7 Important Considerations When Choosing the Best Artificial Grass
An artificial lawn can be a big investment, and it can be difficult to know which is the best artificial grass to suit your needs.
There are several artificial grass suppliers in the UK, all of whom are offering several different types of artificial grass.
There are different pile heights, different fibre shapes, different fibre plastics and different colours to choose from.
The first thing to do when choosing the best artificial grass is to request samples from manufacturers. Once you have the samples, start by looking for the one that you think is the most visually appealing.
You should always view samples by laying them down on the surface where you wish to have the artificial grass laid, whether that’s your existing lawn or some other surface such as concrete or decking, for example.
This should be done for two reasons.
Firstly, so you can compare the samples to your real grass to check them for realism, and secondly, so that you get an idea of their true colour.
If you view the samples inside you will notice that the grasses will look slightly different in colour than they do outside.
This is obviously due to the different lighting conditions and you should therefore always view samples outside, in the daylight, to get a true picture of how the grass would look in your garden.
However, making a decision based on aesthetics alone is unfortunately not enough when deciding which is the best artificial grass.
Once you have chosen the grass that you prefer aesthetically, it’s important to then take a closer look in order to know if it’s the best artificial grass for you, including establishing whether the quality is up to scratch.
This guide will help you to understand some of the less obvious things to look for when choosing the best fake grass and explore in detail seven important things to consider when deciding on the best artificial grass for you.
So what exactly should you be looking for?
Aside from the aesthetic looks of your chosen artificial grass, you’ll also want to consider:
- Do I need an artificial grass with Instant Recovery technology?
- Do I need an artificial grass with Feelgood technology?
- Do I need an artificial grass with Natural Look technology?
- Has the grass been tested for harmful substances?
- How long is the manufacturer’s warranty?
- Is the fake grass fire-resistant?
- Where is the grass manufactured?
In this article, we will be exploring each of these questions to give you a better understanding of what to look for when choosing the best artificial grass.
Do I Need An Artificial Grass With Instant Recovery Technology?
If you are looking for a hard-wearing lawn, then your best option is to choose an artificial grass that has Instant Recovery technology.
If a synthetic grass has Instant Recovery technology, it means that it has been manufactured with nylon (polyamide) fibres.
The plastic fibres of an artificial grass can be manufactured from one (or a mix) of three different types of plastic.
Polypropylene, polyethylene or nylon.
Out of the three, nylon is the strongest and most resilient.
When you compare nylon against polyethylene, it’s up to 40% more resilient and 33% stronger.
When compared against polypropylene, nylon is 22% more resilient and 26% stronger.
This is because nylon is the strongest and most resilient fibre in the textile industry.
It’s therefore used to make parachute cord, fishing lines, tennis racket strings and, of course, the best quality carpets and rugs.
You can be sure that when you purchase a grass with Instant Recovery technology you are getting a hard-wearing artificial grass that will stand up to foot traffic and heavy use from children and pets.
It’s also great if you’ll be placing items such as garden furniture or paddling pools on it, as the video below proves:
Another advantage of nylon is that it has a much higher melting point than the other forms of plastic.
When polypropylene or polyethylene artificial grass becomes hot, the fibres become pliable and lose their ability to spring back.
Nylon does not do this, therefore making it more resilient.
It’s much kinder to the environment, too.
This is because you can expect a much longer lifespan with artificial grasses that are manufactured from nylon fibres, meaning you don’t need to replace it as often.
This has the added benefit of being better for your bank balance.
Are There Any Drawbacks With Using Nylon?
The compromise with nylon, however, is that it’s not quite as soft as either polypropylene or polyethylene.
Do remember, though, that the softer the fibre, the weaker it is.
If you are looking for a strong, resilient grass, then it’s certainly a compromise worth accepting.
The manufacturing process also takes longer to complete.
This results in a more expensive grass overall.
This certainly isn’t a problem for areas that will be receiving plenty of use, as it will outlast other types of artificial grass and therefore will be cheaper in the long run.
However, with areas such as front gardens and other low footfall areas, we don’t recommend using a grass that’s manufactured from nylon, as it’s not necessary.
Instead, choose a grass made from either polypropylene or polyethylene fibres and save yourself some money.
Do I Need An Artificial Grass With Feelgood Technology?
What is Feelgood Technology?
One of the downsides of artificial grass used to be that during hot summer days, when the sun is beating down on an artificial lawn, the plastic fibres could become hot to touch.
This is because synthetic fibres retain heat from the sun’s rays.
