7 Reasons to Install Artificial Grass in Schools & Playgrounds
Modern technology has meant that artificial grass has come on in leaps and bounds, and today it looks just as good as the real thing.
However, aside from the aesthetics of artificial grass, there is also a huge range of other benefits to be gained, especially for public schools and playgrounds.
Here, real grass receives heavy use, no matter what the time of the year. This creates bare patches and tracks in areas where foot traffic is at its heaviest.
These bald patches can create a tripping hazard, meaning children can fall and potentially injure themselves whilst playing.
Rain can further increase potential dangers as these areas quickly become muddy puddles.
With artificial grass, however, these hazards just aren’t an issue; it’s durable enough to withstand heavy use, and when installed properly is free-draining, meaning no puddles – and no mud.
Not only that, but the installation of artificial grass can also prove to be an excellent investment, saving schools and local authorities large amounts of money due to its low maintenance nature.
Because of the long list of benefits, it is little wonder that many schools and playgrounds have turned to artificial grass to transform playgrounds and dead areas into lush green artificial play areas.
Nowadays, there are many different types of specially designed synthetic surfacing that can be used to create sports pitches for tennis, football, rugby and cricket, which not only provides excellent facilities for students but can also produce additional revenue for schools and universities.
In this article, we’re going to be taking a closer look at seven reasons to install artificial grass in schools and playgrounds.
1. Less Maintenance Required
The most obvious benefit of installing artificial turf in schools and playgrounds is the fact that it will dramatically reduce maintenance costs.
For schools and other local authorities, this provides a huge advantage over real grass.
Typically, playground areas are either maintained by onsite staff or else a professional grounds maintenance company is contracted to undertake the works.
Both options are expensive and cost schools and local councils vast sums of cash.
High quality artificial turf that has been laid correctly will last somewhere in the region of 15 to 20 years.
You may be unaware of the maintenance costs involved with maintaining a real grass area over a duration of 15 years, but in our experience it often outweighs the initial cost of fake grass several times over.
There is no getting away from the fact that with artificial grass there is a large initial outlay, but the cost is recouped typically over 5-10 years, whilst also saving many man hours of labour that can instead be concentrated elsewhere.
Once artificial grass has been installed, there is very little in the way of maintenance and it doesn’t require any specialist equipment other than a broom and/or leaf blower.
Some of the maintenance costs that can be saved are:
- Regular mowing
- Less fuel and oil required to power and maintain equipment
- Savings on chemicals and treatments, such as weedkiller, fertiliser and pesticides
- Lower wage bill
2. Artificial Grass Can Be Used All Year Round
Typically, during the winter or after periods of heavy rain, playing fields and real grass areas are no-go zones for students and teachers.
This can mean that playtime activities are restricted to small areas of tarmac or concrete playgrounds.
This can be a problem if a school or playground is short on space.
In playgrounds with real grass, it’s very common for bare spots to form around play equipment due to heavy use and/or lack of sunlight, and these areas are also where large puddles of mud and muck can form, rendering play equipment unusable.
These puddles of mud can cause a safety hazard, due to the risk of slipping. Also, if a child who has been walking in mud then climbs onto play equipment, they face a greater risk of falling.
Artificial grass, however, can be used all year round. As there is no mud and mess with fake turf, it can be played on in just the same way whether it’s summer or winter.
Kids will love playing on artificial grass as they will find it’s just as soft as the real thing – and budding footballers will feel like they are playing at Wembley.
3. It Will Brighten Up Dull Areas
Artificial grass can transform dull, lifeless areas of concrete and tarmac into lush green spaces perfect for play.
This is particularly appealing to inner city schools that don’t have large green areas for play and activities.
Practically any area of existing surfacing can be converted into an artificial lawn or playground.
Many schools also have areas of dead space where real grass struggles to grow. These areas can become boggy eyesores that can also prove to be a safety issue.
A more attractive school or nursery can help to create a better environment for children to learn and play in, and can be a great selling point in attracting new students.
4. No Toxic Chemicals
Most schools and playgrounds must be shut down when toxic chemicals and fertilisers are applied to grass areas to control weeds and insects, as they can be harmful to humans.
