Sunday, March 13, 2011

Art of Artificial Grass

Spring has come to town! In Doha, it means that rolls of artificial grass are being spread outdoors over large parcels of land in anticipation of summer heat and dust. Every lawn that does not have an underground irrigation does not stand a chance of survival.  This is where fake grass comes in handy. A harsh plastic look of these new lawns is somewhat mitigated with a curious design improvement. Here and there, the workers dump sand and occasional rocks onto the grass carpet, which seems to serve a double function:  to keep the carpet down, and to give it a more imperfect, natural look.

Strangely, this reminded me of an ancient Zen practice.  When Buddhist monks clean their gardens of fallen autumn leaves, they would always throw a bunch of leaves back onto a perfectly raked garden. According to traditional aesthetic principles of Zen (Wabi-Sabi), nothing should be too perfect. Not even artificial grass.