Heat build-up occurs in most materials when thermal energy from the sun’s rays hits the surface of an object.
‘Emissivity’ is the scientific term for the degree to which a material emits heat.
Everyone knows that dark clothing absorbs more heat than light clothing; well, synthetic turf can hold in and emit heat, too.
This makes it uncomfortable to the touch when temperatures are hot outside.
This clearly is a problem, as these are the times when you most want to be out in your garden using your lawn.
The last thing you want is to not be able to use your artificial lawn as it’s uncomfortable to walk on.
However, this will not be a problem if you choose an artificial grass with Feelgood technology.
This revolutionary innovation ensures that your lawn remains cool by reflecting and dissipating the heat into the atmosphere; leaving your grass feeling as good as it looks.
You can see this in action in the video below:
If you are looking for an artificial lawn that will stay cool, even during hot summer days, we recommend choosing an artificial grass with Feelgood technology.
Do I Need An Artificial Grass With Natural Look Technology?
Of course, the whole idea of artificial grass is for it to replicate real grass as closely as possible, although without the effort and expense that goes with maintaining a real lawn.
However, some artificial grasses can appear to look different, depending on lighting conditions and the angle that they are viewed from.
This is because normal artificial grass reflects sunlight, producing glare.
Synthetic fibres are reflective by nature, due to their smooth, polished appearance.
This glare results in the fake grass looking a slightly lighter shade, depending on the angle which you view it from.
Generally, artificial grass looks at its best when viewed looking into the pile.
All artificial grass has a very slight pile direction, i.e. the fibres lean slightly in the same direction.
Because of this, installers will normally position the artificial grass so that it’s facing either towards your house or a patio (basically, wherever you would be viewing the grass from the majority of the time).
This is certainly good practice and something that we recommend you do, but what happens when you view it from the other end of the garden?
Well, you’ll notice that your grass looks a slightly different colour, which can look unnatural.
It was for this reason that ‘Natural Look’ technology was developed.
How Does Natural Look Technology Work?
Through extensive research, Natural Look was developed to reduce the reflective properties of artificial grass.
We know that the smoother a surface, the more light it reflects.
Therefore, fibres that have a slightly rougher surface were developed to prevent the unsightly glare associated with artificial grass.
When viewed at a microscopic level, artificial grass fibres that incorporate Natural Look technology can be seen to have a rough surface that helps to disperse light rays with less reflection.
This ‘roughness’, however, cannot be felt in contact with skin.
This simple alteration to the fibres results in a natural look and a consistent colour from every angle, as can be seen in the video below:
When choosing the best artificial grass, consider choosing one that has Natural Look technology to ensure you get the most realistic looking artificial lawn possible.
Has the Grass Been Tested for Harmful Substances?
Unfortunately, in the past, some artificial grasses were found to contain dangerous chemicals, such as lead.
Therefore, it’s extremely important for the health of your family and pet(s) that you choose an artificial grass that is free from harmful chemicals and substances.
Good advice is to choose an artificial grass that has been manufactured within the EU.
This is because the standards regarding health and safety are some of the highest in the world; they typically tend to be far stricter than those set in Asian countries, such as China (which exports grass to UK suppliers).
In order to comply with these regulations, European manufactured grass has to be stringently analysed.
The only way to know for sure that your artificial grass is safe is to choose a grass that has been independently tested for harmful substances.
Many manufacturers may claim to be selling artificial grass that is free from harmful substances, but this claim should always be backed up by independent assessment.
To check this you should contact your supplier and, if it has been tested, they will be able to send you copies of the certifications.
How Long is the Manufacturer’s Warranty?
It goes without saying that the longer the warranty, the better.
However, you should always check to see exactly what is covered under the warranty as some do not give you much protection.
Some of the better warranties will cover against UV stability and fibre loss, amongst other things.
Check that the warranty includes details of any misuse of the artificial grass that can lead to it being void.
This may mean improper maintenance (yes, there is still some maintenance involved with artificial grass), damage caused by tree roots, natural disasters or by cigarette butts.
Reading the warranty documents is also a good way to find out from the manufacturers how you should use and maintain your artificial lawn.
Another thing to bear in mind is that a warranty is usually only valid if the artificial grass has been installed in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Even if you are having your artificial grass installed by a professional artificial grass installer or landscaper, you should still check your artificial grass manufacturer’s website for details of the installation methods that they recommend.
For your peace of mind, we recommend that you ensure your artificial lawn comes with a warranty of at least five years.
Is the Fake Grass Fire-Resistant?
Some artificial grasses can potentially be flammable.
