Why Choose Artificial Grass?
- What varieties of artificial grass there are
- Average artificial grass price by type
- Main benefits of artificial 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 switch from a natural lawn to an artificial one, you can save yourself a lot of time in maintenance and upkeep.
This article will explain how you can benefit from this type of grass 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 artificial grass would end up being much cheaper overall.
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The Structure of Artificial Grass
In the many decades that this kind of grass has been around, it has gone through multiple changes and improved in durability and looks. 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.
Many types of artificial grass come with different colours, sizes, shapes and textures in order to mimic the real life equivalent. Naturally, the more realistic you want your fake grass to be, the more you can expect to pay. Of course, even the most budget product out there won’t look as bad as the early versions of fake grass.
What Materials Are Fake Grasses Made From?
Depending on your budget and desired effect, artificial grass comes 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.
On the higher end of the scale, nylon grass costs between £25-£40 per m².
Cheaper than nylon, polyethylene offers a more convincing look and even feels as soft as real grass. It’s the most common type on the market and doesn’t absorb odours as much as other types.
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 types. 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 Artificial Grass
Unlike natural turf or the existing grass on your lawn, artificial grass 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.
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.
Many shades of green are available on the market, often including several colours to replicate the natural shades found in real grass. Artificial grass is designed to look like a real lawn, and some people prefer a colour that will match what they currently have. For darker lawns, choosing a lighter shade of green can brighten up the area.
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. You can essentially improve on a traditional lawn with this technology.
Choose the Best Artificial Grass Shape
A lot of research has gone into improving a fake lawn, and the shape of the fibres has a strong bearing on how your lawn behaves.
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.
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. C-shaped grass is soft and realistic, but S-shaped grass is even more so.
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 shapes, 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. It is 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 your artificial grass will look after itself. You can simply leave your lawn to its own devices, but a little care will go a long way and keep it lasting for much longer.
Brush and Hose Clean
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.
To keep your fibres upright, it’s important to brush 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 your lawn, so any tough stains should be treated with care. Always test in an inconspicuous area first, but diluted solutions should always be used for persistent staining. Make sure to rinse the area clean and remove any residue after using harsh chemicals.
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 fake lawn.
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 as cars do, it’s useful to ditch them. By having artificial grass fitted, you can avoid contributing to these excess emissions.
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. Artificial grass, on the other hand, only requires water when it needs to be cleaned. Over the course of its life, you can save on the use of water, especially during the dry summer months.
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. A fake lawn can remedy this by being at a constant height, thickness and colour throughout the year.
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.
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. Artificial grass doesn’t have this problem.
Environmental concerns can stop some people from opting for an artificial lawn, but there are plenty of ways in which you can integrate artificial 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.