When you think of fake grass, do you think of that nasty bright ugly green astro turf from the 60's? Or that fake green carpet everyone would put on their porches and decks?

Well fake grass is no longer reserved for the football fields and golf course putting greens. It is now working its way into the yards of homeowners.

As many municipalities, are now restricting watering, pesticide use, and fertilizers, many people have decided to invest in this faux lawn, to give them the perfect lawn. It is no longer the bright green that it once was, it has been created as close as possible to Mother Nature. Many people can't tell the difference.

The only thing they will notice, is that while they are cutting their lawn, the fake grass owner is not!. But this is not totally favorable to neighbors. After all, who really wants a green and summery looking lawn mid winter, when everyone else's lawn is brown and frosted?

It has actually been banned in some gated communities for this reason. There are of course pros and cons to this installation of fake grass.

Pro side

no watering

no bugs

no weeds

no cutting

stays a beautiful green

installed by professionals, and does not move

Con side

natural grass is a eco system, and you are preventing it from doing its job

It does not absorb the rain water, so there is potential for flooding

You need to fluff it every so often, and deal with dog business, as it is basically plastic

Just not a natural garden

not worm friendly

Cost factor is 10 times higher than a regular lawn

Would you consider this fake grass as a good investment for your home? The average cost to have this installed is $10.00 per square foot. If you have 2000 square feet of yard, this can add up to $20,000 dollars! Compared to approximately $2,000.00 for grass seed and even getting kids to mow the lawn.

But for many people who would have spent thousands on underground watering systems, and hiring lawn care companies for their weeding, and fertilizing, and now having to use natural products because of pesticide bans etc, this is the best thing since sliced bread!

Some have even turned their backyards into putting greens. You just need to fluff it up once in a while, to keep it looking its best.

But whether we like this fake grass or not, sales have been up approximately 25% over the last couple of years. So there is definitely an interest. There are many people out there that are obsessed with a good green, weed free lawn. If they have to get fake grass to get it, then they will.

So, maybe that plastic faux turf has made a comeback. It may look authentic, but it is still plastic. So you have to decide if it is worth the investment to have plastic installed in your garden rather than nurture the real thing?.

I personally have seen it in a small town house garden, where the owner thought it looked best because she only had a tiny square of lawn, and didn't want to start up the lawn mower for that. It actually look good with her garden. But to see it in a large expanse of yard, is a whole different story. It is a lot of money, and does tend to look odd in the winter, because it is not like you just roll it up and take it inside. It is installed permanently.

But since you can now buy faux rocks, and faux trees and shrubs that look very real, then why not the fake grass? You can have an instant garden if you have the money. Your neighbors could go away for the weekend and come back to a lush jungle in your yard if you have the money.

So, if you are a lawn perfectionist, then maybe this would be for you. If you love to do the cutting and weeding and watering, then a fake lawn may drive you crazy!

Who would have thought that those faux turfs would eventually work their way into suburbia?

They work great for events, such as backyard weddings and you can get all the trimmings to go with it, such as the faux shrubs and bushes and flowers. This is the perfect instant back drop for those wedding photos. Or that backyard barbeque. Just be careful not to melt the fake grass!

An alternative to fake grass, would be to plant plants that are native to your area, such as wild grasses, that don't need to be cut, or wild flowers. But many people want "instant' or now, they don't want to wait for that perfect garden or lawn, they want it now. But if you plant the right ground cover, you can come away from the expanse of lawn that can be very costly to keep up.

Why not start a new trend in your neighborhood and get rid of the lawn all together? For the money you would spend on getting fake grass, you can get a garden plan done up with rocks, water features and native plants, that would look good, since they are real.

Maybe it is time to come away from that need for a large field of green grass that needs so much care. Rather than go for the fake grass, get creative and make a natural garden. Have some patience, and watch it grow.

The native grasses are really popular now, as they grow fast and tall with some great looking feathery tops. They also look good in the winter, and you don't have to do anything with them. No trimming or feeding, just let them grow. The same with wild flowers. Create paths between beds of these and you will not need a lawn at all.

Just remember, at the end of the day, there is one thing that a natural garden will always have over the fake grass and faux roses and shrubs, the beautiful fragrance of real plants!