World class garden designer joins call to rid turf of harmful plastics

AWARD winning celebrity garden designer, Juliet Sargeant, is backing a campaign calling on the UK turf industry to end the use of plastic mesh in its products.

Juliet, who has been designing and creating award-winning gardens for more than 30 years, said the industry must work together to find more sustainable solutions and bring to an end to the pollution plastic mesh can cause.



World class garden designer joins call to rid turf of harmful plastics

World class garden designer joins call to rid turf of harmful plastics


The campaign was launched earlier this year by Yorkshire business Lindum Turf, which has invested many years and hundreds of thousands of pounds developing plastic-free products.

Yet despite this, many turf producers still continue to use the mesh as a growing media, which breaks down into microplastics once it is laid, polluting the soil and potentially leaching off into nearby watercourses.

According to Stephen Fell, owner of Lindum Turf, most consumers do not even know the plastic mesh exists, so lay it without understand the damage they could be causing.

Stephen said: “Because the mesh is used as a growing medium, you cannot see it once the turf has been lifted.

“Many gardeners are laying turf without any idea that they could be polluting the land. This is particularly the case with wildflower turf as this is being seen as a way of attracting insects to a garden and increasing biodiversity.

“This is a wonderful ideal and something we fully support. But this great work could be undermined by the damage turfs containing plastic can do. Unless consumers choose plastic-free, they could, quite literally, be doing more harm than good.”

Juliet said the industry needed to start by educating consumers so they could make better choices when it comes to purchasing environmentally friendly products.

The star garden designer, who has won multiple awards at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, recently designed a new garden for long-running TV show Blue Peter around the theme of soil health, and included plastic-free wildflower turf in her design.

She said: “The turf industry and the wider landscaping industry needs to educate consumers on the issues around creating sustainable gardens to enable them to make choices that support the environment.

“I firmly believe when you do this, people will make the right decisions.

“But we also need to work together to come up with solutions. When I started out 30 years ago, we didn’t think much about the hard landscaping materials we used. But gradually we started to consider the carbon footprint the stone we used, especially if it had travelled a long way. Then chemical usage came under the spotlight, and rightly so. It all built from there.”

Juliet added that the use of plastics in gardening had also come to the forefront in recent years.

“I began to look at the plant in front of me and realised it was in a plastic pot,” she said.

“I wasn’t comfortable with this and for the past 10 years I’ve been trying to persuade my suppliers to let me return the plastic plant pots.

“Plastic to me seems to be low hanging fruit, and something which would be relatively easy to get out of the supply change. Lindum Turf have managed to do it from their products and it is time other turf suppliers followed suit. There is no need to pollute the land with plastic any longer and that is why I’m happy to add my name to this campaign.”

Stephen Fell said he was delighted Juliet had put her name to the campaign.

He said that it is only by having the industry’s biggest names call for change that awareness of the issue will spread, ensuring consumers make better choices.

Stephen said: “Juliet is a garden designer par excellence with a string of awards and accolades to her name.

“But beyond this, she is deeply concerned about issues such as sustainability, sustainable supply chains, and soil health as her work on the Blue Peter Garden demonstrates.

“For her to support our campaign is hugely encouraging and we’re honoured and extremely grateful to have her on board.”

Stephen added that as the weather begins to warm up and spring is on its way, many people’s thoughts will be turning to their gardens again.

“If you’re planning any big garden projects, particularly those include turf or wildflower turf, I implore people to ensure the products they buy are plastic free,” he said.

“Let’s stop putting unnecessary plastic into our soils and watercourses once and for all, and encourage the wider turf growing industry to abandon the practice as soon as possible.”

Richard Owen, Chairman of the TGA, described the use of plastic turf netting as a major environmental problem.

He said: “It is very difficult to quantify exactly how much turf is laid in the UK, but it is likely that a significant amount of plastic turf netting is being put into the ground each year.

“This causes a problems for wildlife, for farmers on whose land the turf is grown, and most seriously, it decays into polluting microplastics that can leach into watercourses and get into the food chain.

“It is for this reason we are encouraging our members to stop using single use plastic mesh in their turf by 2025 and support calls for an industry-wide cessation.”

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