What is it? Artificial grass.
Long derided by horticulturalists and green fingered people across the country, it’s proved an unstoppable trend in gardens with a reported 200% year-on-year increases in sales.
And it’s easy to see why – it works, it does what it says on the tin and it saves so much time and effort. There are very good reasons why this is one of the fastest growing sectors in gardens and here are 7 of the best of them!
1. You don’t have to mow it
It sounds obvious but the low maintenance aspect of artificial grass can’t be overstated. No more Sundays shackled to your mower, instead sit back, relax and just enjoy that view over the beautiful green sward.
If anything does disturb the pristine look, a quick sweep or spray with the hose pipe will sort it out. Some people even use a vacuum cleaner on it. There is a recommendation to get it cleaned professionally once a year to keep it in tip top condition and most companies give a warranty of 5-10 years life on the grass.
2. It looks great
Come summer when real grass is yellowing and yelling out for water, or come winter when the real stuff is turning into more of a mud bath with every game of football the kids play on it, the artificial grass just keeps on giving. And if your pets are forever digging up your lawn, fake grass has the answer. There are specially made grasses for pets, coarser than the standard, which are resistant to the most persistent pet paws. The artificial lawn just sails through all the challenges thrown at it.
3. It’s now made to look ‘more real’
In fact, one of the main problems with the fake stuff in the past is that it looks too good, too green. Well the boffins have been hard at work, and now, especially in the premium brands, the aim is to make it look less than perfect. They interweave yellow, light green and dark green and allow a little curl on the stems, and bingo you have a realistic looking lawn.
The premium grass is also longer than you might imagine, some of it is nearly 5cm long, so it’s got just the right shaggy look of a real lawn. And to make sure it doesn’t lie flat the stems have added bounce, springing up after they’ve been flattened like magic.
4. It’s perfect for outdoor spaces where grass isn’t working
Artificial grass is especially useful if you’ve tried and failed to establish a lawn in your garden. Small gardens, shady gardens, areas of high traffic, can all be heartbreaking to a gardener trying to perfect a lawn. The thin and patchy grass will never thrive and once walked on or played on, it disappears altogether. These are just perfect situations for the fake stuff. And then there are the areas where grass just isn’t an option at all. Balconies and roof gardens may not have the strength to take soil and turf, and here, fake grass is a godsend.
5. It can suit all of your needs
Another huge advantage of artificial is you can choose the grass to suit your needs. There are over 50 different types, all for different purposes. If you have pets there’s a grass for you. If you have kids who take tumbles and need some bounce when they fall – there’s a perfect grass with a shock pad layer underneath. If you want your own putting green – yes, there’s a grass for you too.
6. There are pricing options for everyone
There is also a product to fit just about every pocket and you can lay it yourself to help save on the cost. But you do get what you pay for – the very realistic stuff is top of the range and will cost accordingly. And at the other extreme, there are plenty of very cheap imports coming in to take advantage of this growing market.
If you lay it yourself there’s plenty of advice on the suppliers’ websites to help. You may need to lay down sand or rubber crumb before you install it so the surface is beautifully smooth. Like real grass turf, if the fake lawn is laid on an uneven surface it will always be wobbly – better to get it right the first time. It’s also really important to make sure the drainage is good. The grass is permeable but the water which runs through will need somewhere to go or it will pool.