The Ultimate Guide To Artificial Grass

Cutting grass is one of the most tedious outdoor tasks to perform, it’s futile in winter and occurs too often in summer. If you agree and are looking for an alternative to cutting grass as well as a whole bunch of other garden benefits, you’ve come to the right place.

This guide will show you everything you need to know about artificial grass – when it was first used, the large range of uses it has, how it’s installed, and the all-important benefits. You’ll also be able to take a look at some real life examples of how artificial can transform a garden.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, read on and discover how artificial grass can be your garden’s saviour – plus more.

The Roots Of Artificial Grass
A Journey Back In Time

Artificial (or synthetic) grass is far more common than it once was, it’s now found in many sporting stadiums as well as domestic back gardens. But, it has only become this popular in recent years, before the 1950s artificial grass was unheard of.

So, what is the history behind artificial grass?

The earliest recorded installation of artificial grass was in the mid-sixties, where it gained substantial attention after being used in the Astrodome in Houston, Texas.

The Astrodome was the world’s first domed stadium, and with this, it needed to be maintained differently. Initially, the field of the Astrodome was covered in natural grass just like all the rest of them.

This natural grass obviously had to be treated properly to ensure the best possible playing surface for the players. This meant the grass needed to be nice and green which meant it needed sunlight, so the Astrodome was built with a transparent roof.

However, the sun’s light would reflect off the roof and frequently end up distracting the players trying to catch fly balls. Therefore, to solve this problem, the roof was painted – and that meant the grass could no longer receive sunlight to stay healthy.

Consequently, the stadium owners and engineers decided to replace their natural grass with synthetic playing grass – a historical moment in sports.

The surface was installed in the baseball season of 1966.

A new era was born.

A Timeline Of Artificial Grass

1950s:

The Ford Foundation studied ways to improve the physical fitness of young people. Found that rural folks were more active and fit than urban folks.

Late 1950s:

A subsidiary of Monsanto Industries, The Chemstrand Company, were developing new fibres for carpets. It was then suggested that they created the perfect urban playing surface – mixing the Ford studies with the Chemstand fibre development.

1962 – 1966:

The Creative Products Group, part of Chemstrand’s research organisation, worked on creating the surface. The surface was tested for foot traction and cushioning, weather drainage, flammability, and wear resistance.

1964:

The Creative Products Group installed an artificial turf called Chemgrass at a school in Rhode Island. This was the first large-scale installation of a synthetic turf.

1965:

The Astrodome is built in Houston, Texas. The first domed stadium.

1966:

The Houston Astros’ baseball season begins on a chemgrass surface now renamed Astroturf at the Astrodome.

Autumn 1966:

The Houston Oilers’ AFL football season begins on more than 125,000 square feet of Astroturf.

1967:

Indiana State University Stadium becomes the first outdoor stadium with Astroturf.

1967:

Astroturf patented – a patent for ‘monofilament ribbon file product’ was issued to Wright and Faria, of Monsanto Industries.

1981:

Queens Park Rangers, an English league football team, was the first association football club to adopt artificial grass.

1986:

Astroturf Industries, Inc. was formed.

1994:

Astroturf Industries, Inc. bought by Southwest Recreational Industries.

The world of sports construction was transformed with artificial grass. Soon after the media explosion in Houston at the Astrodome, other sports such as Baseball, Field Hockey, American Football, and Football started using the new surface.

And since then, artificial grass has expanded even further.

The Future Of Grass
Why Is It So Popular?

You can now find artificial grass everywhere! Whether it’s in back gardens, on balconies, used for a children’s play areas, or even on a roof, artificial grass is the perfect surface to use.

Ever since the Astrodome in 1966, artificial grass has done nothing but become more popular. First, it was indoor sports stadiums, then outdoor stadiums, then back gardens, and the list goes on.

At first, you may try to work out why artificial grass is so popular worldwide – the answers, though, make it obvious.

Easy To Maintain

It’s summer, it’s the weekend, the sun is shining, and the weather is nice, you want to be spending your time chilling out in the sun – NOT mowing your lawn.

In the warmer seasons, you have to mow your lawn at least once every 2 weeks, you also have to water the grass to make sure it stays lovely and green.

Or do you?

With artificial grass you can forget about mowing or watering the lawn – those days are OVER. Your perfectly green grass will be the same length all through the summer, and you don’t need to do anything! This means you can spend more time enjoying the sun instead of working in it.

Artificial grass is the perfect investment for your holiday home. It will save you time and money.

You no longer need to pay someone to cut your holiday home's grass when you're not there. Instead, the garden will be of perfect length and look beautifully green all year round - at no cost at all.

In addition, dissimilar to natural grass, pesticides, fertilisers, herbicides and fungicides are not needed with artificial grass. This is because insects will stay away from your garden as they cannot live in the conditions provided. Resultantly, having artificial grass helps the environment.

All Weather

Artificial grass lasts up to 20 years and can sometimes exceed that duration, and guess what – it stays green all the way through.

Regardless of the weather or what time of year it is, your artificial grass will always be green, and this is a massive benefit for parents and pet owners. The garden will look a lot better than natural grass in the colder seasons and perform better too!

When it’s raining, it’s dangerous for children to play on natural grass. There are countless possibilities for injury – slipping on wet grass, or getting mud in the eye are just two example – but these problems are solved with artificial grass.

Not only is there no mud with artificial grass, but the fibres have been designed for optimum traction meaning it’s perfectly suitable in wet conditions. Therefore, even in the pouring rain your children can go outside and play in the garden.

Reduced Risk Of Injury

As the natural ground gets wetter, the possibility of injury increases. Potholes are one of the main reasons for this, stumbling into them can cause a number of different injuries, a twisted ankle as just one example.

Pot holes are caused by the expansion and contraction of water after it’s been absorbed by the ground – when water freezes, it expands.

Although artificial grass absorbs water similarly to natural grass, what’s underneath it is different. Under artificial grass is a thick layer of infill – usually sand (or crumbed rubber) – which absorbs the water further, preventing the ground from collapsing on itself to make a pothole.

Believe it or not, but mud is another hazard you can avoid by having artificial grass. Not only can you quite easily slip over on wet mud and injure yourself, but it can also easily find itself flying into your eye if you’re not careful. This problem, however, is solved with artificial grass as all the mud in your garden will be removed when it’s installed.

Less Messy

Mud in natural grass can cause injury to you and your children, but there is a more obvious problem with mud – the mess it makes.

Is your child crazy about football? Whether it’s hot, cold, wet, or dry, all they want to do is go outside and play football. As a parent, it’s quite easy to deal with your child’s boots/trainers and clothes after they’ve played football in hot, cold, or dry conditions, but it’s more difficult after wet weather.

Football boots and clothes can be caked in mud within minutes on natural grass, and this is a nightmare. But on artificial grass, the result is far less stressful. You won’t need to worry about mud as there won’t be any outside, this means when your child finally comes back inside there will be nothing to clean up.

Similarly, your pets can happily go outside in any weather without you having to worry about muddy paws when they return inside.

Also, due to its clever absorption process, artificial grass will act just like natural grass in regards to your pets ‘doing their business’.

The Installation Process
How To Lay Artificial Grass

Artificial grass is a unique material, and with this, there is a particular way to install it. Although it is possible to do it yourself, we would always recommend for a professional to lay your grass as the material is highly expensive and incorrectly laying it could reduce its lifespan and possibly damage the grass.

Laying artificial grass effectively involves two main things: knowledge and experience. As experience can only come with time, we can only offer you the method used by the Fresh Lawns team to lay this beautiful material:

Firstly, no matter whether we’re replacing a concrete patio, natural grass, or anything in between, we always remove the current surface and dig up the ground so only bare mud is visible.

Then, we border the area with a treated timber frame, this allows us to contain the materials we use for the new ground and helps us later on in the process.

Next, the border is filled with type one crushed concrete to ensure the base is extremely firm. To solidify the ground further, we use a whacker plate which compacts the concrete and flattens it out.

For absorption and a smooth finish, we skim a thin layer of sand across the top of the concrete.

