Artificial Grass vs. Decking: Which is Best for You?

The quest for a low-maintenance garden often leads you to consider a range of low-maintenance surfaces from paving, to decking, to artificial grass. While there’s certainly nothing stopping you from having all three, if you’re working with a small garden you may decide to choose artificial grass or a deck.

Both are options well worth your consideration, so in this article, we’re going to help you cut down on the time it takes for you to come to a decision and compare the pros and cons of each.

 

What are the Benefits of Artificial Grass?Artificial Grass

 

Artificial grass offers a huge range of benefits, as we’ll explore below, but it’s worth noting that we’re talking about the benefits of artificial grass from the point of view of having high-quality artificial grass installed, such as NeoGrass. If you simply go to the local home ware store and pick up whatever rolls they have in store, you can’t expect the same level of results. As we’ll talk about later, you really do get what you pay for.

  • Looks natural (but better!) – One of the biggest selling points of artificial grass is the way it looks. It retains a vibrant green color year-round and keeps a perfectly maintained profile.
  • Doesn’t encourage pests – lying or sitting out on the lawn is something we all think about when we imagine the perfect lawn, but nothing will ruin relaxing in the sun faster than feeling the skittering feet of an ant or spider. While artificial grass won’t eliminate all pests, you’ll find you have far fewer problems enjoying a nice time out in the garden since they’re far less likely to make a home there.
  • No maintenance needed – forget Sundays spent out in the garden mowing the lawn, trying to buy the right lawn food to get a full lawn, despite your shaded or full-sun garden, aerating, and more. Once your artificial grass is installed, there’s very little more for you to do.
  • Looks the same year-round – we touched on this already, but it deserves its own point. Artificial grass looks healthy and green year-round, so you won’t ever look out at your garden in the depths of winter and think about how depressing it looks. If you like to do a little gardening in good weather, a few pots or raised beds with winter flowers like pansies will make your garden a haven in all seasons.
  • Won’t be easily damaged by kids or pets – artificial grass, specifically NeoGrass, won’t be easily damaged, stained, or discolored by pets.
  • Fire resistance rating ­– NeoGrass is fire resistant, so won’t easily feed a fire if the worst was to happen.
  • Has a warranty – NeoGrass comes with a warranty of up to 10 years, which can certainly not be said about a living lawn!
  • Won’t aggravate hay fever – if you have even a little hay fever, you’ve likely covered your face or held your breath as you walked or even drove past someone cutting grass in the spring or summer. While the smell of cut grass may be pleasant for some, for those of us with hay fever, it smells like trouble! Installing artificial grass ensures you don’t have to deal with grass pollen from your own garden.
  • You don’t need to pay for maintenance – many of our NeoGrass customers like to enjoy the good life and that means they enjoy getting away for a holiday a few times a year. If you too like to leave your home behind from time to time, then you won’t have to worry about choosing between paying for someone to come and maintain your lawn while you’re away or coming home to find you’ve got a small jungle out there.
  • Softness – feeling the softness of well-maintained grass under your feet is one of life’s small pleasures, but the truth is, unless you slip off your sandals while walking across a lawn maintained by the National Trust’s top gardeners, or winners of the “Best Lawn” award, you’re going to feel the odd stone or spike underneath your feet. With artificial grass, you can get that carpet-like softness as soon as it’s installed.
  • Weed resistant or even weed-free – Weed sprays are often toxic and not environmentally, pet, or child-friendly, so it’s best to avoid using them if you can. Artificial grass is weed resistant, and if you pair it with a weed membrane you may be able to ward off all but the most persistent weeds.
  • Very easy to maintain – if you don’t have pets, you likely won’t need to do any maintenance on your artificial lawn. However, if you have pets or if you do some gardening in a nearby pot or flowerbed, then you may find you spill soil onto the grass. In any case, to maintain your grass simply wash it off with the hose or a bucket or two of water.
  • It’s possible to install alone – if you’re handy, it is possible to install NeoGrass without a professional installer. We generally recommend that our customers contact one of our trusted installation partners, but if you’re confident, you can install it yourself.

