Africa is a land of climatic extremes and thus there can be a number of advantages in the use of artificial grass as opposed to the natural variety. Even in more temperate climes, there are times when the conditions are simply not conducive to its growth and, in many parts of South Africa, hoses and sprinkler systems are all that prevents the average lawn from becoming a dust bowl within a few days.
As if this requirement alone was not of sufficient inconvenience, our already semi-arid countryside is prone to fairly regular bouts of severe drought and, with these, will come, almost invariably, the threat of a hosepipe ban. Municipal water supplies have become very costly and the fact that no water at all is required in order to maintain a simulated lawn offers a very substantial and highly tempting cost saving. Once enjoyed almost exclusively by various sports facilities, the whole idea of a low-maintenance alternative to natural greenery has since become far more appealing among the nation’s home and office owners too.
Water is, of course, only one of a number of requirements that is essential in order to maintain a healthy and good-looking lawn. It seems there is never a shortage of minute creatures waiting in the wings for a spot of vegetarian dining. As a result, another aspect of the battle for survival in which artificial grass has all of the advantages is that it does not feature among their favourite dishes. Not only does this mean the simulated product is safe from their attentions but it also eliminates all need for the use of pesticides that are potentially damaging to family members, to their pets and to the environment in general.
What about those shaded parts where everything grows only with great difficulty? Tufted yarns need no nutrition and so are not dependent upon adequate light for photosynthesis of nutrients. Instead the serve to brighten those spots that nature cannot.
Time, it seems, is in short supply these days and almost everyone appears to have little or none to spare for all but the most essential tasks and their jobs. Whenever they do happen to have a few surplus moments, more and more South Africans now choose to spend it enjoying some well-earned rest and recreation rather than in mowing the lawn. Instead of backache and hay fever, they are settling for a splash in the pool and tossing a few chops and some boerewors on to the braai. Who knows; with the money saved on powering the lawn mower, maybe a couple of racks of ribs and a few T-bones could also find their way on to the grid.
Among the other important advantages of artificial grass is the fact that it is perfect in areas where the traffic is likely to be heavy. Forget about slipping and sliding in the mud after a summer downpour in the Highveld or those annoying muddy foot or paw prints in the hall. A product such as ‘Duraturf’ or ‘easygrass™’, both of which are available through many of the Top Carpets & Floors stores nationwide, also means an end to replacing dead or damaged patches.
While this is a benefit that is invaluable even to homeowners, it is of far greater value in the commercial world. Sports pitches, for instance, may be used more regularly, being less affected by local weather conditions. As a result, the International soccer body, FIFA is now recommending the use of such surfaces and has already introduced a series of international standards to which they should conform.
On film and TV sets, on stage, around swimming pools or in any location where the natural option is impractical, these tough products now play an important role. Saving time and money, sparing the environment and looking good all year round – the many advantages of artificial grass are undeniable.