Artificial Grass or Paving: Which Should You Choose?
If you are planning a garden overhaul at some point in the near future, then you may be considering whether to use paving or artificial grass – or even both – in your new garden.
Of course, there are pros and cons to both types of surfacing.
But artificial grass does have some distinct advantages over a hard standing.
We’ve explored the many benefits of artificial grass in previous posts and in this latest article we’re exploring some of the advantages artificial grass has over paving within a garden environment.
Let’s begin with our first reason to choose fake turf.
It’s Cheaper to Install
Artificial grass is cheaper to install than paving for a number of reasons.
Firstly, the ground preparation for artificial grass involves less excavation.
A typical specification of a patio or path installation would involve excavating a minimum of 160mm of earth below the finished height of the paving. This allows for a 100mm Type 1 sub-base, a 40mm mortar bed, and then 20mm for the paving slabs themselves.
Artificial grass, however, typically only requires 75mm of excavations, which allows for 50mm Type 1 sub-base and 25mm of granite or limestone dust. Some applications, such as heavy use public areas, may require 100mm of Type 1, rather than 50mm, but it is still less overall than is required for paving.
In today’s world, waste disposal costs are extremely expensive, and the less waste produced, the cheaper garden renovation work will be.
Of course, you’ll also need half the amount of Type 1 than is required for paving, and there isn’t any concrete involved.
Labour time required is also reduced, as the installation is far quicker. An artificial grass installation contractor could complete an installation of around 100m2 in 2–3 days. A patio installation may take double this amount of time, or more.
The reduced labour time means a large financial saving.
There’s Less Chance of Injury
An obvious benefit of fake turf is that it’s much softer than paving.
Good quality artificial grass has a dense pile that is soft to the touch.
The softness of artificial grass will cushion the impact of any trips or falls in the garden and it’s less likely to cause injury.
Obviously, paving is a hard surface that can cause cuts, bruising and even broken bones.
Paving slabs may also come loose over time, causing them to become unstable or even creating a dangerous trip hazard.
For these reasons, artificial grass is a much safer surface for children to play on.
A synthetic lawn can be further softened by installing a foam shockpad underneath the grass.
This foam underlay will give the lawn a soft bouncy feel, as it’s like walking on air.
It’s often used in school and playground applications to protect against potential head injuries caused by falling from items of play equipment.
This makes artificial grass a far safer playing surface for children.
Like Paving, There’s No Mud or Mess
It may sound obvious, but many people forget that with artificial grass, there’s no mud or mess.
In this respect, it acts in much the same way as a hard surface.
If you are thinking about having a new, paved pathway to a garden shed, for example, why not consider using artificial grass instead?
You’ll no longer need a hard standing as you’ll be able to walk over your fake turf without having to worry about muddy feet, and you can use it come rain or shine. Of course, fake grass will also look far softer and far more natural looking in your garden, as opposed to a paved path.
There’s Less Chance of Staining
Most types of paving are susceptible to staining.
Oil, paint or wine can be very difficult to remove.
However, with artificial grass, these types of staining are much easier to remove.
Most types of spills are generally wiped clean from the turf. For oil-based stains you may need to use a small amount of white spirit, but these types of stain will not soak into the plastic fibres in the same way they do with natural stone products.
Fake Grass is Free-Draining
A distinct advantage that fake grass has over paving is that it is completely permeable.
Artificial grass can allow up to 52 litres of water to drain through its perforated backing per square metre, per minute.
With proper installation, this means that you won’t get any standing water on your artificial turf.
Paving, on the other hand, requires the installer to put a fall on the paving to channel any surface water run-off to a flower bed or drain.
Channelling surface water run-off to the public drainage system puts a greater strain on local waterworks which, of course, has an impact on the environment.
Also, the larger the area of your garden that is paved, the more you are contributing to flooding, as there is less earth for rainfall to naturally drain through to allow it to return to the local water table.
By keeping hard standing areas to a minimum, you’ll be minimising your impact on the environment.
Perfect for Shaded, Damp Areas of the Garden
Most gardens tend to have an area that is continually damp and forever sheltered from the sun.
These types of areas are perfect for artificial grass as it is unlikely that much would grow under these harsh conditions.
Paving is an option, but one of the problems with putting natural stone in these types of areas is that it can become discoloured, maybe even turning green.
This is due to the damp conditions.
However, artificial grass will not discolour or fade when installed in such areas, making it the perfect solution to bring damp areas of the garden back to life.
No Chemical Sealants Required
Most types of paving, especially natural paving, greatly benefit from the application of a chemical sealant to increase their lifespan and protect the paving from the elements.
This should be done on a regular basis, perhaps every 2 to 3 years, to prevent discolouration of the paving.
This, of course, can be a costly procedure, as well as having a negative impact on the environment.
Fake turf, on the other hand, doesn’t require any form of chemical sealant or even any kind of pesticide, fertiliser or weedkiller, such as might be associated with real grass.
The best quality artificial grass lasts upwards of 20 years and beyond, without fading or discolouring due to the elements and, most importantly, without the need for the application of any chemical treatments.
Artificial grass and paving each have their strengths and their weaknesses.
In truth, both artificial grass and paving can work together in perfect harmony to create the low-maintenance garden of your dreams.
Many of our customers like to have a patio area to put their garden furniture on. Although it is possible to do this with good quality fake turf, garden furniture is generally best left on a hard standing, especially over the long term.
You can also combine paving and artificial grass to create stepping stones that will give any lawn the wow factor.
If you are considering having an artificial lawn installed, then we highly recommend you contact your nearest NeoGrass approved installer.
They can walk you through the installation process step-by-step and show you samples of our products.
Now we want to hear from you. Do you agree with our article? Have we missed anything? Why not leave us a comment below, as we would love to hear from you with any questions or comments you may have.