Just so you know: Ed Begley has a polyethylene lawn



Happened to watch a CBS profile of celebrity environmentalist Ed Begley, and learned that he satisfied his wife’s desire for lawn by installing the fake stuff, specifically this
, according to his website’s FAQ

And here’s a photo of his whole back yard. Notice that the Begleys also grow food, something we’re generally more enthusiatic about than plastic turf, but this news goes to show that even the most environmentally correct among us face complicated choices.

Again here’s Billy Goodnick’s profile of faux turf, its pro’s and cons.


  1. I’ve watched their show, and he limits his wife’s showers. The show is kind of silly, but I like to see what new environmental product he’ll roll out then. Their water is heated by solar panels, and I saw the show where he installed the “lawn.” No thanks to face turf for me.~~Dee

  2. Where’s the pool? If I were a demi-famous Hollywood personality, no way would I live without a pool.

    I can barely stand being pool-free as it is.

  3. And where does the storm water runn off to? Does the plastic lawn emit polluting gasses as it “evaoparates” in the sun. His fake lawn does nothing to filter rain water runoff like a natural lawn does. As well it does not recharge the water table like a real lawn does.

    And where are robins supposed to get earth worms from. And what about the eathworms………?

    More symbolism over substance.
    And what is wrong with lying in a real lawn after dark watching the stars and comets and bats on a summer evening.

    Please……..eco warriors like this are all show.

    The (love my lawn) TROLL

  4. I checked out that plastic grass website…is anyone else out there bothered by the ADD graphic approach to this website? Sensory overload. For many of us, grass is here to stay as a great place to sit and play. If all would just mow it,let it be and not worry about a bit of imperfection and dormancy there would be few problems. I’m with the troll’s comments above.

  5. I don’t own a television so cannot comment on Ed Begley, but I do live in an arid region where we receive sparse amounts of rain 4 months out of the year.
    For this reason it makes sustainable sense to install a ‘replica lawn’ if one desires to have a modest size lawn for the kids and the dogs to safely play on.
    As a landscape design and build firm we have installed several faux lawns and the process for ensuring proper rainwater filtration and percolation is extensive.
    Those who have not witnessed the installation process or the product itself seem to have the misconception that the ‘lawn’ is a solid non permeable sheet of plastic.
    It is not.
    All of the residential faux lawns that we have installed are permeable. The groundwater is recharged. These small to moderate sized lawns are surrounded by ‘real’ gardens that keep the local bugs, birds, wild turkeys , gophers and deer content.
    With limited amount of water to use for our landscapes it makes sense to prioritize our water rationing.
    By installing a replica lawn we can water our surrounding garden modestly with a clear conscience.
    The maintenance needs for a faux lawn is also less demanding , allowing more time for gardening and other activities , like taking a nap on the lawn under the shade of a tree.

    Don’t knock it till you tried it and have, at the very least , been informed about the product.

  6. Gawd, I hate the term “eco warrior” that seems to be popular in the UK.

    For Greg above, I can assure you that Ed Begley, Jr. walks the talk. He’s not just for show. Whether giving into his wife’s desire for a lawn by installing artificial turf was the smart move is one thing, but it doesn’t negate all the many things Ed’s done in his life to reduce his wear & tear on the planet. Also, he lives in Southern California, which does not get much rain. (He has water barrels that collect rainwater, such as he gets, from his roof.)

    This Garden Rant story hit at about the same time the front page of the SF Chron had news about a lawsuit targeted towards artificial turf manufacturers who have lead in their products:


  7. Many ads for plastic turf feature a young child and pet(s) cavorting on the green surface; and I’ve wondered: How much water will be used to wash down the fake grass so it won’t be too gross (from pet waste, drool, atmospheric particulates, accidental spills, etc) for its owners to enjoy? The heat build up on these “lawns” also make them a questionable place for young kids to play . . . kind of like setting them out on the blacktop, only softer.

  8. Hmm, I hadn’t even thought about the need to wash doggie poo off the plastic grass. Eeewwww.
    I have a real lawn, but when we don’t get enough rain – like right now – I let it go dormant. I do water my flower beds, but try to do that in early evening to reduce evaporation by the sun. I still think the solution to the problem is just to make creeping charlie “the lawn of the future.” We haven’t had rain for weeks and my yard is made of shredded wheat, with crevices going all the way to the earth’s core, but that stuff is still green. IT WILL NOT DIE!!! Could be problematic keeping it out of the garden beds though…

  9. Common grasses native to wet climates have no business being in Arid, hot climates like California.

    I think Ed did the right thing, water is so wasted here, such a shame because it really is a rare commodity, and it’s all siphoned from the rivers up north.

    The fake grass is permeable and allows wildlife to flourish, but it’s most important purpose is to save precious water which is over-used in southern California.

  10. The AGL website also offers fake trees and cacti for those who really want to save water!

    C’mon people, we’re gardeners. Fake lawn is not lawn, it is carpeting or maybe it could be considered “soft hardscape”. It’s fine if what you want is carpeting in your yard.

    Best ways to save water and still have a lawn are to limit the size of the lawn, make sure it’s graded right to avoid runoff, learn how to properly irrigate it, aerate, use adapted grass species (we are testing Stover California native grass mix, for example) mixed with legumes and/or other tough ground covering species to avoid problems inherent with the traditional lawn monoculture.

  11. There was an article in the Washington Post some time back about local school districts replacing grass with artificial turf for their athletic fields.

    Considering the expense associated with keeping grass lush, healthy, and mowed vs. the wear and tear these fields get, I can see why school systems would opt for artificial turf.

    The growth in soccer is another factor.

    If we could just agree that the lawn is a concept appropriate for certain ecosystems and not others, I think we’d go a long way to solving the problem. And the more of us who have lawns would adopt the philosophy of having “green stuff we mow” the better off we’ll be.

  12. It’s an OPTION, people! No one is trying to force you lawn lovers to install an artificial turf system. For those of us who live in SoCal – which has received the equivalent of a misting of rain this whole year – these faux lawns are another way to create responsible and usable outdoor spaces.

  13. One could contend that the reason that SoCal doesn’t get enough rain is because there isn’t enough lawn. As transpiration takes place in plants it moistens the air making rain more possible. Man usually picks the lushest, greenest places to build, destroying the native ecosystem. This decreases the moisture in the air. Now what happens is moist air from the ocean moves over dry land and the moisture is reduced. If the surface air had a higher moisture content (from more plants) then there would be more rain. By removing lawns people are making a bad problem worse.

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