Artificial grass has rapidly grown in popularity over the last few years, largely due to its low maintenance benefit and as a result, 3 in 4 homes have now replaced part or all of the gardens’ natural turf.
However, if you are thinking about replacing your lawn there are many potential drawbacks and misconceptions to consider:
Artificial grass is most commonly made from a mix of plastics (polypropylene, polyurethane and polyethene) and environmentalists have warned that not only are you using fossil fuels to make the grass, but you are also installing a product that will never biodegrade and will end up at a landfill.
By removing natural turf, you are also destroying the natural habitat for a variety of wildlife. Bees burrow into lawns, and butterflies, birds, worms plus other insects are also affected.
For more information about the environmental impact of artificial lawns and the effect on our wildlife, click here.
Artificial grass maintenance
Artificial grass is most commonly sold to homeowners as a maintenance-free option, and although it does require less maintenance than natural turf, there is still some upkeep and recurring cost:
The artificial turf option still needs cleaning so you will see many homeowners outside hoovering their artificial lawn of debris. If you have pets please consider the potential for smells that can permeate the artificial grass. Regular hosing down and using a pet-friendly cleaner can help but if it is laid on a poorly draining sub-base then the smells will linger in the sand it is laid on.
We have been having a very hot Summer in the UK and this has an impact on artificial grass. In the picture below you can see just how hot the artificial (plastic) grass can get compared to natural turf. Please bear this in mind if you have children or pets. If the artificial grass is reaching these temperatures it can cause burns and can render itself un-useable in higher temperatures.
Misconception of price
With low-cost products online, many believe artificial grass is cheap to install, but professional artificial grass installations are on average between £50 – £75 per square metre.
You can install yourself to reduce cost, but you then run the risk of incorrect installation. There are many reasons why artificial lawns are more expensive to install than you may think:
- You need to install an edge restraint
- You need to dig it out to the correct depth
- You need to use the correct materials i.e. not just sharp sand
- You need to allow for wastage
If you have decided on an artificial grass installation, here are some tips for choosing the right installer:
- Associations – are they approved Installers for artificial grass manufacturers such as Namgrass and Royal Grass?
- Request 3 quotes from different companies – We would always recommend going for a company in the middle to high-end price range. If a company has quoted a very low price compared to the others, be wary of this.
- Have they specified how the grass will be laid? On what sub-base? At what depth?
- Installation date – ask when you can expect the project to start. If the company can start immediately, query this as it could be a red flag.
- Insurances – do they hold relevant insurances such as public liability, product cover etc?
- Check the manufacturer guidelines of installation against the specification supplied by the installer.
At Aura Landscapes, we always recommend natural grass. It is the best option in our opinion and helps the environment.
You can still achieve a high-end look with a natural lawn, just see some examples of our work below: