Artificial grass is a popular alternative to real, natural grass, thanks to its easy to maintain nature and the way it never requires weeding or mowing, remaining pristine and perfect with minimal maintenance required. Working out how to buy artificial grass and how to look after it once you’ve got it set up, though, can be confusing, as most lawn care guides focus on natural real grass, which requires completely different approaches to maintenance and installation.
Here at Best of Machinery, we’ve put together a complete guide to artificial grass, giving you a one-stop shop for everything to do with artificial grass. We’ll walk you through everything from why you might want artificial grass, through how to buy and install artificial grass in your garden, all the way to how to maintain your artificial grass and keep it looking great at all times once you’ve installed it.
What is Artificial Grass?
Artificial grass is a synthetic alternative to grass, made from a mat of synthetic fibers woven together to imitate the look of natural, real grass lawns. This substance is entirely made from synthetic materials and was invented by Monsanto Industries in the 1960s.
Artificial grass has been developed and advanced significantly in the decades since its invention, and is now surprisingly hard to distinguish from real grass; while you might think of artificial grass as being the rough, plastic surface of as the old fashioned astroturf for sports pitches, but modern artificial grass comes in a range of naturalistic shades of green and a soft surface that feels very close to the texture of real grass.
Cheap artificial grass wears out quickly and looks unconvincing, but if you’re willing to put in the money and effort to ensure you’re getting a high-quality artificial lawn, you can buy something that looks and feels almost indistinguishable from real grass, giving you a great looking lawn that doesn’t require much maintenance at all.
Why Choose Artificial Grass?
Why would you want to buy artificial grass instead of real, natural grass? Well, there are a number of reasons that you might want to consider when you’re thinking about what sort of lawn you want to buy. Natural grass has its advantages, but it also has some significant disadvantages too!
One of the biggest reasons that you might want to buy an artificial grass lawn is maintenance time. On average, most people with lawns spend a full 7 weeks of their lives mowing the lawn. That’s almost 2 months of your life spent just mowing the grass (about 19 hours every year)! Artificial grass doesn’t need mowing, so you can save an enormous amount of maintenance time every single year.
In addition to this, lawnmowers are environmentally hazardous. Running a gas-powered lawnmower for a single hour is a close equivalent to a full 340 miles of car driving emissions! A day of running a gas lawnmower produces 88 lbs of carbon dioxide, a substantial amount! Although, of course, the environmental benefits of a natural grass lawn itself are still worth remembering; grass is a valuable part of the natural ecosystem.
Other reasons to want artificial grass include health and water costs; millions of people worldwide suffer from hay fever, and almost all cases of hay fever are caused by an allergy to the pollen produced by grass. If you suffer from hay fever, artificial grass can be a great way to have a smart looking lawn without causing distress and sneezing every summer. Also, artificial grass does not need to be watered, which can save you a massive amount on your water bills every year compared to the amount required for maintaining a natural grass lawn!
How to Buy the Best Artificial Grass?
Picking out the right type of artificial grass for your needs is a vital part of buying an artificial grass lawn. You’re going to want to make sure you’re purchasing a natural looking artificial grass lawn that is well suited to your particular needs: the type of grass you want for a decorative lawn is different to the kind you might want for a golfing lawn or for somewhere for your kids to play football. Do you have pets? Because that’s a consideration to bear in mind too!
Different types of artificial grass have different properties worth considering when you’re looking to buy new artificial grass. Some types of artificial grass are designed to be springy and soft, giving a luxurious look and a comfortable surface for walking on, while others will be firmer and stiffer, providing a better surface for using as a putting green.
As such, it’s important to make sure you spend some time touching the various types of grass and thinking about your planned purpose. If you’re planning on buying artificial grass online rather than in a store, see if you can get some samples before you make your big decision!
Colors are an important consideration, too. Artificial grass that is a single shade of green looks unnatural, as real grass leaves come in a wide range of different shades of greens and browns. As such, finding a type of artificial grass that includes fibers in different colors is essential if you want a natural looking artificial grass lawn.
