If You’re Fed Up Trying to Keep Your Grass Looking Good Then it’s Time To Go Faux and Swap it For ArtificIal Turf
By e-bye lawn mower! Farewell strimmer! Good riddance grass seed! If you want a low-effort, lush and green lawn all year-round – not to mention more space in your shed without all that stuff – then it’s high time you considered going faux. Swapping your trad grass lawn, however big or small, for an artificial one will save hours on maintenance, and the latest turfs offer a great look for an increasingly affordable price. If the last time you saw a strip of faux grass was a decade ago, when it still looked like AstroTurf that might just glow in the dark, think again. Artificial lawn manufacturers are now producing such life-like real grass alternatives, that you’d be hard-pressed to notice the difference.
A perfect lawn all year-round that will look amazing for at least ten years? What are you waiting for?
As our lives get ever busier, we’re all looking for ways to make our downtime last that bit longer. This includes when and how we use our gardens, and fake turf means less time mowing and more time enjoying. Just think of never having your grass wave in the breeze, whispering ‘mow me’, when all you want to do is put your feet up and enjoy an al fresco cocktail or two. Imagine no bald patches in summer and no mud baths in winter. Not only that, the better drainage that comes with an artificial lawn means you won’t have to worry about mud being tracked into the house after a downpour. Plus, it dries super-quick, so if you drop the washing off the line it won’t end up dirty and wet and need washing again! If you’re fed up trying to keep your grass looking good, then it’s time to.
Artificial grass is available in lots of options including shades from light green to deeper, more luxuriant shades with a mix of different tones. You can choose the thickness, weight and pile height, just like an indoor carpet. It’s available in rolls of 2m or 4m widths and as tiles, or you can go bespoke and get it cut to size. Most faux grass options consist of three or four synthetic layers: a drainage layer, a multi-layered backing usually made from latex or polyurethane, the ‘thatch’ made from polypropylene and the grass ‘blades’ made from a mix of nylon and polyethylene. Some types also have a granular infill that is added to fill in the area between the blades of grass, weighing it down and making it look more realistic.
The type of backing, thatch and mix of blades you choose will dictate the finished look and feel (see panel below). Your choice will also be affected by the type of soil or surface you’ll be laying the faux turf onto, what you’ll be using the lawn for, whether you have pets and what your budget is. But all this choice means you’ll be able to lay a lawn that caters for the specific needs of your plot and how you like to use it. For example, if you tend to get lots of muddy patches, you can opt for faux grass with extra drainage holes. If you like lying on your lawn on hot summer days, you can choose super-soft blades that feel just like the real thing.
GOT PETS? NO PROBLEM!
The cheapest, most affordable turfs tend to be ones backed with latex, which is strong and long-lasting. However, if you’ve got pets who wee in the garden, this layer will absorb urine and the harmfu ammonia it produces. There are specific artificial grass cleaners that will help to get rid of urine (try Kg Turf Artificial Grass Cleaner, £19.99/1L lawnworld.co.uk), but it could work out cheaper in the long run to invest in pet-friendly turf. This has a layer of polyurethane, meaning that it doesn’t absorb liquids – it will still need a regular hose-down, but those hygiene and odour issues won’t be a problem.
The original artificial grass was created in the 1960s in the USA for the Houston Astrodome sports stadium and was called AstroTurf after the stadium’s name. Roll on many decades and the advancements in technology are amazing. Which do you want for your modern garden? No-fade: Unlike real grass that changes olour dependent on weather, situation and aintenance, faux has built-in UV protectors. Odour-resistant: For a pet-friendly faux wn, choose turf with a polyurethane backing.
Multi-colour ‘blades’ of grass: Faux or real? our neighbours will never know the difference you choose a high-end option that mixes ree or four different coloured blades. Grass height: You can choose how long ou’d like your faux grass to be; the longer it is, e more lush it will look, resembling real grass st before it needs to be mowed. Pile density: This refers to how many grass lades’ are sown into the backing fabric – the ore there are, the more luxuriant it will look.
The size of the area plus your DIY skills, or lack of them! will help you decide whether to give it a go yourself or call in professional installers. The smaller the area, and the better the soil or hard surface, the easier it will be. Be sure to factor in the cost of equipment needed, as well as skip hire to get rid of your old turf. Here’s what’s involved: Remove all the turf. For a small patch and if your back is up to it, then a spade and fork will do the job, otherwise hire a turf cutter to make the job easier and quicker. Remove a depth of 35-40mm. Lay weed control fabric over the entire area and fix in place using fabric pegs. Create the sub-base using a layer of sand, granite chippings or other aggregate mix to 35mm thick and level out. Hiring a compactor will make this job easier. Lay another layer of weed control fabric on top and fix in place using more pegs. Roll out the artificial grass, overlapping the edges of the area. Make sure the grass rolls are laid in the same direction and that the blades of grass all point the same way. Lay the rolls directly next to each other with no blades caught in-between. Use a craft knife to trim around the edges. To fix the lengths together, lift up the edges and spread jointing tape along the gap, then add adhesive to the tape and push the edges back into place.
Roll out the green carpet… These will look great on your outdoor dining table and match your new lawn perfectly. Artificial Grass Coaster, £7.95/6 evergreendirect.co.uk So, you’ve got a good idea of what type of turf will work best in your garden. The next step in your search for the perfect product is to narrow down which pile length and blade density you’d prefer, from short and neat to longer and lusher. The best way to do this is to spend an afternoon visiting garden centres and DIY superstores. Many carpet showrooms now stock a range of faux grass, and search online to see if any artificial turf manufacturers have a showroom near you. Next, send off for plenty of free samples – most manufacturers and suppliers offer these.
Pop a label on the back of each, or tape on a piece of paper, and write on the manufacturer, grass name and price per square metre. Lay a mosaic of samples in your garden on a dry day and put them to the test! First of all, give them marks for appearance. Rate the samples not just on how they look when you’re standing next to them, but how they look when you’re lying down, when viewed from inside the house and from above through a bedroom window. Next, mark them for feel – both with your hands and bare feet. Note not just how soft the blades feel, but how much cushioning there is underfoot. Next, fake a shower of rain with the hosepipe and run through your tests again when the samples are wet. Give them a good soak, and rate on how quickly the water drains through them. Finally, invite some friends round and ask them to order the grasses from which they think is the cheapest to the most expensive – you might be surprised how a cheaper turf fares against a higher-priced alternative.
How to look after your faux lawn The trick to keeping it looking lovely and lush is to clean little and often rather than letting dirt and debris build up. For pet owners, use a poop scoop and doggy bag, then rinse the area using a watering can or hose. Hose the whole lawn once a week, and give it a wash using artificial grass cleaner every couple of weeks. If you’ve got lots of overhanging trees or deciduous shrubs, use a leaf blower to clear the lawn when needed. Give the turf a brush or use an artificial grass rake to stop the blades matting, but don’t use your indoor vacuum on it: not only will it damage the grass, but your Dyson won’t be very happy either!
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