Do you have some free space in your garden and have you ever thought about setting up a little green space? Can you identify what type of grass suits you best?
Lawn grass is a very common element in gardens, terraces, pools, parks, and sports facilities. It plays a decorative and functional role, as it provides comfort and a soft surface to rest or run on. In this article, we will talk about how to choose natural or artificial grass, and all the advantages, and disadvantages.
Natural grass is the most traditional choice in both private and public gardens. It is a natural type of vegetation that blends with other plants and trees in the garden and as such helps purify the air. Natural grass always feels fresh, and although artificial grass can mimic its cover well, lying on natural grass makes you feel like you’re on a lawn.
Artificial grass is a synthetic covering that imitates a living lawn. It consists of a flexible fabric, acting as a framework, and polymer threads are woven into it, which look like natural grass.
To take care of artificial turf you usually use special rakes for artificial grass.
Artificial turf is used for the arrangement of soccer fields, sports fields, and park areas, creating a landscape design.
Differences between natural and artificial turf
After considering the advantages and disadvantages of natural and artificial turf, we can point out the main differences between the two varieties of coverage.
- Artificial turf costs more at the time of purchase. It is important to note that artificial turf, installed by hand, remains unchanged for at least 10 years. This is not possible with natural grass.
- To keep a natural lawn at its best, it must be watered abundantly, fertilized, reseeded every spring, and above all, mowed regularly. -The promised natural lawn does not last 10 years and often has to be redone after quite a while.
- The big difference is that artificial grass is not only beautiful but also durable. Artificial grass will never fade.
- If it rains, natural grass is a disaster.
- Artificial turf doesn’t have that problem because the water runs off quickly.
- Artificial turf can be static in the summer and during periods of drought. This problem can be solved by simply moistening the lawn.
Types of artificial turf
A total of three types of artificial turf can be distinguished:
- Unfilled Artificial Turf
- Semi-filled Artificial Turf
- Backfilled Artificial Turf
Unfilled Artificial Turf
This kind of grass will be the most beautiful decoration for any surface, it serves more as a more decorative option and at the same time is suitable for a variety of areas:
- Various home spaces, such as decking on the balcony, to the nursery;
- Spaces next to a private pool, a private playground, or a lawn;
- Outdoor areas;
- Decorating tombs and gravesites;
- Making a variety of decorative products from the lawn.
In addition to the above-mentioned places’ quality, unfilled turf can also be used on playgrounds and sports fields, such as golf or mini-soccer.
Semi-fill Artificial Turf
This option is optimal for private outdoor areas with high loads, such as playgrounds and sports fields. Polyethylene material from which the lawn is made, combined with quartz sand (or any other backfill) also allows you to strengthen the injury-proof properties of the surface and protect children from bruises and abrasions.
It is important to consider that the two types of turf often differ only in the height of the pile. When equipping the base to improve the shock-absorbing properties of the surface, it is possible to use rubber tiles or roll rubber flooring as a substrate.
Backfill Artificial Turf
Special coating for the equipment of large sports facilities, as a rule, is supplied together with the work on the equipment of such a facility. The essence of such coverage is a combination of artificial grass, rubber granules, and sand.
It is because of its popularity as a finish to sports areas lawns have become widespread.
Advantages and disadvantages of artificial turf
Since artificial turf is a unique and irreplaceable surface, it makes sense to compare it only with its natural counterpart.
Compared with the usual grass surface artificial turf has the following advantages:
- pleasant appearance regardless of atmospheric conditions;
- serves all year round and at any temperature;
- is resistant to wear and tear, is not afraid of “digging” influences;
- prevents the spread of weeds;
- does not wash out and is resistant to heavy rainfall;
- compared to natural grass is very easy to care for.
Of the disadvantages, the following can be noted:
- In the summer, a natural lawn that is well cared for is still much nicer than any artificial turf;
- If, however, there was damage to some part of the surface, we will have to make the appropriate repairs.
Artificial turf applications
Artificial turf is a full-fledged and unpretentious replacement for natural turf. It does not fade, does not require care, and feels fine in any weather. It is laid in places with a high probability of trampling, but the scope of artificial turf is much wider.
Where else you can use artificial grass:
- On sports fields. This is the main sphere of artificial grass. Covering is safe, does not trample, well dampens shock loads, does not slip, and looks almost the same as ordinary grass. It can serve for several seasons without replacement and repair, unlike the natural covering.