A weed membrane is laid across the top of the layer of sand to prevent weeds and other plants from sprouting through the bottom of the grass.

The next step is rolling out the artificial grass. The rolls are four meters wide, so if the surface is wider than four meters, we use a strong joining tape and adhesive to join two or more rolls together.

The grass is pinned down to the timber frame that borders the surface area. There is a 100mm gap between each pin.

Finally, the grass is thoroughly brushed to remove dirt and dust, and the artificial grass installation process is complete.

Uses
More Than Just Your Garden

Although it was initially introduced to enhance sports performances in stadiums, one of the most common uses for artificial grass, nowadays, is in front and back gardens. But, there are more uses than you might expect for this synthetic material.

Yes, artificial grass is the perfect material for gardens and stadiums, but it is also the perfect material for many other situations.

Where else can you use artificial grass?

Balconies

If you live in a block of flats or your house has a balcony, laying artificial grass on it could be a brilliant idea. Let’s face it, concrete is boring. Instead, spice up your balcony with an attractive layer of artificial grass to cover it.

Fake grass is the better version of natural grass - anything natural grass can do, artificial grass can do too. If you’re wondering whether you can put your furniture on the grass, you needn’t worry, just treat your artificial grass as you would normal grass.

Patios and Pathways

Patios and pathways are outdoor living spaces, usually joining your house and garden together. Pathways and patios are commonly made of a hard surfacing; made of concrete, gravel, or other materials.

As patios, especially, are used intensively for dining, relaxation, and gathering with family and friends, artificial grass is the perfect material for them to create a friendly and relaxed ambiance.

Caravans

Campervans and caravans are another unusual, but perfect, candidate for artificial grass. Most campervan or caravan owners spend lots of time outside, they could be hiking, visiting country parks, or at a festival, but they will often return with muddy shoes and clothes.

Therefore, being able to remove the muddy floor, wash it down, wipe off the mud, and then return it back to its original position as good as new is a caravan owner’s dream!

Staircases – Indoor and Outdoor

Due to its extremely high versatility, artificial grass can even be the material used for your staircase! It’s comfortable enough to be used on your inside staircase and durable enough to be used on the outside one.

Staircases usually take on a high amount of traffic, because of this they need to be hardwearing. Luckily, artificial grass is a very hard wearing material and will easily withstand high levels of traffic for a number of years.

Child’s Play Area

Mud, hard surfaces, and overgrown lawns can hinder both parent and child enjoyment in playing areas. The summer months present the perfect environment for children to play outside but the weather hardens surfaces and increases grass growth exponentially.

With artificial grass, play areas will be of perfect length all through the summer, and the surface will never be too hard, this is due to the rubbery layer underneath the grass. Artificial grass, therefore, is the ideal alternative to any other play area surfaces; it’s extremely tough, durable, and safe.

Other

A few extra uses for artificial grass include:

  • Roof gardens
  • Surrounding a swimming pool
  • Kennels and other pet friendly areas
  • Conservatories
  • Garages
  • Shopping centres
  • Showrooms and exhibition spaces
  • Covering furniture

Due to its amazing versatility, it would take a lifetime to mention every single use for artificial grass. It has been tailor made to cater for a whole range of different situations, whether it’s to replace carpet, make the floor more comfortable, or increase safety, artificial grass is the ultimate choice.

Inspiration
Our Work

Conclusion
Finishing Up

Fundamentally, natural grass and artificial grass serve the same purpose – to be walked and played on. But, where visually they are similar, the benefits and uses of artificial grass clearly outweigh natural grass.

Natural grass requires a high level of maintenance – watering, cutting, pesticide application, etc. – you can forget about these things with artificial grass.

Instead, all you’ll have to worry about is when you’ll be using it next!

It’s durability, versatility, high level of safety, and cleanliness makes it a clear winner when up against natural grass.

Whether you want to cover your whole garden in artificial grass, need your outdoor staircase to look more appealing, or need a suitable entrance for your frequently muddy boots, artificial grass has got you covered.

Visit fresh-lawns.co.uk today and turn your garden into an all-year, all-weather area of fun and leisure.