I remember walking past an end-of-terrace house once and peeking over the wall to have a look at the garden…a habit I’ve yet to shake. I was instantly astounded at the quality of the lawn. I’d just that week watched Gardener’s World and they had interviewed a chap who supposedly had one of the best lawns in the country. This was markedly better!
Then, looking closer, I realized that it wasn’t grass at all. At least not of the traditional type…
Though I was impressed at the quality of the product in this case, I’m still not a huge fan of artificial grass. That said, I can understand it’s role – especially in those small-space gardens where it can act as a cover for ugly concrete. And, as my little story illustrates, it can look like the real thing. Until closer inspection, at least.
In this concise guide we’ve chosen three inexpensive and high-quality grasses available from Amazon, reviews of which are included alongside some more general advice below. Picking the best artificial grass, whatever your situation, isn’t that complicated so this article should be enough to get you started – unless you’re a stadium groundskeeper that is, in which case it probably won’t be of much use.
Can I Buy Online?
With Amazon’s superb refund policy, there’s no reason not to consider having a sample delivered. If you’re only covering a small space, as I imagine those gardening in a small space are, then this might be the easiest way. After some research we found the following three products to be particularly well-made…
1. Artificial Display Grass – $/$$$
If your grass is just for display purposes, for placing pots or ornaments on, then this inexpensive option may well be your best bet. Reviewers cite good water resistance (so there’s no trouble from run-off when watering pots) and a high degree of weather durability.
Many use it for balcony and container gardening purposes, so you will be in good company. Typical “green grocer” grass (my grandfather used to run a fruit and veg stall so I’ve got particularly good memories on that count).
2. “Oslo” Artificial Grass – $$/$$$
This is a high-quality grass that’s designed to be as functional as a traditional lawn. You can buy it in a range of sizes and it’s perfectly suitable for self-installation over a larger space. It’s 35mm thick and particularly hard wearing.
The grass is also UV protected, so there won’t be any unnecessary “sun fading”. I think the design, with different colours of blades is a nice addition that adds to the realism of the “pile”. It has a latex backing with drainage holes, doesn’t require sand granules to be spread over it to sustain shape, and is fully child and animal safe (click on the photoraph for specific information).
3. Casa Pura Artificial Grass – $/$$$
Another high-grade grass that has more of a “clipped” feel: where the “Oslo” grass is 35mm long this is only 22mm. If you’re in the market for a shorter grass, with a slightly greener look (see the picture), then this may be the one to go with. The addition of off-colour blades as with the example above, helps in giving the grass a more natural feel.
It’s fully draining, UV protected and doesn’t require any sand. Perfect for self-installation and available in a huge variety of measurements.
Just What is Artificial Grass Made Of?
There are usually three components to artificial turf. Much like a carpet, there is a resilient lower layer, often made from latex, some type of “foam” material in the middle to provide cushioning, and the actual grass blades, made from a plastic such as nylon or polypropylene. Drainage holes will also be incorporated into the grass.
The cost of artificial grass is anywhere from £15 – to £30/sq. metre. Below £15 you’re really looking at lower quality display grass – of the type used by greengrocers – that often isn’t well designed for heavy footfall.
Is It Difficult to Lay?
Short answer: not really. It’s lain much in the same way as traditional turf. The main concern is in having a flat and well-draining surface on which to place it. Small spaces are the obvious choice for a DIY approach but if you’re covering a larger area there are obvious benefits to paying a professional to do the job. Nonetheless, laying yourself is completely viable. The cost of getting it wrong isn’t likely to be severe and it’s a relatively simple process – most brands advertise as being suitable for self-laying.
In the case of sizeable gardens, a draining material will be applied to the surface of the soil, a weed membrane applied to the top, and the grass held down by nails. In the case of concrete or paving stones, either glue or heavy objects can be used. Often, sand, which is brushed into the grass to help it remain upright, also provides additional weighting.
Picture credit: Perfect Grass