- In landscape design. The lawn will be a perfect background for compositions of stones, living plants, and sculptures, and will emphasize the beauty of artificial ponds. It is not afraid of heavy loads and high humidity and will look great in the shade and in the bright sun. This is the best solution for places where conventional plants do not survive.
- In playgrounds. Bright surfaces with soft artificial grass look more interesting than the usual solutions of crumb rubber. They are just as safe and resilient. Compared with sand and hard surfaces reduce the risk of injury in a fall. One of the main advantages is that they do not accumulate water and dirt, so there is less risk of getting dirty if you fall.
- For interior finishes. Artificial turf will help to create a piece of nature indoors. It is used for the decoration of balconies, winter gardens, cafes, and commercial pavilions, when creating decorations, at exhibition stands. Such coverage is not afraid of heavy loads and can serve for many years without replacement.
- For decoration of adjacent territories. Much easier once laid artificial turf, than to annually plant flowers, water them, weed and watch to vandals do not trample flower beds. It is profitable and convenient for management companies.
What is artificial grass made of?
It is not about the material as such, but about the type of thread. All of them are divided into two groups:
Such grass has solid threads, bound in bundles of 6-8 pieces. They are narrow, up to 1.5 mm, and thin, not more than 160 microns. Due to this, such coverage looks natural, it is safe for falls, and quite strong and wear-resistant.
This type is created from wide, 9-12 mm threads, in which the upper part is longitudinally divided into separate strips. Because the grass appearance is less elegant, rigidity, the quality of holding back the backfill, and the speed of returning the form are higher.
Synthetic turf is very popular in modern interior and landscape design. It is most convenient in regions where there are no conditions for natural photosynthesis. There, this material is indispensable for the decoration of the adjacent territory and the arrangement of stadiums.
Sports facilities it is used due to the intensive use of the surface, which is prohibitive for natural turf. The quality of such a surface depends on what the artificial grass is made of. By the way, modern models look extremely believable. But are they so durable?
Artificial grass: What is synthetic turf made of?
Synthetic green flooring creates a cozy oasis in the apartment and outdoors. It does not require as much maintenance as a natural lawn, and at the same time is not so dependent on external influences. Artificial grass is intended for soccer stadiums. Such turf is used for equipping rugby and field hockey fields, golf courses, and tennis courts.
Manufacturers produce a universal synthetic green surface suitable for use in domestic design and in the design of courts for several sports. But in professional sports usually, a special coating is used, which is produced for specific tasks. Often such artificial grass is made of materials that are specifically designed for such tasks.
Synthetic turf in its former form
Initially, when artificial turf was first introduced to the synthetic carpet market, it bore little resemblance to natural grass. But it was practical enough to be used as turf in stadiums. It did not pull out with the soil, it did not yellow, it did not need to be watered, it did not need to be mowed and replanted. And most importantly, it was very cheap. But it could not be used as a design cover, because it looked too unnatural and resembled paper. That is not the case with modern artificial turf.
Modern artificial turf
Today’s synthetic turf is very realistic. The uninformed person finds it hard to believe that the grass is artificial. Made of what and how – this also seems to be a mystery. After all, many manufacturers generally offer coverings in which each tuft of grass is shaped by hand. Lawns can be a variety of shades, heights, and densities. It does not require much care, although periodically it should be paid attention to comb out, moisten and replenish the layer of consumables. Today they are replaced by high-quality rubber, which is not as fastidious as sand or low chrome rubber. Such material lasts much longer and is much more effective.
Features of the device and operation of artificial grass
Such a coating as synthetic grass is produced in the form of multi-layer construction. It is sold as a set of three components:
- The artificial grass itself, which is the equivalent of a rolling carpet, is created by differing from polyethylene fibers that are attached to a framed base of the canvas;
- Materials for installation, which include seam tape and adhesive, if the coating is glued to the subfloor, and if the lawn is sewn to the substrate, it is supplied with synthetic fiber;
- Formers, such as granulate and quartz sand, are necessary for the systematic maintenance of sports fields, which is important for maintaining the playing characteristics of the surface.
Types of turf fibers
What makes modern artificial grass look so natural, what does synthetic lawn consist of? The answer is simple: from fibers that mimic living greenery and the dried bottom layer of grass.
