Owning a lawn could soon be regarded as an environmental sin – like driving a gas-guzzling car.
So says Bob Flowerdew, the Gardeners’ Question Time panellist, who claims it’s time to rip out turf.
To the dismay of turf growers, Bob said predictions of drier summers and hosepipe bans mean that brown lawns will become a common sight.
Bob said: “Having a green lawn may even be seen as heinous a sin as driving a gas-guzzling vehicle. So why do we not admit that the time and effort needed to maintain a lawn is now too much?
“Dig up your lawn I say! Stack turves to rot into a grand base for potting compost and turn the area into something else.”
But boss of turf supplier Rolawn, Paul Dawson, said: “I have travelled the world and there is no doubt the traditional British lawn is the envy of the world.
“For a lot of people, keeping a lawn is a hobby – something to be proud of. Lawns have significant environmental benefits, producing oxygen, filtering water back into aquifers and reducing flooding,” Paul added.
Norfolk-based turf supplier Q-Lawns also questioned Bob’s suggestion that lawns should be turned into prairie beds of drought-tolerant perennials or covered with fruit cages.
“People in the UK want a lawn – it’s a quintessentially British garden feature,” said Q-Lawns’ Angela Lambert.
“It’s good of Bob to provoke debate, but we must remember that lawns are attractive to wildlife, especially blackbirds. Lawns help to prevent flooding. Recent reports have proved that paved gardens contribute to floods.”
Q-Lawns, which had its turf used in Alan Titchmarsh’s Love Your Garden series, pointed out that lawns quickly recover from drought if they’re not cut too short.
Keeping grass fed, plus scarifying and aerating can boost its appearance during tougher seasons.
Tim Briercliffe, of the Horticultural Trades Association, said: “Eighty per cent of people with a garden have a lawn. People view it as a relaxing, social space. Mowing and caring for lawns is one of the main gardening activities.
“However, it is down to choice and some people prefer not to have a lawn, and to garden in pots and containers instead,” Tim summed up.