Of course, with artificial grass this will no longer be an issue, as it doesn’t require any form of fertilisers, weedkillers or pesticides, creating a much safer environment for children to learn and play in.
There has been controversy regarding artificial grass in recent years, but several studies have now shown these concerns to be false.
However, it is still vitally important that any artificial grass, regardless of who may come into contact with it, is properly analysed and tested for any possible harmful substances.
Understandably ensuring that your artificial grass is free from harmful substances can be a particularly difficult task.
In order to be sure, always check with manufacturers for certificates from independent testing bodies that prove their products have been tested and analysed for harmful substances.
This will give any customer, not just schools and local authorities, peace of mind that their artificial turf is not contaminated with any potentially harmful substances.
5. Better for Allergy Sufferers
According to AllergyUK, up to 20% of the UK’s population is affected by one or more allergic disorders.
Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is one of the UK’s most common allergies and AllergyUK also states that it could affect up to 40% of children.
One of the main causes of hay fever is the pollen from grass itself. Lawn mowing is the trigger for releasing pollen into the air and this can have an effect on children and adults alike.
Hay fever can cause sufferers to experience symptoms such as frequent sneezing, runny or blocked nose, itchy eyes, throat, mouth, nose and ears, or even a cough.
Clearly, if a child is experiencing these symptoms, their concentration and schoolwork are bound to suffer.
Artificial grass does not require mowing and therefore there will be less pollen in the air for children to breathe in, reducing the effects of hay fever.
6. A Safer Environment for Children to Play In
Of course, one of the main concerns with any school, playgroup or nursery is child safety.
With its technologically ground-breaking composition, artificial grass has been proven to withstand high traffic and rough play without breaking down or eroding. Thus, small and large schools alike can enjoy such durability without worrying about degradation over time.
Aside from the fact that artificial grass can be played on without becoming caked in mud, it can also comply with the head impact criteria set out by the government.
It is vitally important that play areas are safe environments for children to play in, especially when there is play equipment involved.
These cushioning foam underlays can protect against falls of up to three metres, making them perfect for use in and around areas of play equipment.
But they can also be used to transform tarmacked or concrete areas of schools and playgrounds quickly and easily.
Often, there is no need to excavate existing concrete or tarmac (so long as it is in good condition) as a foam shockpad can be installed directly to prepared existing surfaces. This reduces installation time and, of course, financial costs.
7. It’s Perfect for School & University Sports Pitches
With so many different types of artificial sports surfacing currently on the market, artificial grass or synthetic turf can be installed for many sports, including tennis, football, rugby and cricket.
After all, artificial grass was originally intended for use in sports fields.
Real grass pitches require many man hours to ensure they remain properly maintained. Artificial grass fields require absolutely no watering, fertilising, weeding or mowing. This saves lots of time and money for owners of large playing fields.
Over recent years, 3G football turf pitches (FTPs) have grown in popularity and there are now many local pitches throughout the UK.
The Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund’s recent pledge to help local communities with improving facilities for grassroots football, including building 3G FTP pitches is testament to its benefits and ever-increasing popularity.
There are many benefits of sports turf, including:
- Low maintenance costs
- Year-round, all-weather surface
- Completely free draining
- Excellent playing characteristics in terms of ball bounce and roll
But there are also the financial benefits that having artificial sports turf bring, too.
For example, a local school may decide to have a 3G football pitch built for use by its students, but it can also be hired out after school hours, thereby creating additional revenue.
The durability of a synthetic surface means that it will not get worn out by heavy use, unlike a natural grass pitch.
It’s little surprise that many schools and playgrounds are turning to artificial grass when it offers such a large number of benefits over real grass.
Whether it be a small play area, large playing field or a football pitch, artificial grass is a great solution for schools, playgroups, local authorities and universities alike.
The heavy use that these types of areas receive makes them perfect candidates for artificial grass.
Of course, the initial outlay for artificial grass is often large, but this cost is usually recouped after 5-10 years.
Its low maintenance nature means that there are many long term savings to be had.
If you would like further information regarding artificial grass for schools and playgrounds, please click here.
Or if you would like more information on artificial grass for sports surfacing, including 3G football pitches, please click here.
As always, if there are any comments or questions, please leave them below as we would love to help any local schools, nurseries or local authorities with their queries.