The green, green artificial grass of home: As the changeable weather lays waste to gardens, why not invest in an artificial lawn?
Hurrah, it’s stopped raining for 10 minutes. Now, wouldn’t it be lovely to celebrate with afternoon tea in the garden? Excellent. So, you’ll be needing to pop to the shops for scones and cakes. And lawn seed and lawn fertiliser. Obviously lawn weedkiller, too, and those funny lawn aerating shoes, although the ground is so claggy après le deluge that a pair of the Duchess of Cambridge’s £300 leather-lined French wellies might be a better idea.
I know this, because my husband’s reaction, once Wimbledon starts, will not be dissimilar (lawns, for some unrecorded reason being Man’s Business, whereas herbaceous borders are a cissy, female domain). For eight years, my spouse devoted himself to persuading grass to grow in possibly the shadiest, driest, least accommodating corner of the UK. When it rained, the back garden was a no-go quagmire. When it shone, the thin straggle of grass down the middle looked disturbingly Brazilian. And I don’t mean the rainforest. Moreover, during the recent hosepipe ban, the ground was so cracked the children skinned their knees if they fell on it, making it a no-go tundra.
It all looked so dreary that one day last month, I finally persuaded my husband we should fake it. So we did – despite a new survey by trade recommendation service RatedPeople.com that revealed that neighbours who Astroturf the garden are a source of annoyance to the average homeowner.
But my lovely new lawn is a far, far cry from Astroturf. In fact, the only reason it might possibly annoy anyone is because the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence. My fence. And here, lounging around on my synthetic sward, I have finally fallen head over heels for my garden. I love it. My children love it. My husband loves it. The dog may or may not love it, but she’s still happy to wee on it. When everyone’s tucked up in bed at night, I creep down, turn on the kitchen light and admire it. In the mornings, waiting for the kettle to boil, I smile at it. Sometimes I even Hoover it.
False friend: Judith Woods with daughters Tabitha and Lily. Photo: Andrew Crowley.