Years ago artificial grass would have been limited to sports fields (astroturf), but now more and more homeowners are opting for it as an alternative to real grass.
As a result, the artificial grass market is currently growing very rapidly across the UK with many companies specialising in just that. But why are so many people choosing it, and is it a good or a bad thing?
We all want our garden to look like the picture-postcard image with a beautiful, lush green lawn and flowers in bloom. However, for many of us the reality is far different with patchy or overgrown lawns!
Depending on the size of your lawn, keeping on top of the maintenance of it can be a time consuming and difficult task. With our increasingly busy lives, many of us simply want to enjoy the benefits of our gardens, and don’t necessarily have the time (or the inclination) to put in the work involved in keeping it looking good.
If you are unable (or unwilling) to cut your grass there are a number of options open to you. You could hire a gardener or grass cutting service to cut it every week or so, or a professional lawn care company who will visit at regular intervals and not only cut the grass but also feed, aerate, scarify and more to keep it looking its best.
Another option is to pave it over or replace it with decking – low maintenance but not so attractive or practical for children or pets.
But what if you want to keep the green and pleasant look? Why not remove it all and replace it with artificial grass?
Advances in technology and improved manufacturing techniques have resulted in artificial grass that looks incredibly realistic. Gone are the days of the bright green rolls of “fake” grass that the local greengrocer used to cover his tables with! Artificial grass now comes in a huge variety of different types; there are varying thicknesses, shades, and lengths, many even have built-in thatch to make it look even more authentic.
The artificial grasses available today are hard wearing and are designed to withstand the wear and tear of kids and pets. No more bald patches on your lawn from your football-mad children and their friends and no more holes dug by your excitable dog looking for somewhere to hide their favourite toy!
Should we have a dry summer and drought orders are put in place, your artificial lawn will still look lush and green while the real lawns suffer from the lack of water and become dry and discoloured. Likewise, if we have a particularly wet spell of weather you won’t have to put up with muddy puddles and foot or paw prints throughout your home.
Typical questions regarding artificial grass include ‘will it fade?’ and ‘how does water drain?’. Most (good quality) artificial grass is designed not to fade with sunlight as it is UV stabilised during the manufacturing process. The backing of the grass should have drainage holes ensuring that water can drain away in the same way as it would with natural grass.
Most of the good quality artificial grass will have a 10-12 year guarantee, so once it’s down that’s pretty much it for at least the next few years – no more mowing, weeding or feeding, just a realistic looking green space for you and your family (and pets) to enjoy. They are relatively low maintenance too, regular brushing and removal of leaves and other debris will keep your new artificial lawn in good condition.
It all sounds great, but what are the “cons”? Well, obviously it’s artificial so it’s not great for the wildlife; worms rely the rootzone in real grass to survive, and birds eat the worms, so it affects them too.
No matter how high quality your artificial grass is, it does have a lifespan after which it will need to be replaced.
Most artificial grass is manufactured from synthetic materials including nylon, polypropolene, and polythene, so it can get warm if subjected to extreme heat, and it will melt so you shouldn’t smoke or use a barbeque or fireworks on it.
Finally, depending on the size of your lawn, it can be expensive to install, prices typically range from £10.00 per m² for a budget option up to £40.00 per m² for a top-of-the-range grass. You can install it yourself, but it is generally recommended that you employ the services of a professional artificial grass installer to ensure that it lasts for at least the minimum term of the warranty.
Overall, there definitely appear to be more pros than cons, but what are your thoughts? We’d love to hear feedback whether you’re in favour of it, or not!