In recent years some landscapers and DIY shows have turned their back on the humble Aussie lawn. They’ve ditched the turf in favour of concrete and pavers, with just a few plants supplying the only hint of green. The idea that we can turn our back yards into an outside room has lead to the installation of decks and hard surface areas. And while these often look great, there are some sizeable drawbacks associated with them, that don’t seem to get mentioned on those TV shows.
There are many arguments in favour of a traditional lawn in the backyard, but the most compelling relates to heat. Did you know that on a hot day, a turf lawn will be 30 degrees cooler than asphalt or concrete, 20 degrees cooler than synthetic grass and 14 degrees cooler than bare soil? Would you like to be comfortable in your backyard or constantly diving into the pool to cool off? Astroturf can easily get hot enough to burn your feet, but when was the last time you had to sprint across a lawn of grass because it was too hot?
Then there’s the ecological benefits of proper lawns. Apart from the fact that a lawn can have the same cooling effect as 8 tonnes of air conditioning, grass also naturally absorbs airborne pollutants. Without a lawn in the way, particulate matter and all sorts of environmentally harmful substances will simply pass unheeded into our ground water and streams. You might not think a lawn would make that much difference, but 200 square metres of lawn absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and returns enough oxygen to supply air to a family of four.
And finally, where are you and the kids or grandkids going to play backyard cricket? You might be a superior off-spinner, but we defy anyone to bowl well on a deck. All those hard surfaces need a lot of maintenance as well, with cleaning and resurfacing it’s an endless task.
So don’t surrender your backyard to decks, pavers and concrete – put down a lawn and bring a bit of the countryside back to the family home.
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