Artificial Grass Lawns: What You Need To Know Before You Consider This Option
The pros, the cons and what you need to know before you install artificial grass lawns or synthetic turf.
ARTIFICIAL GRASS IS COMPLETELY WATERWISE!
This is why we at Cape Contours Landscape Solutions are loving artificial grass lawns right now! If you have a new area of lawn you want to be done, then fake grass is well worth considering. Especially in light of our water restrictions in the Cape. Artificial grass is perfect for small areas of your garden that are problematic due to shade. What’s more, you can use it on balconies, walls, and rooftops, or for sporting and playground surfaces. It is a permeable material too, which means water can drain freely into the earth below it. This makes it more waterwise. Moreover, it is soft, durable and safe for kids to play on and keeps your garden looking neat year-round.
A professional installer should do the installation, as joining the edges and the infill is not as easy as it looks.
Artificial Grass CAN BE A LOT MORE EXPENSIVE THAN REAL GRASS TO INSTALL.
That’s the downside, but the upside is that it’s a lifelong once-off investment. Turf types differ in price depending on their designed purpose. It is best to consult a specialist installer to find out what artificial grass types will suit the function of your area. The turf material itself goes up in price the more realistic it looks and the plusher its pile height. The labour to put it in is quite intensive too, adding to the overall cost. Especially if you need to remove an area of real grass or paving before you install it. But the manufacturers are adding more artificial grass types as the demand increases. What’s more, most of them are now very realistic looking, with strands of brown and yellow grass blades. And this makes them look just like the real thing.
Can you see the difference? Hardly!
Artificial Grass is ALMOST MAINTENANCE-FREE.
The best pro about it is that it’s almost maintenance-free! Not at all like real grass which although lovely, natural and cool to walk on, requires a lot of watering, feeding, mowing and care on a monthly basis. The most you will need to do with your artificial grass lawn is sweep it free of leaves and sand and wash off any dog urine if it becomes a bit smelly. You would of course also need to pick up the dog poos and wash these areas if they are sticky. Especially if you have young kids.
Artificial Grass CAN BECOME QUITE HOT TO THE TOUCH IN FULL SUN.
Like paving and other synthetic/man-made plastic materials, fake grass heats up in the sun. It is UV protected and comes with a product and installation guarantee/warrantee for up to 10 years. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about it fading and breaking, but be aware that it can become very hot to the touch and underfoot. Unshaded areas of artificial grass can be too hot for kids to play on so definitely consider adding in shade by way of trees or umbrellas and shade sails over areas of new fake turf. Choose a longer pile closer to 50cm in height to make for cooler temperatures underfoot.
Great for a shady back garden area where the kids can play safely.
It ‘GROWS’ UNDER TREES.
Artificial grass is completely shade tolerant! No more worrying about those bare areas under the trees. You can even combine it with areas of real grass in very large gardens and install it under trees to give a very realistic look.
AN EXPERT SHOULD DO THE Artificial Grass INSTALLATION.
Generally, supplier methods for installing it are similar. Experts need to install it over a free-draining silica or fine aggregate infill and fix it with epoxy glue to a hard concrete edge, just below the surface finish level. The turf itself has lots of tiny drainage holes to allow rain and water to wash through it. But professionals have to install and compact the aggregate properly to prevent depressions and holes from forming below the drainage holes.
Also, because the turf is sold in fixed widths on rolls, one also has to join areas together carefully, and this is where the expertise is needed! When it is used as a playground surface, it becomes necessary to add a fine rubber ‘grit’ to the pile to make the surface more bouncy and shock absorbing. This helps to prevent hard falls. This is not needed in garden environments but you add it to areas under your jungle gym.
A lovely lush looking lawn that needs no mowing or watering!
INFILL VS NON-INFILL TYPES.
You can also get what we call Non-infill types of artificial grass. These are generally turf types that are more like a typical carpet in pile height – ie very thin from 5mm to about 20mm thick. This type is laid on existing indoor and outdoor hard surfaces. We recommend these for balconies or office courtyard areas, change rooms, sports facilities, cricket pitches etc. They do not require the drainage and plushness of imitating real grass areas.