the pros, the cons and insider tips
Originally artificial grass was famous for being used by some of our largest Sports clubs. However you are now just as likely to see it on your neighbour's garden. So why do people use it? What are the benefits, the problems and what should you know to make an informed decision.
The benefits of artificial grass
The benefits really fall into 3 distinct groups:-
- Lifestyle and ease of use. There is no doubt at all that in our busy lives time becomes more precious as we seek to juggle all our responsibilities. Mowing the lawn can take 2 to 3 hours out of your week and that is for a normal size garden. Artificial grass needs very little maintenance and can free up a lot of time. It is worth mentioning two distinct types of users who also find it very valuable:-
- Older people who cannot physically mow their lawns.
- Holiday home owners who are not always "on site" to look after their lawns.
- Environmental issues. As our weather grows warmer there will be more pressure on restricting water usage. Hose pipe restrictions can really destroy a natural lawn, but artificial grass will not be affected. Another benefit from artificial grass is that it actively helps the environment. As well as substantially reducing water usage we also get:-
- No carbon emissions from petrol driven lawn mowers.
- No fertilisers needed.
- Pollution from water run off carrying chemicals into the drains is minimised.
- Special circumstances. It always surprises people to know the varied circumstances when artificial grass can be beneficial. Here is a brief list:-
- Dog runs. Artificial grass can't be dug up, it's easy to clean and keep sterile and there will be no muddy paws. This makes artificial grass a favourite at dog kennels.
- Swimming pools. Very useful as ground cover beyond the "splash back" area. No muddy areas to carry dust and dirt into the pool, no ruts from the sun loungers and it stays green whatever the weather.
- Roof gardens. If your roof is not strong enough to support a natural turf cover then artificial grass will fill in very nicely. It also means that you don't need to worry about the grass clippings.
- High wear and tear areas. Very often, especially with children, you can end up with parts of the garden where constant usage will not allow grass to grow properly and bald patches which can turn to mud cause real problems. Carefully laid artificial grass can blend in with surrounding features and help overcome this.
- Event management. We have often seen artificial grass used when there are going to be a lot of people on a lawn. A good example would be if a marquee was planned for a special event.
Disadvantages of artificial grass
In the American south, with their extreme weather conditions it can sometimes seem a little odd when you get the baked dry yard of one house right next to bright green of a neighbour who has laid artificial grass. Fortunately for the United Kingdom we have not yet had the extreme hot weather of Texas and Arizona!
Other disadvantages? Well to be honest there aren't any. Price wise it is usually less than paving or other artificial coverings and when you measure the investment over the life of the grass it can in fact work out cheaper than laying and maintaining natural turf.
Things you might not know about artificial grass
Some artificial grass needs an infill, this is usually sand or rubber crumb. If rubber is used then it has probably come from shredded car tyres! You can also buy artificial grass which doesn't need an infill.
Artificial grass was originally designed for sports pitches and sold under the name of 'astro turf' in the USA. The early versions were not very successful but more recent changes have resulted in artificial grass being adopted by very large sports clubs. In particular for their training pitches as the annual hours of pitch usage can be increased substantiality.
You can now buy artificial grass cut like carpet tiles. This is often seen with coloured grass, for instance terracotta tiles. This allows you to design coloured pathways and surrounds.