London - It may be good for the gardener’s ego – but a perfect lawn is bad for the environment, according to scientists.
A stretch of grass that is free of weeds lacks food for bees and other pollinators, they say. Meanwhile herbicides and lawnmowers contribute to pollution.
They add that gardeners should let their lawns grow "wild" instead, with a variety of plants to create a more diverse ecosystem.
"The main intent of lawn care is to keep the dominance of only a few species and eliminate the presence of others, all considered as weeds," say Professor Maria Ignatieva and Dr Marcus Hedblom. "It is time to consider new “lawnscapes” in urban planning as beneficial alternatives."
Writing in the journal Science, the pair – from the University of Western Australia and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences – say it would be better to create a "dense biodiverse and low-maintenance mat" using plants other than grasses.
However they admit that it could be tricky to persuade gardeners, adding: "One challenge is how to accelerate people’s acceptance of a new vegetation aesthetic."