Garden designers support 'Say No to Plastic Grass' campaign
Garden designers have shown support for the Society of Garden Designers, which has launched a campaign, supported by the Royal Horticultural Society and the Landscape Institute.
Garden designers have been speaking up and showing their support for a new campaign against artificial lawns and plants launched by the Society of Garden Designers.
'Say No to Plastic Grass and Plants' is a new initiative from the Society of Garden Designers (SGD) to highlight the environmental damage that is caused by the growing trend for plastic grass and plants. Supported by the Royal Horticultural Society and the Landscape Institute, the campaign aims to encourage homeowners to opt for keeping lawns and other forms of greenery instead of replacing them with plastic alternatives.
Plastic grass is rising in popularity
The three organisations are encouraging millions of homeowners, gardeners and garden designers to help cut down the pollution and ecological destruction caused by artificial grass and to create more habitats for birds, bees and other wildlife.
The SGD says that according to Google Trends, which tracks the popularity of online searches, the search for artificial lawns surged during the pandemic, with a 185% jump in May 2020 compared with the same month the previous year. Meanwhile a survey by Aviva revealed that over recent years, 1 in 10 households in the UK have replaced their garden’s natural lawn with artificial grass, leading to the loss of the crucial natural habitats and ‘green corridors’ on which wildlife depend.
SGD Co-Chair Lynne Marcus MSGD said: “Plastic grass is far from an eco-friendly alternative to natural grass. Covering your garden with a layer of plastic has absolutely no climate benefits at all. It will suffocate the soil beneath it, destroy all sources of food and habitat and have devastating consequences for microorganisms in the soil beneath as well as the bugs and birds above. Compare that to a real lawn where a vast ecosystem of organisms, microbes, invertebrates and plant life can thrive, helping both the food chain and biodiversity, and it’s clear that there is absolutely no place on the planet for these products." She adds: “We are all aware of the damage plastic bags do to the environment. Plastic grass and plants are no different."
Garden designers support the campaign against artificial grass
Since the campaign launched, many designers have come forward to share their grievances about the use of plastic grass. Ann Marie-Powell Gardens took to Instagram to share their thoughts on plastic lawns, citing among other things that they destroy natural habitats and soil, contribute to urban heat islands and can't be recycled.
Echoing these thoughts, Helen Elks-Smith said "I never use plastic grass in my designs and don't believe that there is any space or requirement where a beautiful and natural alternative can't be used instead."
The SGD hopes that people will realise that their lawns and gardens can be a vital resource for wildlife, with bees, birds and other insects and animals all reliant on these varied habitats. They are also debunking claims by manufacturers that these plastic products are harmless and low-maintenance, promoting several alternatives such as low-mow lawns and drought-tolerant lawns.
Cassandra Crouch Garden Design also shared their support, saying "nothing beats nature and plastic really has no place in our gardens."
Other design studios that have shared their support include Richard Miers Garden Design, winners of the People's Choice at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2022 for the Perennial Garden 'With Love'.
For more information about the campaign and a downloadable leaflet, head to sgd.org.uk.
Molly is the Gardens Illustrated's editorial and digital assistant. She has a roof garden and has her RHS level 2.
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