This material comes in:
- Fibrillated, consisting of wide fibers with a mesh structure. They do not let out rubber granulate, sand and other fillers;
- Monofilament, consisting of individual fibers in bundles of different heights, not more than 3 mm thick. They make the lawn similar to the natural one;
- Combined, consisting of both of the above-mentioned types of fibers. The lawn turns out as practical and natural-looking as possible.
Materials of fibers
In terms of composition, synthetic grass comes in several types. The first version is made of polypropylene. Previously, such lawns were used in soccer stadiums. But after the facts of athletes’ burns, after a fall on such grass were confirmed, the technologists began to develop new types of fibers. As a result, they began to add polyamide to their composition. But it required softening, which could be achieved by regular watering.
But the use of such fibers in states with changeable climates has proven problematic because of temperature contrasts. And wetted fibers not only do not soften in the cold, but they can also collapse. Therefore, they began to be made of polyethylene, which has sufficiently high strength and safety.
Strange as it may seem, sand and granulation are also what artificial grass is made of. Each of them is necessary in order to be able to maintain the synthetic lawn in an aesthetic appearance, and its properties – in a condition suitable for intensive use. After all, for example, the filler can be consumed under the influence of natural external factors, such as rainwater, which washes sand and granulation in the drainage holes.
Consumables are also carried away by snow removal, wind, the soles of shoes, and so on. To ensure the playground’s playability, it is necessary to monitor the availability of the required amount of filler. Usually, to replenish it, it is necessary to add new sand and granulate regularly, at least once a month. In modern models of artificial turf, sand is replaced by rubber or rubber. They are not so hard and traumatic, do not absorb moisture and odors, and do not serve as an environment for pathogenic microflora.
Artificial turf sizes
Most turf is sold in rolls, but sometimes you may see mats of a specific size on sale.
Most artificial turf is 15 feet or 12 feet wide, depending on the type of product. Turf can be cut up to 100 feet in length and can be cut to fit your needs, and some businesses charge a cutting fee.
Definitive lawn size recommendations are hard to come by, so everyone picks one for their own area and objectives.
The higher the pile, the softer the lawn is, but also the greater the risk of fiber loss. Therefore, for decorative purposes and under the condition of walking on it in the shoes take a lower nap, for active use – the average, and to create a soft surface for walking barefoot – medium and high.
Artificial turf laying
In order to make a successful installation of lawn cover, you should not only choose it correctly for your tasks, but also determine the following aspects: the base, tools, and laying technology. At the same time, depending on the application of the lawn, these characteristics may vary. I, however, will focus on the use of the coating by individuals or small objects.
How to lay artificial grass?
The lawn is selected and purchased, the design is thought out. It remains a matter of a small thing: understanding how to lay artificial grass. In principle, this process is not complicated, and with some skill it can be done with your own hands. All work is divided into three key steps:
- Preparing the base. Concrete screed, wood flooring or soil – wherever you mount the lawn, it is necessary to prepare the base. To do this, it is cleared of debris, and the ground is also weeded, treated for weeds, and leveled. It is also necessary to cover the surface with geotextile or a mixture of sand and gravel, as it is not necessary to lay artificial grass without a substrate.
- Installation. The main part is simple: you roll out the sheets with an overlap of 10-15 cm and leave them for a day to smooth out the folds. Then you check for irregularities, and cut off the excess (the overlap), so that the sheets were lying next to each other.
What to cut artificial grass?
Suitable clerical or construction knife, and work with them is most convenient on the underside, where there is no lint.
-Fixing. After trimming, glue the sheets. To do this, place a connecting strip 10-30 cm wide in the joints and fix it with two-component glue. The places of gluing should be pressed with a roller. For greater reliability at the edges of the lawn it is worth securing it with metal brackets. Then all that’s left is backfilling (if the project calls for it) and combing the grass.
Preparing the substrate for artificial turf
Rolled turf is suitable for both hard substrate and subsoil, but there are differences in laying.
To design any base, you must first clear the area of debris, glass, rocks, weeds, and so on. Second, determine the exact dimensions and boundaries of the grass. Thirdly, take care of the drainage system, so that water does not accumulate under the lawn, as it is water-permeable.
The same ground should be carefully tamped, if necessary, additional sprinkled with sand or lay a waterproof layer on it.
A good option would be to use a rubber carpet pad – with a solid base it will soften the coverage and improve the injury-prone properties of the lawn. And on a subsoil, it will increase the life of the lawn because it will reduce friability and base application options.
