Artificial grass is one of the most common and popular synthetic surfaces among homeowners.
Artificial turf, also known as fake grass or synthetic lawns, has been used for years in professional sports stadiums and commercial landscaping projects.
But what is artificial grass? Where can you install it? And how does it help to improve your home’s curb appeal?
In this article we answer 19 frequently asked questions about artificial turf—and find out why so many people are switching from real lawns to fake ones!
1.How much does artificial grass cost?
When considering the cost of artificial grass you need to think about both the cost of the grass, the cost of the base and any other work which would need doing.
For artifice grass which is of reasonable quality you will be looking at any where from £10 to £40 per square meter with most good mid range fake turf coming in at £15 – £20.
The base you need for the grass will depend on what you want to use the area for.
For low usage areas it will just be a thin sand base with no edging borders. This will be very cheap for the materials.
For heavier use areas such as gardens with pets or sports areas you will need a much deeper base with a sib base then a sand base. This will likely cost between £15 and £20 per square meter if installed properly.
Then there is the surrounding borders. Artificial grass sits on a sand base so its essential that the outer border is a hard perimeter to stop the sand from spilling out. This can cost anything from £5 to £50 per meter depending on the type of edging you choose.
The final cost to consider is the labour.
If you are a handy DIY type then no worries, just get your shovel, spirit level and Stanley knife and get to work. However if you are getting it professionally installed then labour will likely be the bulk of the cost.
As a rough guide we charge between £70 and £130 per square meter for full supply and installation of artificial grass.
2.How to clean artificial grass
There are various ways to clean artificial grass with the most common being a hose and broom.
This should be done regularly to remove any surface dirt, dust or debris that has accumulated on it. Use a low-pressure spray from your garden hose in order not too disturb the infill material or blades of artificial grass when cleaning.
If you want to speed the process up you can get specialised power brushes and outdoor vacuums which are great for artificial grass and all sorts of other outdoor tasks.
If you are a dog you may need to clean the artificial grass more frequently and use special cleaners to make sure it doesn’t start to smell.
If you end up with weeds in your artificial grass then you will need to apply some weed killer and do some maintenance on the turf to remove the weeds.
3.How is artificial grass installed?
Artificial grass is installed by digging out the area to around 100mm depth, filling this area with coarse and or another base material then laying the grass on top.
The grass needs cut to size, all the joints gluing together with adhesive and the edges fixing down with 4 inch nails.
For heavy usage areas you will need to go down to at least 200mm depth and add a layer of hardcore underneath to create a stable sub base. The edges will also need to be supported by a wooden or plastic lumber frame which the artificial grass screws into.
4.How long will fake grass last?
Most artificial grass is now made from very good quality materials and can last 10 to 20 years before the UV rays, weather and wear take affect and leave it looking tired.
5.Is artificial grass better than real grass?
Both artificial and real grass have their advantages and disadvantages and ultimately what works best depends on you. we prefer real grass as for its environmental benefits.
Artificial grass is less work, available in greater variety and can look nicer overall however its not maintenance free and it is bad for the environment overall.
Artificial grass can also make local drainage worse by increasing the runoff speed of rain water and overloading local drainage systems.
Real grass is much better for the environment, self heals and has a very long lifespan if treated right. It is more work and can need treating and weeding but this can be a therapeutic and rewarding task if you are that way inclined.
6.Is artificial grass flammable?
A worry than many people have is that artificial grass is flammable. Artificial turf itself is non-flammable, but the underlayment of artificial grass can burn if exposed to an open flame for a prolonged period of time.
Artificial turf is a safe, non-toxic alternative to natural grass that doesn’t burn.
It’s made of high quality materials and will only melt if it comes into contact with hot objects like BBQs, fire bowl or fireworks etc – so make sure your BBQ isn’t on the lawn! To be extra cautious you should place them above ground level (e.g., on slabs).
7.Is artificial grass bad for the environment?
Overall the answer to this question is a resounding yes when compared to natural grass.
It create pollution in production, absorbs less water, provides no habitat or food for insects, releases microplastics into the environment and is not recyclable (despite some companies claiming that it is).
All round it could be seen as a negative for the environment and not a good choice for the nature conscious amongst us.
There are some ways that artificial grass is better for the environment that natural grass. It uses less water than natural grass, does not need fertilisers and won’t use the power or fuel required by a lawnmower to keep it in good nick.
8.Is artificial grass permeable?
Yes, artificial grass is permeable. It has an open structure that allows water to pass through it more easily than other surfaces like concrete or tarmac.
This can be great for fast drainage of an area but if your area is prone to flooding this faster draining can make it worse by sending more water to the flooded areas instead of holding it in the earth.
9. Is artificial grass too hot for dogs?
Artificial grass does not get as hot as the pavement or cement on your driveway, but it still warms up quicker than grass. On particularly hot days you may find your pup is more comfortable in the shade and could burn its feet on the hottest areas of the grass.
