Maintaining a lawn can be a labour of love, so it’s no surprise that increasingly realistic-looking artificial grass is growing in popularity. In 2018 at Wayfair, sales rose by 164 per cent in the artificial plants class, which artificial grass falls under. And online searches for ‘artificial grass’ have also risen 244 per cent.
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While it gives a similar sensation underfoot to real grass, the fake kind is both family and pet friendly. Plus you won’t have to worry about mud being tracked into the house after a downpour. The only upkeep most need is a monthly brush and hose-down plus bi-annual weedkiller treatments.
If you’re interested in ditching traditional turf in favour of artificial grass, we’ve got the answers to all your commonly asked questions right here.
1. What types of artificial grass are available?
Artificial grass comes in different designs, thicknesses and shades to suit a variety of uses – there’s no ‘one-grass fits-all’. For example, softer grass feels more like the real thing, while harder materials suit heavy traffic areas. Handy, if the kids like your lawn to double as a mini Old Trafford.
Artificial grass can be bought on the roll or cut to size. It is priced to suit different budgets and available in a range of designs and ‘pile’ lengths. If you are joining different lengths to cover a larger area you will need to buy a joining kit.
Options from Easigrass include an ultra-durable lawn suited for children’s play with a shock-pad base underneath as well as grass suited to pets that’s soft on paws and minimises odours. Heights can range from 20mm to a deep pile 47mm, with colours from a light, fresh green to luxurious darker shades.
Most synthetic turf consists of three layers: a drainage layer, a multi-layered backing in jute, plastic or polyester and nylon or polypropylene ‘grass’ blades. Some artificial products are infilled with a granular filler to resemble natural turf.
2. How long does artificial grass last?
Faux lawns can last up to 20 years but it’s important to install them properly.
3. Where can I buy artificial grass?
If you fancy doing it yourself, Carpetright offers a capsule range of polypropylene and polyester UV and dirt-resistant artificial grasses from just £12 per sq m, with installation guides online.
LazyLawn has the UK’s largest installation network, so there’s a good chance of finding an expert on your doorstep. It offers a wide range of colours, textures and pile heights, too.
Easigrass has won six RHS awards for product and design, and supplies and installs artificial grass worldwide. It’s even developed faux grass with manicured stripes for a pro-mown appearance.
4. How much does artificial grass cost?
According to Easigrass, for an average garden size of 50-60 sq m, grass and supply would cost around £3,000 to £4,000, depending on the product chosen. Perfectly Green suggest £55 to £70 per sq m, depending on site requirements, including excavation and waste removal.
LazyLawn quotes around £25 per sq m for supply only and £65 per sq m including installation. Carpetright estimate that installing its grass yourself would cost from £18-28 per sq m, while B&M suggest that an average small garden using its grass would cost around £1,200 and a larger one around £2,500.
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5. Can I lay artificial grass myself?
Laying artificial grass can be a DIY project or it can be done by a professional landscaper, depending on complexity of the project.
Measure the area you want to cover, plus 5cm extra all the way round – the grass can be trimmed later on. You’ll also need to remove turf down to around 5-7.5cm (make sure cables and water pipes are below this) and any large stones.
6. How to lay artificial grass
While companies use different installation techniques, the basics are the same – what you’re trying to achieve is a stable base to stop the grass shifting and stop weeds growing through.
Most achieve weed reduction with a layer of membrane being laid initially. If there’s no perimeter for the grass to butt up to (eg a fence), it’s a good idea to add a timber or steel edge to frame it – this will give a crisp, professional finish.
Next, you’ll need to create a sturdy base, usually with sand or a similar aggregate that’s compacted down to make it level.
Finally, you can unroll your grass – make sure the rolls lay in the same direction so the blades point the same way. It can be glued or pinned into place and ruffled to disguise joins.
7. Why do you need to put sand on artificial grass?
Some dense designs may not need infill – a layer of sand brushed on top to weigh the grass down. But for most installations, it’s a crucial finishing touch that will give a professional look. As well as holding the grass in place, it’ll protect it against dogs clawing at the base. It also keeps the grass cooler in the summer as sand dissipates the heat.
8. How long does artificial grass take to install?
Depending on how much preparation your project needs, an artificial lawn can usually be installed in one or two days. Sloped installations or those that require a groundbreaker will require more time.
9. Can I clean artificial grass?
For more tips, check out our care and cleaning section
Yes, you can. Regular brushing with a broom or a plastic leaf rake will remove most leaves and dirt and keep the fibres straight. If your pet goes to the toilet on your lawn, wait until the poo has hardened. Then remove and spray with diluted disinfectant.
Sharp or heavy objects can damage the base – regularly move trampolines or playhouses to minimise indentations. Also, keep barbecues away from your grass as heat and embers can cause permanent damage.