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New homeowner discovers unfortunate truth about common landscaping alternative: 'Get rid of it'

"I've always wanted my own lawn."

“I've always wanted my own lawn."

Photo Credit: iStock

One Australian homeowner was uncertain about whether to keep the synthetic turf the previous owner had installed at his new house — but Reddit quickly set him straight.

Synthetic turf, also called fake or artificial grass, is a plastic product that grew in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Buyers hoped for a low-maintenance alternative to traditional grass since plastic grass doesn't need to be mowed.

However, buyers quickly discovered the other drawbacks of covering their yards in plastic, and many came to regret their choice. While plants cool their surroundings down in summer, synthetic turf absorbs sunlight and gets baking hot

Also, while it doesn't need to be mowed, it does need to be vacuumed to remove leaf pieces and twigs — debris that would filter down to the soil and break down naturally if it landed on living plants. Pet urine can leave a permanent odor on fake grass, and water pools on top of it, ruining its appearance and creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes. 

On top of all that, the plastic itself is made with polluting oil, is difficult to recycle, and takes a hundred years or more to break down in the environment.

This Redditor didn't have those facts when he approached r/AusRenovation for help. "Hey guys, I've just moved into my first home and wanted to ask the experts the above advice of artificial turf over the maintenance of real grass," he said.

He had a patch of synthetic turf about 33 feet by 6.5 feet in his new yard. He wasn't sure whether it was worth the trouble of replacing it with something he thought might need more maintenance. 

"I've always wanted my own lawn; I grew up inner city and have never had grass," he said. "I really like the idea of maintaining a lawn but figured it would get annoying as I age."

The Redditor even set up a poll about whether he should "keep fake" grass or become a "lawn daddy."

The real lawn won, 1,491 votes to 320.

"Fake grass is horrible. Get rid of it and put in something natural," said one commenter, summing up the community's opinion.

"If you don't want to maintain grass just have other types of ground cover instead. I don't understand the appeal of covering the ground in plastic," said another user.

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