn't want to deal with reality. The plantings only emphasize the wrongness of it. Have not seen it here in the Midwest; only plastic fences instead of white painted wood.

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    1. Oh yes, the white plastic fence. Those are pretty horrid too...

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  13. What Gerhard said: it's bad for the environment in so many ways. And Hoov B nailed the learning curve. I can't think of any fake lawn I've seen in local neighborhoods, but there was a lot of it in evidence during 2014's Xeriscape Garden Tour in (of all places) Big Bear Lake -- crazy.

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    1. So do you suppose anyone is working on getting it right? Or they've stopped at the current level of product development?

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  14. Ick. That basically sums up my opinion. I don't mind the brown lawns, though of course I prefer no lawn. In my area, though, yards are too big to convert entirely to garden without serious inputs of time, effort, and money. So I'm perfectly fine with the brown lawns in my neighborhood, and scoff at the Californian transplants down the road that fill the ditch with water from their constant effort to keep their lawn green.

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    1. And I suppose it's a huge lawn? (that the Californian transplants are watering?)

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  15. As Linda mentioned, no/very few fake lawns here in this part of the Midwest. I guess ours are covered with snow anyway during the winter--and frankly with leaves in the fall. So, it's really only like March through September that it really matters. I much prefer a real lawn--a small lawn with lots of garden plants and landscaping. I would decrease our grass here, but we're planning to move within the next few years, so I'm making do mostly with what we have. Interesting trend: the fake grass.

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    1. A move on the horizon? Bigger garden or smaller garden?

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  16. Why stop with a fake lawn? I can imagine a fake lawn with fake flowers and aluminum trees! Talk about low maintenance! Plus four seasons of interest! No, not many plastic lawns around here, but we do see too much of that rubber mulch crud.

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    1. Aluminum trees sound kind of interesting...

      Really, rubber mulch? As far as I know I have not seen that around here. Thank goodness.

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  17. I prefer other options - hardscape, planting beds, dry creeks, etc. but I also think that this particular installation was poorly done. Were it a different shape with plants that spilled over onto the edges and gave it a more natural look and form, it might not be so glaring.

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    1. True. The bare edges are not doing this one any favors.

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  18. As a SoCal resident, I'll take fake grass over the white rock front yards people are getting in place of lawns. Usually they have five evenly placed succulents and just look exactly like what they are - the cheapest alternative to lawn.

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  19. Fake grass gets nasty hot, even on a moderately warm day. I wrote about it once, and in my research came across anecdotes that mentioned shoes melting on sports fields. Also, the substrate is often chips made from recycled rubber tires, and are full of heavy metals that leach into the groundwater. Yuck!

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  20. I haven't seen a lot of faux lawns in Austin, but there are some. The best ones are small installations with a defined edge of hardscaping surrounded by lush planting beds, not one that bleeds off into nothingness like this one. I'd hate to see people go faux with a wall-to-wall carpet of it. But there can be decent uses for it, like at my son's old high school, where they put faux lawn in a courtyard with picnic tables where the kids like to eat lunch. Real grass was continually beaten into dust, and paving would have been a bleak option. Faux lawn in that small space worked really well.

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  21. I've never seen one here, but it's all over Vegas and I like it. That, though, is a poor example. It looks like the rugs on rolls from Home Depot. I can't stand a brown lawn. Even my nine-year old son, when we were in Klamath Falls this summer, commented on how much better all the green grass looked, in comparison to the dead yards here.

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