Thursday, 11 August 2011

An Immaculate Patch Of Green

Interior home design has had its day, home owners now want to focus more on the exterior. At least that's the message I got flicking through the freebie Waitrose paper one day. I'd been reading a brief piece on gardening, although to describe it as such is a joke. Now I'm not particularly green-fingered, but even I think replacing natural grass with artificial turf is a trend too far. Am I the only one that thinks this is bizarre?

This is ridiculous!” I grumbled to myself as I read the story. “Who would choose to live in a synthetic world?” The answer I got was plenty. The perfect lawn is all the rage. It has the look and feel of natural grass, complete with natural imperfections for a really authentic appearance. Pardon? Is this a late April Fools joke? Wrong again. This is low-maintenance gardening. Well, it certainly can't get any lower. What's the point? I'll let one satisfied customer explain, “ was constantly covered in leaves, acorns and twigs – now it's like a floor and I can just sweep them off.... We also have a dog, so now there are no more muddy paws in the house on wet days.” “Wow, that's amazing!” I gush after reading this endorsing comment. Sorry I'm lying through my teeth. I still don't get it.

The array of styles on offer do little to appease me. City terraces to suburban surroundings can all own an immaculate patch of green. I thought the big idea was to conserve, not to roll out a perfect “plastic” landscape. Are we going to have fake plants, trees, and birdsong too? Individual plots of green treated like indoor property. The outside now has to be spick and span just like hoovered carpet. An assault on the environment in exchange for an eternally spotless life.

I'm perpetually bothered by our desire to blot out imperfections. All flaws rubbed out, covered up, or more drastically removed. We can choose to mutilate our own bodies to obtain perfection, but subjecting green spaces to a similar fate is akin to physical rape. Our drive for flawlessness ungoverned. If this trend is a success what's left for us to manicure? Do we start over and make further improvements? When is enough, enough?

The one question I unfalteringly return to is this: The natural world will never be perfect, but isn't that its beauty?