The optimum substrate would be a coiled coating of rubber SBR crumb. You can also choose a higher density so that the substrate will not let moisture in case the substrate is not well prepared for it. For the premises, however, suit rubber coil coating with the addition of EPDM-flakes, which eliminates the smell of rubber and retains its cushioning properties longer. Rubber tiles are sometimes used as a substrate.
Unfortunately, the use of backing significantly increases the cost of coverage, but it can greatly improve the performance of the grass. SBR backing is the cheapest option.
Installation of artificial turf
- Prepared grass needs to be laid out on the substrate and leveled. To cut the coverage for your area, you need to lay the coverage a little overlap to avoid gaps and get perfect joints without creases. Next, the grass needs to rest a little so that the pile took a vertical position. After that, you can move on to fixing the cover – most often for this use staples or glue.
- Special seam tape, using a trowel, dabbed with glue, then it is placed under the seams and additionally rolled to ensure better adhesion.
- Next, it is necessary to fix the lawn on the perimeter in the same way as the seams were fastened. It is best not to delay the installation work and perform the entire installation in one day to avoid the divergence of loose edges under the influence of new temperature conditions.
- After the glue has dried, if necessary, you can further fluff the pile by walking over it with a rake, then rinse the lawn, rinse with water, or apply a marking.
Artificial grass care
Artificial turf does not require as much effort and time as a natural lawn when taking care of it, but the following should be done periodically to increase its life and performance:
- Clean large and medium debris from the lawn surface with a light rake. The lawn can be vacuumed on medium power;
- Spray the lawn with a hose to remove dust or wipe it down with a damp cloth or broom if it is a home turf;
- No additional disinfecting should be done on lawns where children or animals play, as the disinfectant will remain on the surface of the grass for long periods of time and can get on vulnerable skin areas;
- Fill lawns can be reseeded as needed or once a season;
- Additional water drainage if the drainage system has been compromised;
- Weeds may sprout if the ground is not adequately insulated and must be promptly removed;
- Repair damaged areas immediately to avoid increasing the gap or puncture.
Checklist for laying turf
- In the beginning, you need to choose the right lawn for your tasks and calculate the required volume for your area, taking into account the dimensions of the roll cover to minimize the amount of waste and seams.
- Purchase all related materials such as carpet pads, backfill, marking paint, and so on.
- Prepare tools for lawn installation: knife, seam tape, glue or staples, and, if necessary, a level (to form a slope), rake, roller, trowel, and curb stops.
- After installing your lawn according to your goals, care for it periodically to increase the life of the turf.
How to take care of artificial grass?
To guarantee the durability of synthetic lawns, it is not enough to know how to lay artificial grass – you also need to maintain it well. Although it is easier to care for than a live one and includes essentially just a few rules:
- Do not place heavy objects like furniture and vases, do not drive over them with vehicles (except for maintenance equipment), and remove emerging weeds.
- Clean light soiling with water, remove leaves with a triangular brush or blower and vacuum large debris (if no backfill).
- Every 1-2 months, using an extended rake, comb the pile and even out the filler in it -and once every 1-2 years, replace this mix with a new one.
- Repair any detected damage immediately – so you avoid the rapid growth of the resulting problem.
- It is better to entrust the care of professional coatings to experts: they have both the necessary knowledge and special tools for this purpose.
Which artificial grass to choose?
If you summarize the above characteristics, it is possible to derive a few simple recommendations for popular uses of “synthetic”:
- Interior. The load on the flooring in bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, etc. is low, so pay more attention to comfort and decor. How does the grass match the wallpaper, baseboards, interior or entry doors, fancy acrylic tub, is it soft, warm – etc?
- Landscape design. On lawns, too, consider how the turf you’re interested in will look in tandem with paths, street lights, or, say, poolside tile.
- Children’s playground. Beauty is important, but safety is most important. And so the playground requires turf with threads of height 10-30 mm, of monofilament fibers – such a surface will be resilient and gentle when falling and sliding on it.
- Sports field. There is no single answer to the question of what is the best artificial grass for sport. For tennis, you need non-filled or semi-filled turf in 10-20 mm, and for soccer – backfilled in 30-60 mm. Monofilament type is preferable, although fibrillated is also acceptable.
We have told you detailed information about what artificial turf is, how to choose it, put it on, and how to take care of it. We hope that this information will help you make the right choice.