To keep it cool enough in the summer you may need to spray it down with some water before letting your dog run around on it. Check out this article on the best types of artificial grass for dogs.
10. What is artificial grass made of?
Artificial grass is made from synthetic materials. The three main types are: Polyethylene – which lasts long and feels soft on your skin, polypropylene-which also has a durable feel but harsher than the previous one, nylon–which can be found in many different products such as gold driving mats due to its high tolerance for heat or fire.
Polyethylene is used to make blades for artificial grass. It is also used to make plastic bags and bottles. Polyethylene is in a solid shape and has to be melted down with colours and other special agents.
Polypropylene is processed to be used in a thatch layer which cushions the turf and provides additional support.
11. Where can I buy artificial grass?
Artificial grass can be purchased online, in stores or at most builder merchants.
Artificial turf is sold in 2,4 and sometimes 5m rolls which you can buy as much or as little of as your like.
To avoid wastage its a good idea to plan your artificial grass to fit the size of the rolls available.
You will also need to purchase the base, artificial grass adhesive and nails or pegs to fix down the edges.
12. Do I need to sand artificial grass?
Although the majority of artificial grass products are Non-Infill, some still require sand infill. The sand spread over the surface and brushed in adds weight to the artificial grass and fills any uneven gaps in the turf to give it a flat surface and ensure its stays in place.
We recommend around 6kg of kiln dried sand per m2, this is best installed with a sand hopper and and electric broom.
13. Will artificial grass rot my decking?
If you are thinking of placing artificial grass on your decking you may want to think again.
Artificial grass can lead to moisture damage of the decking and rot it over time. This will be true with composite decking but will likely still speed up the decay of the surface.
The only way you can lay artificial turf on your deck is by using an underlayment, for example a rubber membrane or a wooden flooring material which will protect your deck from any potential water seepage.
Another issue people have with artificial grass over decking is moisture.
Decking dries quickly on its own any will be good to walk on in bare feet in a few hours however artifice grass can take longer to dry especially when the decking beneath is stopping the moisture from soaking through.
Although it is possible and can look quite nice we don’t recommend placing artificial grass on your decking.
14. Will bleach damage artificial grass?
Bleach is the go to cleaning agent for many of us however it can cause a lot of problems when used on fake grass.
Many people have laid down their own lawns and found that bleach has affected their artificial turf causing discolouration, bleaching out the colour so severely they had to replace the surface.
To clean your artificial grass we recommend using a diluted mix of water and white vinegar which will remove stubborn stains without causing any damage to the grass.
15. Will artificial grass settle?
The artificial grass will need a few weeks to fully settle after it is installed. Using a leaf blower, power brush, or garden vac on a regular basis will keep the artificial grass looking fresh and the bristles upright while the settling takes place.
Although compacted, the base will also settle slightly, if lumps start to appear you can brush them out or fill them in with sand infill.
16. Will rabbits eat artificial grass?
Artificial grass can be a great surface for rabbits, its soft, easy to clean and survives outside no problem. It can also stop them digging holes in the garden.
Will they think its food and make themselves sick chowing down on the rabbit equivalent of a plastic slice of toast?
Generally people who let their rabbits run around on artificial grass say that they aren’t interested in it and seem to know the difference. This isn’t to say that your rabbit wont eat it tho!
It could be a good idea to get a sample and place it near your rabbit to see if they are interested. This will save you having to make a choice between your new lawn and the pet rabbit.
17. Will chickens ruin artificial grass?
Artificial grass can be used to stop chickens ruining the grass. People who have tried this generally report that its a success with the chickens ignoring the artificial grass and going to areas which look for tempting to peck and scratch around.
Just beware that your chickens may behave differently so its a good idea to test them with a small patch first to make sure they aren’t tempted by all those tasty plastic blades!
18. What holds artificial grass down?
because artificial grass is laid on a sand base its hard to see how it is held in place. Well there are a few things which stop it moving around like a rug on a wooden floor.
The underside of the grass is a very rough texture which gives it grip and stops it being able to easily slide.
To make this more effective most artificial grass is fairly heavy and weighted down with an additional 6 – 8kg of sand per square meter.
The final factor which helps it stay where you put it is the edge fixings. Because there is no stretch in the artificial grass, as long as the edges hold fast the grass shouldn’t move.
The edges can be held in place with 4 inch nails or purpose made pegs. For grass which need to stand up to greater punishment a wooden frame should be installed and the edges of the grass screwed down to the frame.
19.Is artificial grass more expensive than real grass?
Yes. Artificial grass will come in at between 2 and 4 times the cost of natural grass if you get it installed by a professional. Artificial grass take more time to lay so if you are doing it DIY you can save more.