You should also consider what the surface you’re going to be applying the artificial grass to looks like. Is your lawn flat and smooth, or set on an incline? Some types of artificial grass feature sand around the base of the fibers, which helps the grass to stand upright and look more natural.
This type is great for a flat lawn, but if you apply it to a sloping surface, then the sand will gradually slide downhill, leaving your lawn unstable and poorly balanced. Make sure you buy the right type of artificial grass for your particular lawn.
How to Install Artificial Grass?
If you don’t want to worry about the effort of installing artificial grass on your lawn, you can easily find a professional to install your grass for you. If you’re happy to put in a bit of work, though, artificial grass is not too difficult to install and can be easily set up by anyone with a bit of DIY ability and confidence, no matter how much or how little experience you already have with artificial grass.
The first step you’ll want to take when you’re installing artificial grass is measuring the area. You’ll want to ensure that you buy the right amount of artificial grass, as having too little is obviously a problem, and having too much is an expensive waste of money and requires it to be cut to size, taking more time and effort than is ideal.
Then, remove your existing lawn. Dig up the grass that’s already there and remove about two inches of soil below to ensure you get rid of as much of the root network as possible. This is a difficult and tiring task, so leave lots of time and make sure you take breaks. After that, replace the grass with a layer of sand about a quarter of an inch deep to give a smooth and stable base for your new artificial grass to rest on.
The next step is to roll out the artificial grass. Make sure the grass all runs in the same direction at this stage to avoid having to turn sheets of grass around later! Spread it out on the lawn area and leave it for 24 hours or so to allow it to relax and ensure that any creases in the material have fallen out, leaving it as smooth as possible. After that, you’ll want to stretch out the grass to ensure that it’s as flat as it can possibly be, and trim it to fit the area as precisely as possible.
Now it’s time to join the pieces together into a smooth looking lawn. Fold up the edges of the pieces you’re trying to join, and position joining tape under the edges. Apply adhesive to the tape in a zig-zag pattern, using about a cartridge of adhesive for every nine or ten feet of tape. Then, press the grass down into the adhesive, and apply a weight to the top of it to make sure it’s all held together tightly until the adhesive is fully cured.
Once it’s all glued together, nail the edges into place to hold it all firmly in place. Finally, apply sand to the surface and brush it in immediately, brushing against the direction of the carpet to encourage the grass to stand upright on its own.
How to Maintain Artificial Grass?
Maintaining artificial grass is far easier than maintaining a natural lawn of real grass, as it doesn’t need watering, mowing, fertilizing or weeding. All you need to do is sweep off debris with a stiff broom on a regular basis, as dirt and leaves can leave your lawn looking messy and encourage the growth of moss on your artificial grass.
If you want to clean your artificial grass more deeply, such as if you have pets leaving a mess on the lawn, simply mixing warm water with environmentally friendly detergent and pouring that over the artificial grass should be more than enough to keep your artificial grass clean, hygienic, and looking great at all times.
One of the things that can happen to your artificial grass is the growth of moss and algae, particularly in areas of your lawn that are damp or shaded. You can easily get rid of moss and algae and prevent more from growing by spraying environmentally friendly algae killers over the affected areas of the grass.
Make sure you only use natural and environmentally friendly options even on artificial grass, however, as it can still run off and leach into the ground and minimizing the environmental impact of your weed killers is important. Spray lightly when you spot traces of algae or moss and repeat every three months.
If you’re sick of mowing the lawn and want something easier to look after, artificial grass is a great choice. Easy to maintain and long lasting, artificial grass can save you a great deal of time and effort, simplifying your life while still allowing you to have a great looking lawn.
With our guide above, you can have a great understanding of what you need to think about when you’re looking to buy artificial grass and can confidently look after your new artificial lawn without needing to look up any other guides or tips.