Most homeowners, given the option, would prefer a natural, thick, deep green lawn, with springy, soft grass that grows beautifully, requires little in the way of maintenance, and provides the perfect space for children and pets to play.

The reality is that there are countless scenarios when a real grass lawn isn’t viable – we’ll explain some of these many circumstances shortly. It is also important to clarify that there is a world of difference between cheap artificial grass and a professional, high-quality artificial turf lawn!

If you’re unsure whether your lawn is salvageable or is destined to create endless mud and mess for years to come or are weighing up the pros and cons of an artificial grass, we’ll share all the considerations to help you make an informed decision.

When Is an Artificial Lawn an Ideal Alternative to Natural Grass?

Let’s start by thinking about some of the reasons a real grass lawn may not be the best solution – since much depends on where you live, the soil condition in your garden, and where you’d like your lawn or grass area to be.

We often consult with homeowners who’d like to bring a natural, organic feel to spaces such as balconies, roof terraces and patios. It is common to choose artificial grass in an elevated position since there isn’t enough soil or load-bearing capacity to lay turf or grow a lawn from seed.

Other common reasons to opt for artificial grass  for your property include:

    • Poor soil quality – This challenge is more frequent in newly built homes, where the soil lacks nutrients or is interspersed with rubble, making it impossible for a natural lawn to thrive. Some properties also experience issues with drainage, where surface water creates an unsightly area of mud that only worsens with use.
    • High-traffic gardens – Fake grass is popular with families who use their gardens extensively and want an affordable alternative to grass that has the durability to withstand sports games and pets running back and forth.
    • Safe play areas – High-quality artificial grass can be used in specific areas, such as within a designated play zone for children, without the risk of slipping, getting muddy, or encountering rocks or pebbles after a fall.
    • Maintenance concerns – Even the best lawn requires ongoing maintenance, and many people find this difficult, either because they do not have the mobility to care for a lawn independently or because the cost of regular mowing, seeding, weeding and scarification would be too high.

There is no right or wrong, and we welcome enquiries from homeowners around the UK who need professional advice about whether their garden and soil are suitable for a year-round natural lawn or whether artificial grass would be a better solution.

Why Have Artificial Turf Professionally Laid?

Like so many gardening and landscaping projects, we always recommend working with a reputable, experienced local team. Although laying artificial grass may be perceived as a fairly straightforward job, there is a lot of scope for things to go wrong, impacting the finish you achieve and the pride you have in your accessible, functional garden.

One of the considerations is the thickness, size and placement of artificial grass. Particularly for high-traffic areas or where you would like an artificial turf space for pet hygiene, a hard-wearing, easily cleanable and durable grass is essential.

Installing artificial grass is a process similar to laying a patio, where you need a sub-base underneath that provides adequate drainage. Without this preparatory work and a membrane that sits underneath the lawn, you have a significantly higher risk of insect infestations, deterioration of the grass and other problems such as loss of colour due to prolonged exposure to sitting water.

Provided your artificial turf is fitted correctly, it should last on average around eight years, but this lifespan can be eroded if the soil or sub-base underneath is uneven, hasn’t been cleared of hard debris such as rubble and bricks, or isn’t anchored properly to the soil.

In sloped gardens, for instance, a sand base or underlay may be advisable – this stops the artificial grass from slipping or sliding over time and ensures it remains in great condition.

The Advantages of an Artificial Grass Lawn

As we’ve seen, artificial turf can be a problem-solver if you need an alternative to a lawn that is easy to look after, relatively maintenance-free, and suited to any outdoor space in and around your home.

Some property owners find that issues such as tree growth overhanging the garden cause excessive shade, which hinders grass seed from growing, or means they need to spend a considerable amount of time and effort coaxing the lawn back into life in the spring – especially after a long, wet winter with freezing temperatures.

Depending on the way you use your garden and your key priorities, the benefits of artificial turf include the following:

    • Easy cleaning: Fake grass can be cleaned quickly with a hose, particularly if you have pets, and stays green, fresh and thick all year round without the mud and dampness so common during the wetter months.
    • Bespoke sizing: You can fit an artificial lawn in any space, whether a small section of your garden allocated to a kids’ play space, an area for pets to play and exercise or where you have the most foot traffic.
    • Suited to any garden: If grass simply doesn’t grow in your garden, you are far from alone! Artificial grass with a suitable sub-base doesn’t need any sunlight, watering, feeding or care to stay looking bright and fresh.
    • Allergy-friendly: Families with grass allergies such as hay fever may prefer artificial grass to achieve the same realistic look and feel of a lawn without exacerbating their symptoms, primarily during the summer when the pollen count is high.

If you’d like more information about artificial grass, the pros and cons, or to arrange a convenient time for us to visit your garden and take a look at your lawn, please get in touch with the Cotswold Paving & Landscaping team. Whilst artificial turf can be a great option, our landscaping experts can also evaluate your current grass and provide independent recommendations for the best way forward.