In a recent News.com article it states that home owners are faking it by embracing the weed-free alternative to a natural lawn as artificial grass which was once the province of hockey fields.
Artificial grass is now popping up on the rooftops of the CBD and the backyards of suburbia and it's no longer the bright green "carpet'', rather today's artificial grass can be a lush thick lawn that looks just like the real thing to the naked eye and even feels similar under bare feet.
This News.com article cites Warwick Parnell the sales director at Pro-tech Corp, Sydney-based synthetic grass specialists, and says there are many reasons people choose grass that is always greener.
Warwick Parnell made some interesting observations:
People are very busy today with work, children, and getting to and from daycare.
Properties are smaller than they used to be, at least with less space devoted to lawns.
Those high traffic area that gets way too much wear and tear.
Those difficult spaces – such as between garden beds or elevated - hard to get to with a mower.
Wanting a soft area 365/12 for guests and personal desires.
He goes further still, taking his heart into his mouth for fear of the canine lobby, but that the family bog is regularly no friend of natural grass.
With this new genre of artificial grass, he claims that real estate agents say anything that reduces maintenance helps add to the value of a property, and synthetic grass is something that does just that.
On another level Max Cantwell the owner of Secret Gardens of Sydney says that consumers are realising it is a good option in areas where lawn cannot be sustained, or for those who are time-poor and don't want to maintain a lawn.
Artificial Grass been around for decades
As an author of five books on hockey and for 24 years the stringer hockey writer for The Australian newspaper to 1994, and still an occasional piece for Christian Today Sports, the artificial turf came on the hockey scene during the era.
Field hockey was the first major international sport to take to heart artificial turf for its international fixtures, the first major event was the 1976 Montreal Olympics. A great many advances in the production and technology of artificial grass has occurred since then.
Australia's initial artificial hockey pitch (the watered version as opposed to sand based pitches) was established in the same year, Perth and Melbourne and sadly Sydney was the last. Some of us can remember the 1980 debacle Australia v Ireland Test match on the Concord Oval grass rugby paddock where the Australian team managed a spartan 1-0 victory. A Sydney artificial pitch was hastily approved by government funding. At this time I was a Board Member of the NSW Hockey Association and writing hockey for The Australian newspaper.
The 1984 Olympics was played not on a hockey specific artificial pitch but an all purpose pitch which would after the Olympics become a Gridiron pitch. This surface was a little bouncier than Australia's artificial grass pitches which in a sense made it more like playing on natural grass with its bumps where brilliant stick work determined outcomes.
As it was the two nation's with the most brilliant stick work met in the LA Olympic Final, Pakistan and Australia. Interestingly on this bouncier pitch those nations that liked their set plays where the ball simply ran along the pitch in a straight line without any deviation did not do as well.
In October 1984 in my sports ministry role I was provided the opportunity to address the National Board of the Australian Rough Riders Association regarding chaplaincy. I happened to have a sample of artificial grass that hockey utilised and several of the professional riders doubted whether it would stand up to a heavy bull's jumping. Today many Rodeos in the US use highly technological artificial grass.
Soccer is played on artificial grass all over the world, as are many other sports, Council play grounds and cricket pitches and a thousand other community uses. It is a very common commodity today. Many of the newer churches today have artificial grass near their entrances.
Schools, Churches .....
Churches too have moved with the times and many of the children ministry areas are now artificial grass and some even have welcome areas which display artificial grass.
Late last year I attended a Carols by Candlelight combined schools function held at St Joseph's College in Tweed Heads and again I noticed that the main thoroughfare in to the school environs exhibited artificial grass. It was simply a case of better student management, with no more wet and muddy shoes in a very rainy climate.
My wife Delma and I on a Saturday morning often drive up to Point Danger at Tweed Heads, sit on the grass and I read the bible to her. I'm quite sure that I could order a bible with an artificial grass cover and no one would see the camouflaged bible and all those strange looks would disappear.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html