Commercial artificial grass is becoming increasingly popular with businesses in the UK. Whilst some businesses install artificial lawns purely for aesthetic value, others want a robust area that is safe for children, adults and pets to play on.
Whether you intend to use your lawn as a functional area, a recreational space, a green space for your employees or simply to enhance the eye-catching appeal of your business premises, it’s important to get clued up about the specifics of commercial artificial grass installations in London.
What’s another name for artificial grass?
Although artificial grass is the most common keyword used by businesses, you will also find synthetic turf called by other names during your internet search. Other names you will come across are:
- Fake grass
- Fake lawn
- Fake turf
- Faux grass
- Artificial grass
- Artificial turf
- Artificial lawn
- Synthetic grass
- Synthetic turf
- Synthetic lawn
Who invented fake grass?
According to industry legends, there are two potential inventors of artificial lawns. One legend (on Wikipedia) is that “Astroturf” was invented in the “1950’s” by James M. Faria and Robert T. Wright of The Chemstrand Company, a subsidiary of Monsanto.
However, a patent was not issued by Chemstrand or Monsanto until 1965 and sold as the “AstroTurf brand”.
The other legend is that the first material for synthetic turf was invented by David Chaney, the Dean of North Carolina State University. Chaney created the first notable artificial grass in 1960 with a team of researchers from the Research Triangle Park which was later introduced by Chemstrand in1965 to carpet sports grounds. So Chemstrand didn’t invent commercial artificial grass, they just made artificial grass commercial.
Don’t believe everything you read on Wikipedia.
What is the difference between Astroturf and artificial grass?
It’s not uncommon for artificial grass and astroturf to be used interchangeably. Astroturf is arguably the better-known term due to its history. However, AstroTurf is actually the name of the first company that sold fake grass - a rebranding of the aforementioned Chemstrand.
That said, synthetic turf made from shorter strands are classed as astroturf - whereas artificial grass is an umbrella term that encompasses all types of synthetic grass.
It’s is generally regarded that Astroturf is better for sports but that is not always the case. Low-quality fibres wear out quickly. Artificial grass with a shorter pile height of up to 28mm is equally as good and will probably last longer.
What is the lifespan of artificial grass?
The lifespan of commercial artificial grass depends on the quality of the material you install, how often it’s used and how well you care for it.
A top quality artificial grass will serve for at least 10 years. If the area is not used very often and the proper maintenance is carried out, you should expect a commercial artificial grass installation in London to last 20-25 years.
It should be noted that artificial grass designed and manufactured in Europe are of the best quality. It’s well-known that fake grass exports from the United States and parts of Asia are low-quality and will only survive up to five years at most.
Does artificial grass flatten over time?
Commercial artificial grass is designed to be robust and resilient. Even when exposed to high volumes of traffic, the synthetic fibres maintain good bounce back for many years.
Of course, like everything else, over time, synthetic fibres will lose their buoyancy. When exposed to years of being trampled on, some areas will show signs of flattening. Flattening is most noticeable in high-traffic areas such as on five-a-side football pitches, walkways and swimming pools.
However, to put things into perspective, let’s compare commercial artificial grass with natural grass. The latter will develop bald patches over the winter and restoring the pitch to a suitable playing surface involves a lot of cost and time.
You don’t get this problem with synthetic grass. The fibres hold out for many years before showing signs of wear and tear. Commercial artificial grass requires less cost and management.
What to look for when buying artificial grass
Commercial grass is a fairly sizeable investment so you want to be assured you install turf that meets your needs. You can, of course, speak with one of our artificial grass installation specialists for advice, but the main points for consideration are:
1. Quality of manufacturing and materials
Quality artificial turf will feel soft to the touch, resilience and have strong flexibility and bounce back. It will have a consistent colour, closely stitched tufts and have a strong backing.
As we mentioned above, only use commercial artificial grass installations in London that source their products from European manufacturers. Avoid fake grass that has been manufactured in China and other parts of Asia.
Synthetic turf in the US can be suspect as well because they don’t have the same level of health and safety regulations we have in Europe.
The second way to test the quality of commercial artificial grass installations in London is to request a free grass sample from the supplier. Artificial grass is made with two layers of either polyurethane or latex backing. If you can pull the two layers away easily, the artificial grass is low-quality.
2. Pile height
Pile height is the length of the synthetic blades. Higher pile heights are lush are look more aesthetically pleasing. However, longer blades are not ideal for high-traffic areas.
If you’re planning to install commercial artificial grass for aesthetic purposes, a pile height of 35mm and above is the best option. If you expect the grass to be used as a recreational or chill out area you may be better going for an all-rounder grass with a pile height of around 30mm. Shorter pile heights are best suited for playing sports.
3. Pile density
Pile density refers to the number of fibres stitched into a square metre of yarn. The more yarn per sq.m the heavier the pile density.
Synthetic lawns with a high pile density offer more aesthetic appealing, durable and closely resemble the look and feel of a natural grass lawn. Essentially, dense turf lasts longer.
Before installing commercial artificial grass, you need to determine what it will be used for. The amount of traffic you expect to receive will have a bearing on the most appropriate pile height and pile density.
Heavy traffic areas are best served with short pile height and high-density artificial grasses. Synthetic grasses with a taller pile height and thicker density are softer and more comfortable for bare feet. They are, therefore, better suited to low traffic areas together with swimming pools and play areas for children and pets.
Artificial grass needs an infill to help keep it looking fresh and springy. Infill also helps fake turf to maintain its longevity. The most popular infills for commercial artificial grass is sand or silica granules.
If pets will be using the area, we highly recommend zeolite. This natural substance absorbs ammonia particles and helps to reduce the smell of pet urine.
Manufacturers have spent a lot of time perfecting the colours of synthetic fibres in order to make them resemble the tones and shades of natural grass. It’s impossible to know the difference between the two simply by looking at the lawn.
Commercial artificial grass comes in a range of shades but the most common are olive green, lime green and dark green. Colour is really a matter of preference, but in our opinion, the darker tones deliver a more sophisticated aesthetic.
When examining artificial grass for quality, colour can be a giveaway. Cheap grass is too green and does not have the imperfections of natural grass such as dual tones and brown flecks. High-quality synthetic turf includes these imperfections to closely resemble natural grass.
We also recommend placing your turf samples outside to see how they look in the light of day. The tones look different in the shade and in the sunlight.
As with any high-value purchase, the cost of an artificial grass installation in London is a key consideration. Whilst it’s sensible to purchase artificial grass in your price range, we feel the need to warn you to stay away from the cheapest prices on the market.
Cheap artificial grass is low-quality artificial grass. By all means, carry out your own investigations and order samples of low-priced grass if you want to compare quality. However, be sure to determine the quality of fake grass using the tips we outlined above.
Commercial Artificial Grass Installations in London
We trust the above content has helped to answer many of your questions and steer you in the right direction. If you have any other queries we haven’t addressed above, feel free to get in touch with one of our knowledgeable advisors. We’re happy to answer all your questions.