25 Nov Pros and Cons of Installing Artificial Grass
The progress made in artificial grass techniques and technology is making it a viable choice for both residential and more corporate settings. From a basic maintenance-free lawn in a residential garden to sports pitches that can be used year-round with hardly any care required, artificial grass appears to offer the ideal solution.
There are advantages and disadvantages to consider before pulling up your lawn and installing an artificial lawn.
Artificial grass: Pros
Low maintenance – maybe artificial grass’s biggest trump card; the idea of saying goodbye to weeding, mowing, re-seeding, re-turfing, fertilising, watering and general lawn care is a powerful reason for many to switch.
Low maintenance can be a big attraction for landlords and holiday home owners. They don’t have to worry about keeping on top of the lawn care and relying on their tenants (in the case of private lettings) to mow the lawn and deal with or report other lawn-related issues.
Saves ongoing costs – it’s not just the time saving, it’s also a big money saver on grass care products, such as fertilisers and weed killer. Costs incurred by those paying someone to come and tend their lawn would also cease – with lawn care specialists charging around £15 a week, an artificial law will soon pay for itself within a few years.
Ongoing maintenance costs are reduced drastically with artificial surfaces – and any issues are usually taken care of with a guarantee from most reputable installers. These cost savings help offset the higher initial price of installing artificial grass compared to laying turf or seeding.
Environmental – resource use and pollution are vastly reduced. No water is required whereas, grass can swallow huge amounts per year – especially during dry spells when sprinklers are in use. It’s estimated around a third of domestic water use is related to lawns and garden watering.
Pollution is another plus; no noise pollution and exhaust emissions from petrol-powered lawn mowers, and no risk of chemicals entering the drains and watercourses from fertilisers.
Some of these effects can be minimised, however:
- Manual mowing – using an unpowered mower, although perhaps only for smaller lawns not allowed to grow too high between cuts
- Recycle water – using water butts to collect rainwater and re-purpose water used for other domestic purposes such as bathwater and food preparation
- Organic fertilisers – can minimise the drainage pollution risk
Increased use – Artificial grass can be used more often than the traditional surface. Where natural grass may be out of action after heavy rainfall, an artificial surface recovers much sooner as water drains away swiftly (if it’s installed properly). The surface is immediately suitable for use by children having a play, the dog having a run around and so forth.
Low wear – while traditional grass can be damaged through excessive or inappropriate use (for example, playing a sport on it while it’s still wet through after heavy rain), artificial grass is better able to stand up to vigorous use.
Pets and pools – ideal environments with pets such as dogs; it’s a more sterile surface and you can say goodbye to muddy dog paws. If there is a paddling pool used occasionally or a swimming pool, transferring grass clippings and dirt into the water is no longer a concern.
Artificial grass: Cons
Initial cost – artificial grass is considerably more expensive to install than turfing or seeding for natural grass.
As explained above though, these costs would be offset over time due to the maintenance costs associated with grass care. There’s also the likelihood of increased utility bills such as maybe electricity used for mowers and the water used by sprinklers and hosepipes.
The ‘real grass’ experience – a largely subjective one, but the ‘connection with nature’ idea of real grass is a significant pull for some. There’s something satisfying about a newly-mown lawn and the smell of freshly cut grass.
Heat – artificial grass can become hot in the summer, so a degree of care needs to be taken walking across it barefoot or pet access during prolonged periods of high temperatures.
Environmental – while artificial grass scores when it comes to ongoing environmental benefits as discussed earlier, nevertheless it would have been made using chemicals in the first place.
It will also need disposing of eventually when it finally wears out – although lifespans of 25-plus years are possible.
The benefits of artificial grass clearly outweigh the disadvantages, but for some the idea of a ‘natural’ surface still exerts a particular pull. It’s fair to say that with the improvements in the technology and techniques, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between artificial grass and the real thing.