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Why Choose Artificial Grass? The Alternatives to Grass Lawns

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Apr 29, 2024
7 minutes read
  • Several alternatives to grass lawns
  • Average artificial grass price by type
  • Main benefits of synthetic grass

Sometimes the reason why the grass is always greener on the other side is because it’s artificial. The many benefits of artificial grass stretch beyond its colour-retention properties. If you’re looking for alternatives to grass lawns, why not at least consider synthetic turf? You can save yourself a lot of time in maintenance and upkeep.

This article will explain how you can benefit from using alternatives to grass lawns and go over the rough prices you can expect to pay. If you take into account the cost of power tools, maintenance, feeders and weeders, a one-off payment for synthetic grass could end up being much cheaper overall.

Ready to look at prices for artificial grass? Use our quote comparison tool to find out how much you’d pay. It only takes a minute.

A black dog on decking in a back garden made of artificial grass, stones and wood, surrounded by bamboo

The Best Alternatives to Grass Lawns

Unless you’re a fan of hardscaping, you’re most likely going to want at least a patch of green on your lawn as a ground covering. This can be done in a number of different ways:

  • Clover lawn

  • Creeping thyme

  • Tapestry lawn

  • Artificial grass

The reason behind these alternatives to grass lawns is that they are drought resistant and easy to look after. They can also add some colour and visual interest to an otherwise standard looking outside space.

Clover Lawn

Introducing clover to your lawn is a great way to make it drought tolerant. It’s an eco-friendly alternative that helps pollinators and removes excess nitrous oxides from pollution.

You can purchase clover in turf rolls as one of the suitable alternatives to grass lawns, giving you an easier installation. It requires less mowing and water.

Creeping Thyme

As a low growing flowering plant, creeping thyme is one of the most perfect alternatives to grass lawns. It’s also excellent for pollinators, but can’t stand heavy foot traffic. This means you’ll need stepping stones or a path for frequent use.

Once established, it doesn’t require watering, but it’s initially expensive to put in. You also need to weed it frequently when growing.

Tapestry Lawn

As a biodiverse environment, tapestry lawns are a mixture of low growing flowering plants that are much better at absorbing water than turf is. Being one of the most colourful alternatives to grass lawns, this option gives you full control of your garden depending on its growing conditions.

Similar to creeping thyme, they are only suitable for light foot traffic, and are more of an aesthetic option for lawn alternatives.

Artificial Grass

Perhaps one of the most well known alternatives to grass lawns, synthetic grass is incredibly hard wearing and can be used year-round. High end types are so soft and realistic that some people may not even realise your real grass has been replaced.

The low maintenance alternatives and durability often puts synthetic turf above any others, especially if you have pets or children.

The Structure of Artificial Grass

In the many decades that synthetic turf has been around, it has gone through multiple changes and improved in strength and looks, making it one of the better alternatives to grass lawns. Gone are the early days of a lighter shade of green every summer and various nylon-related injuries. Nowadays, artificial grass is composed of plastic fibres that are stitched into a backing. It’s finished with a sand or silica infill that keeps the fibres upright and is placed on a shock absorbent layer.

Artificial Grass Composition

The reason why artificial turf is one of the best alternatives to grass lawns is that different colours, sizes, shapes and textures are available. These are able to mimic real lawns, with the most convincing costing higher amounts.

Of course, even the most budget product will have more realism than anything produced in the early days of fake grass.

What Materials Are Fake Grasses Made From?

These alternatives to grass lawns come in three types: nylon, polyethylene and polypropylene.


Nylon has been used in artificial grass since the 1960s. It’s hard wearing and weathers well against the elements and heavy foot traffic. It is also the most heat resistant, maintaining its colour under the harshest UV conditions, making it one of the best alternatives to grass lawns.

On the higher end of the scale, nylon grass costs between £25–£40 per m².


Artificial Grass Roll Icon

Cheaper than nylon, polyethylene offers a more convincing look and is the softest of the alternatives to grass lawns. It’s the most common type on the market and doesn’t absorb odours as much.

In the middle of the range, polyethylene grass costs between £15–£25 per m².


This is the budget option. On the lower end of the scale, polypropylene grass doesn’t last as long and will require replacement much sooner than other alternatives to grass lawns. It’s typically suited for small patches or areas that are out of sight.

On the lowest rung, the polypropylene artificial grass price is between £8–£16 per m².

Choose Your Style of Synthetic Grass

Unlike natural turf or the existing grass on your lawn, alternatives to grass lawns can be customised to suit your needs. There are many options available for all aspects of the grass, from how tall you want it to be to whether it resists bacteria. Some manufacturers will offer a lot of features as standard, so it pays to see what’s on the market.

Pile Height

This simply refers to how tall you want your grass to be. The most popular options are anything from 25mm to 45mm, but options are available as short as 10mm and can go up to at least 80mm. The pile height has a big impact on how your lawn will look, with darker shades coming through the taller it is.

The best alternatives to grass lawns balance aesthetics and practicality, which is why you generally find artificial lawns with pile heights between 25–45mm.


Many shades of green are available on the market, often including several colours to replicate the natural shades found in real grass. Alternatives to grass lawns wouldn’t be useful if they didn’t at least look like the real thing. For darker lawns, choosing a lighter shade of green can brighten up the area.

The thatch is also important, as this can heighten realism and provide much-needed browns to complement the otherwise uniform green. Just because the alternatives to grass lawns are fake, it doesn’t mean they have to be unconvincing.


