Artificial grass has benefited from numerous technological innovations since its first appearance in the 1960s as a sports playing surface and its recent popularity in domestic gardens has now outstripped its use as a playing surface for sports venues, which it was originally designed for.Artificial Grass
It wasn’t always this way. Early artificial grass surfaces were stiff and abrasive and had little bounce. But since the 1990’s and 2000’s,new artificial grasses have been developed that mimic the look and feel of real turf in ways never thought possible. Artificial grass is also becoming an increasingly popular choice for modern cutting edge landscapers and more and more athletes have said they prefer it to the real thing.
A Changing Climate
Despite its popularity in much of the US and the Middle East, artificial grass took a long time to take off in Britain. With a lack of rain never really being a problem for British gardens and gardeners, it’s fair to say that a distinctly British love of traditional horticulture was the real hurdle. Fake grass was just not the same as “proper gardening” and getting your hands dirty and so for a long time the British market was slow. But in recent years the stigma associated with artificial grass has well and truly started to shift, as more and more realistic products hit the market.Artificial Grass In Your Garden
With weather patterns across the country becoming more unpredictable and prone to both flooding and drought, the lure of a realistic looking synthetic lawn that does not need watering and won’t get muddy continues to become a more attractive one. Without the need for pesticides, fertilisers or lawnmowers the advantages have for many become too tempting to resist.
One of the problems that dogged fake turf for years was a lack of realism in terms of look, colour and feel. Nowadays the latest designs are focusing on eradicating that overly perfect feel. Manufacturers have realised that the key to success is to make the artificial turf look as imperfect as the real thing. This meant that the manufactured turf had to include a mixture of textures, lengths and colours. There are different shades of green, straight and curly yarns, a slight “thatch” and even the odd dead patch to add to the reality.
And yet fake grass has always played well from its difference to the real thing, this being its durability and distinct lack of reliance on the whims of the weather. Many choose to lay the surface in difficult areas such as shaded parts of the garden, under tree canopies and children’s play areas that are always subject to heavy pounding (and as a result extreme muddiness).
Bringing the Lawn Indoors
But why leave the artificial lawn outdoors? With many designers deciding to utilise the product in indoors spaces to create a distinctly outdoorsy environment, the products versatility takes on a whole new dimension. In the offices that have dabbled in bringing the fake lawn indoors, whether for breakout areas or the office as a whole, employees have reported enjoying the feeling of grass under their feet.
Whilst for many, anything other than carpets or wooden floorboards is simply too outlandish, some have found the surface ideal for a child’s bedroom or play area, games room or conservatory. Many more have adopted a slightly less radical approach laying it on roof terraces or balconies.
Coming of Age
We’ve seen sales grow by 40% year on year and many manufacturers are reporting similar figures, both in the UK and in Europe and beyond. The reasons for this are numerous and undoubtedly include busy modern lifestyles and a more unpredictable and drier climate. There’s no doubt that artificial turf is undoubtedly coming of age but it’s still got a long way to go in shaking the image it still has of a brittle and ugly replacement for the real thing.Lawns
Whilst it will highly unlikely that synthetic grass will ever overtake the organic surface it sets out to imitate, there’s no doubt that the phenomenal realism of modern artificial grass is turning more and more heads, as people struggle to reconcile their preconceived notions with an undeniable sense of amazement. With its advantages in durability and low maintenance, I expect to see artificial grass sales continue to grow across for many years to come.
About the Author:
Anthony Gallagher is the Managing Director of the Easigrass Group, a network of award winning artificial grass franchisees and International Licensed partners. Under his stewardship, Easigrass became the first artificial grass company in the world to exhibit a show garden at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2010. You can connect with them on Twitter, Facebook or find out more by visiting their YouTube channel.