It seems like an odd topic for us to discuss but as it’s becoming increasingly popular we thought we’d take a look at artificial grass, it’s pro’s and con’s, and most importantly if it’s ever any better than the real thing.
Artificial grass is marketed as a viable alternative to a living lawn if you have boisterous pets or children, which seems fair enough, but is that incentive enough given the considerable costs involved, and the fact that it won’t repair itself should it become damaged?
What does it look like?
Depending on what you’re prepared to pay, the appearance of artificial grass can be anything from crazy golf style ‘carpet’ that doesn’t do a lot to try and hide the fact that it’s not real, to something that is actually pretty impressive and hard to distinguish from real grass, from a distance at least anyway. These more expensive varieties sometimes use a fine layer of sand which is dusted among the ‘stems’ to keep them upright, adding to the effect.
How much does it cost?
You can expect to pay anything from £10 per square metre for some of the cheaper varieties, to £30 per square metre for the more expensive options (and in our opinion the only options worth having are the more expensive ones). Even in a small garden of say 50 square metres this works out at £1500. Add to this of course the cost of fitting it, and you could find you have quite a substantial investment on your hands.
How is it installed?
Depending on the type you buy artificial grass is normally either rolled out in a similar manner to conventional turf, and either tacked in place or buried at the edges. The whole process takes longer than conventional turf given the additional need to fix it in place, and also because of the need to properly prepare the surface underneath by flattening it, and applying sand to level it, and finally adding a weed membrane to prevent weeds from sprouting up from the ‘grass’.
How does it stand up to wear and tear?
One of the big advantages of artificial grass is its resilience, it’ll stand up to the rough and tumble of pets and animals with only the occasional need for hosing down or sweeping to get rid of dirt or animal waste, and of course leaves in the Autumn.
Whilst there is no denying that artificial grass has some clear advantages over traditional turf, we just can’t get away from the fact that it is exactly as described ‘artificial’. Earthworms cannot live in artificial grass, and birds and other wildlife get no benefit from it either. On the other hand it is nearly maintenance free once it’s installed, so for busy families it could be a viable option.