Artificial Grass Patches Isometric

If pet mess is a worry for you, choosing an antibacterial or antimicrobial artificial grass can put your mind at ease. Some manufacturers coat their grass with titanium dioxide, which breaks down pollutants in the air, while others use antimicrobial compounds to prevent stains and odours.

In this way, the alternatives to grass lawns can essentially improve on a traditional lawn. Technological improvements can render your outside space cleaner and less dirty.

Choose the Best Fibre Shape

A lot of research has gone into improving synthetic fibres, and the shape of them has a strong bearing on how your lawn behaves. With these alternatives to grass lawns, you don’t have to compromise on use.


Perfect for a soft feel, this luxury option is resistant to a moderate amount of foot traffic. Despite sounding like it has a rough texture, the diamond shape is actually one of the softest artificial grasses on the market. It is also one of the most realistic alternatives to grass lawns.

U/C-Shape and S-Shape

The springy design of these shapes prevents flattening of the fibres. They look realistic and are durable in both medium and high traffic areas. U/C-shaped grass is soft and realistic, but S-shaped grass is even more so. These alternatives to grass lawns reflect light better to achieve this.


Named after the Greek symbol, it follows the same shape, being very hard wearing. It doesn’t bend or flatten with regular use. As it curves round, it comes in a shorter pile height than other alternatives to grass lawns, but is no less useful.


The thought behind this shape is a lack of heat retention, keeping your lawn cooler and safe to walk on in the summer heat. W-shaped alternatives to grass lawns are also fairly good at reducing the giveaway sheen that comes with plastic fibres. The W design helps spread weight more evenly, helping the fibres stay upright.

What Maintenance Is Involved With a Fake Lawn?

Anything left out in the elements is prone to weather damage and debris. Just because your lawn mower will no longer be used, it doesn’t mean alternatives to grass lawns will look after themselves.

You can simply leave your lawn to its own devices, but keeping up with a little maintenance will ensure it lasts much longer.

Brush and Hose Clean

Woman With Leaf Blower Vector

Any loose dirt and debris should be swept off to avoid spoiling the look of your lawn. A hose can clean off most mess, but be wary of pressure washers as they have the potential to break the backing. This can be mitigated if you use a sand infill with plastic alternatives to grass lawns.

To keep your fibres upright, it’s important to brush them every now and again with a stiff bristle brush. It will bring some life back into a dead looking lawn and revive a depressing looking surface. Regular brushing is a must with artificial grass.

Be Careful With Chemicals

Bleach and white spirit both have the potential to discolour alternatives to grass lawns, so any tough stains should be treated with care. Always test in an inconspicuous area first, but diluted solutions should be used for persistent staining. Make sure to rinse the area clean and remove any residue after using harsh chemicals.

Generally, there isn’t much that can’t be cleaned with a solution of washing-up liquid and warm water. A neutral detergent is key, but tough stains might require the use of artificial grass cleaners. If you have pets, these are useful to remove unpleasant odours from alternatives to grass lawns.

The Benefits of Artificial Grass

The advantages and disadvantages of artificial grass are wide and varied. Besides the lower level of maintenance, there are other advantages to choosing a synthetic lawn.

Environmental Impact

Petrol powered garden tools are reported to be much worse at causing emissions than cars. A leaf blower, for example, can emit 11 times more carbon monoxide (CO) than a Ford Fiesta, while hedge cutters are only 4 times as bad.

Lawn mowers that run on petrol are more likely to be used by homeowners, and as they don’t have to adhere to the strict emissions limits that cars do, it’s useful to ditch them. By fitting plastic alternatives to grass lawns, you can avoid contributing to these excess emissions.

Water Saving

When laid, new turf requires copious amounts of water to make sure it roots properly and establishes. You’re advised to water new turf twice a day for the first week alone, and at least until it’s damp underneath.

Synthetic alternatives to grass, on the other hand, only require water when they need to be cleaned. Over the course of its life, you can save on the use of water, especially during dry spells.

Lack of Growth

If you’re unfortunate enough to be in a particularly overlooked or shaded area, real grass might struggle to thrive. It can be patchy and not look healthy, or simply grow unevenly. Fake alternatives to grass can remedy this by being at a constant height, thickness and colour throughout the year.

Prevents Weeds

Country House Isometric

Typically, most alternatives to grass lawns are resistant to weed growth. Some eliminate them altogether.

When installed properly, artificial grass features a weed membrane, which makes it much more difficult for them to grow through. While it isn’t impossible, it’s much easier to treat a few spots of weeds than a whole lawn.

Suitable Drainage

Artificial grass isn’t just laid on top of an existing lawn; a suitable sub base needs to be fitted first. This makes sure that water drains through properly, doesn’t pool on the surface and will be comfortable to walk on.

Some lawns feature soil that’s dense in clay, making it harder for water to drain through. Synthetic lawns don’t have this problem, making them great alternatives for grass lawns.


Although some people are dead set against artificial grass based on its environmental impact, there are ways to mitigate the damage. In this way, plastic alternatives to grass lawns don’t have to be hurtful.

There are plenty of ways in which you can integrate synthetic grass and complement the local wildlife. Borders and flowerbeds can always be left to keep some form of nature in the garden, or flower pots can be used creatively. You don’t have to bury your entire outside space in a sheet of plastic, and few people will.

Ready to Choose Artificial Grass?

As far as the alternatives to grass lawns go, synthetic lawns don’t require much effort, blend seamlessly into any space and can be trampled on day after day without issue. By being child and pet friendly, there’s plenty of boxes that are ticked already.

If you’re interested in artificial grass, click on the button below to compare tailored quotes from local suppliers.

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