artificial rolled green grass; closeup

The problem with artificial grass

In March 2019 the Society of Garden Designers (SGD) took a stand against the widespread use of plastics in gardens by banning artificial lawns and plants from all of its advertising and sponsorship.  You may be asking why? Here are 10 reasons:-

  1. Artificial lawns are made of plastic – mainly unrecyclable polyurethane and polyethylene – which are manufactured using valuable fossil fuels.  So by installing artificial lawns we are wrapping our gardens in plastic.
  2. Artificial lawns are NOT low maintenance. Debris such as faecal matter (dog poo!), moss and seeds build up on the surface meaning that they regularly need to be cleaned with water and chemicals.
  3. In summer the surface becomes extremely hot, causing burns to humans and pets. The heat generated also escapes into the atmosphere contributing to global warming.
  4. Plastic does not absorb carbon dioxide (unlike natural grass).  Artificial grass is also high in carbon dioxide emissions due to its manufacturing processes, transportation and installation.
  5. Artificial lawn destroys living soil as all top soil has to be removed leaving a sterile and compacted subsoil for installation.
  6. Water cannot be absorbed into the ground as the plastic surface is impermeable. This means that drains are under more pressure during high rainfall which can lead to flooding.
  7. It prevents contact with soil which is beneficial for psychological and physical health.  Soil produces microbes which are beneficial to our immune system, especially for children.
  8. Artificial lawn supports no insect life, resulting in fewer pollinators and no food for birds and small animals visiting our gardens.
  9. They shed micro plastic fibres during their use which will enter our water courses and oceans.
  10. It contributes to ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ – a term first used by Richard Louv to describe the human cost of alienation from nature.  Over the generations we have become increasingly disconnected from nature and ecological systems to the point where it is acceptable to replace nature with plastic.


So if we can take a ‘Bag For Life’ to the supermarket and diligently recycle all of our plastics, surely we can stop wrapping our gardens in plastic? There are main low maintenance options. It may also help our health and wellbeing, increase biodiversity and make us more connected to nature.

Gerbera Designs is a pre-registered member of the Society of Garden Designers and a garden Design member of the Association of Professional Landscapers.

Get in touch with us at to organise a FREE consultation in Aberdeen City and Shire to start creating your dream outdoor space.

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