Artificial Turf – The Strengths and Weaknesses.

As you can see from this image, artificial turf looks very nice and manicured. It comes in a whole range of grass lengths, textures and colours, and in the right place for the right reasons, it certainly can hit the spot. It also doesn’t need mowing. However, don’t be under the illusion that it is completely maintenance free, because it certainly is not.

It is in effect just the same as laying a carpet, but it’s outside in the elements instead of being indoors.

It is quite easy to argue however that it can be very much easier to lay real, living turf.

It’s not simply a case of rolling out your nice roll of artificial turf, and that’s it. Artificial turf must be attached to a fixed edge. It must also be laid on a hard and stable surface, the preparation for which is very similar to the preparation you would employ for block paving. A weed membrane is then placed on top of the compacted stone sub-base to deter the growth of perennial weeds from below. The artificial turf is then laid on top of the membrane. And when it’s done properly like that it looks very nice.

Brick or ornamental concrete edgings are popular to tie things in visually with a neighbouring area of paving like this.

And once it’s been laid and has settled for a bit, a generous silver sand topdressing is applied. This is for 2 reasons …. to weigh the turf down, and to help keep the blades of the ‘grass’ upright, so it looks at its best.

One of the weak points is because of the sand top dressing. Weed seeds will either be carried in on the wind or by physical means like birds, animals or pets. Also, when soil or compost falls onto the artificial turf, weeds will grow as a result, and it will spoil the overall appearance of the turf. And above all else, it will have to be dealt with, if for no other reason than to protect your investment as well as its appearance.

Finally, it is probably more important to gather fallen leaves from the surface of artificial turf than it is with real turf. Otherwise they will get into the fabric of the turf and encourage further weed seed germination.