Unfortunately, fires can and do happen. The last thing you want is for your artificial lawn to help a fire spread.
Again, like when assessing a fake grass for harmful substances, you will also want to check with the manufacturer that the grass is fire-resistant.
But what regulations or accreditations should you be looking for?
Any type of flooring product manufactured within the EU, including artificial grass, can be assessed to meet Cfl-s1 in fire-retardant tests for fire-resistant flooring according to UNE EN 13501-12007.
Ensuring that your chosen artificial grass meets that criteria is highly recommended, as it will give you peace of mind should the worst happen.
What Would Happen to Your Artificial Grass in the Event of a Fire?
If your artificial grass meets the standards set by the European Union, it will be fire-resistant and so it will not burn.
In the event of a fire, or if a cigarette was to be put out on it, the fibres would simply melt.
It would not cause your lawn to catch fire.
Of course, it wouldn’t do your artificial grass much good as, depending on the extent of the damage, you might be left with a bald patch in your artificial lawn.
Ironically, one of the reasons you traded in your real lawn!
However, if a section of your artificial grass was ever to melt, it’s not the end of the world as it can be repaired.
To do this you would need to cut out the damaged area and insert a new piece of grass, securing it back in position using joining tape and artificial grass glue.
We would recommend using Aquabond in this instance, as it can be applied accurately using a gun applicator.
This will prevent things from getting messy and avoid the danger of getting glue on the artificial grass.
At this point it’s also worth us mentioning some of ways in which you should NOT use your artificial grass, with regard to fire safety.
- Under no circumstances should you ever place a BBQ on an artificial lawn.
BBQs should be kept on hard standings, such as patios and concrete, without any risk of embers landing on your artificial lawn.
- As mentioned early in the article, lit cigarettes and burning tobacco can melt your lawn, so smoking close to artificial grass should be avoided.
Finally, we also recommend that a sand infill is installed on all of our artificial grass products, to increase their fire resistance further.
A sand infill not only helps protect the fibres and ensures they stay upright, but it also helps prevent fires from spreading in your garden.
This is because kiln-dried sand has an extinguishing effect on fire.
Whether you are going to be installing your artificial grass yourself or with the help of a professional, be sure to use a sand infill.
Where Has the Grass Been Manufactured?
The final thing we recommend you should be looking for when choosing the best artificial grass is to find out the country in which it has it been manufactured.
Due to the strict standards and regulations that the European Union imposes on European manufacturers, artificial grass manufactured within the EU is better quality overall than Chinese equivalents.
Lower quality grasses tend to suffer from evident ‘striping’ running through the grass.
This results in visible lines running down your lawn, which, of course, makes it look very unnatural.
The backing that is used during manufacturing to stitch the artificial fibres to is typically made from latex.
On poorer quality artificial grasses this backing tends to have a high sand content, which results in a weaker backing. This can cause the fibres to break away from the backing, therefore reducing the pile density.
Chinese manufactured grasses may indeed be cheaper than their European counterparts, but the quality is often inferior.
Therefore, when choosing the best artificial grass, it’s advisable to find out where your artificial grass was manufactured before making a purchase.
You should treat buying artificial grass like you would any kind of home improvement – as an investment.
If you can get it right, your new artificial lawn is sure to add value to your property and you can enjoy the whole host of other benefits that having a low maintenance lawn brings.
But, like any investment, you should tread carefully.
Taking each grass on face value unfortunately isn’t good enough.
It’s also advisable to not just compare artificial grasses on price and aesthetics alone.
To ensure you choose the best artificial grass that will prove to be a good investment, you’ll need to look a little closer at the artificial grasses and the manufacturers who are producing them.
The aim of this article was to point out a few important considerations that will enable you to do just that.
Advising exactly which artificial grass will suit your needs best is a difficult task, as every individual has differing needs.
However, if you follow the advice in this guide you’ll find the best artificial grass for you. It will transform your old lawn into something you can be proud of, leaving you to lie back, put your feet up and use your garden as it’s meant to be used – for relaxing!
Hopefully you’ll now be armed with enough information to choose the best artificial grass from the many currently available on the market.
Once you’ve done this you’ll next want to decide on whether to go down the DIY installation route or to perhaps hire a professional installer.
We would always recommend professional installation as they will have the experience to ensure you have a good installation that will last long into the future.
For further information on how to find an installer please see our guide – 17 Questions to Help You Choose an Artificial Grass Installer.
You can also start your search for the best artificial grass by requesting your free samples.
Hopefully you have found this guide useful and if you have questions please leave a comment below.