 

What are the Benefits of Decking?

Benefits of Decking

  • It’s a great place to entertain – if your home is on a foundation that’s significantly higher than your garden, a deck can prove an ideal place to entertain, especially if you use it to make the most of the natural light. A deck outside your back door can help extend your living space in good weather, and a deck at the end of your garden can help encourage people to take advantage of the full size of your garden and give you a south-facing area if your garden is north-facing.
  • Can increase home value – many believe that a quality deck can help increase your home’s value, though of course, this does vary on the deck, the market, and even the time of year. Don’t forget that a deck that has been recently installed may increase your home’s value, but one that’s been standing for 15 years and hasn’t been well maintained may pull the value of your home down.
  • Ideal for making the most of your view – if you’re lucky enough to have sweeping vista outside the back of your home, a deck is a great way to help you take advantage of it, especially if your garden falls away, so it’s not as easily seen from the ground.
  • There are new materials available – a classic timber deck will never go out of style, but they can degrade overtime. A composite deck or one made from recycled plastic will last longer, and many have a convincing finish.

 

What are the Cons of Artificial Grass?

Cons of Artificial Grass

  • You get what you pay for – as we mentioned at the beginning of the benefits for artificial grass section, you really do get what you pay for. That means that if you try to get your artificial grass on a budget and buy cheap grass, you’ll know about it. It may have a shiny, plastic look, feel sharp underfoot, or start to disintegrate after just a year or two of use.
  • If it does disintegrate, it will make a mess – leading on from our point above, if artificial grass does start to fall apart, it will make a mess. This can happen sooner than later for cheap artificial grass that hasn’t been made to withstand outdoor use year after year. For quality artificial grass, this likely won’t happen for decades, but like everything, it will start to break down eventually.
  • Professional installation can be expensive – depending on how big an area you’re planning to cover, professional installation can feel like an expensive and unnecessary expense. However, having the reassurance that someone that installs artificial grass day-in, day-out has installed your lawn is well worth the investment.
  • Will heat up more easily than live grass – this isn’t a big problem here in the UK, but we usually get 2-4 weeks a year where temperatures hit the high twenties up to the mid-thirties in the warmer months. While real grass generally stays cool, artificial grass will heat up. Fortunately, NeoGrass has Feelgood technology that helps to keep it up to 12 degrees cooler than the heat of the day, so it would have to be very hot (likely so hot you don’t want to sit out in it) for it to prove a problem. Click here to learn how to keep your artificial lawn cool in hot weather.
  • It will “look” artificial in the cold months – when everything starts to die off here in the UK, everything turns to shades of brown. That means that your beautiful, lively lawn will look artificial, simply because everything around it is dying. It’s certainly not a big deal, but if you’re hoping to fool your green-fingered neighbors, they’ll probably figure out that it’s artificial by January.
  • It will require cleaning if your pets use it as a bathroom – If your pets use your lawn as a bathroom, you will need to give it a wash down from time to time, especially during the summer. While the winter will probably keep it fairly clean from the frequent deluges, dry summers can cause odors to stick around if you don’t give everything a wash down from time to time. For more help on keeping your garden odor-free, click here.

 

What are the Cons of Decking?

  • Expensive to install – most people can’t install a quality deck on their own, and that means you need to pay to have one installed. While they’re often well worth the investment, they’re much more expensive to install than an artificial grass lawn.
  • You get what you pay for – if you cut corners and pay too little for installation or buy cheap timber, you’ll know about it when it’s done or within a few years.
  • It can catch on fire – if you’re daydreaming of firing up the grill out on the deck, move forward with caution. An unnoticed spark can lead you to have a big, burnt hole in your deck.
  • They attract pests – pests, especially rats, love decks. They provide them with a sheltered, safe space to nest. You can certainly take measures to avoid getting pests, but it’s something that’s worth keeping in mind.
  • Timber decks require annual maintenance – most decking professionals recommend you repaint or stain your timber deck on a yearly basis to keep it in good condition, which isn’t often a welcome chore.
  • They can be slippery in winter – decks can be notoriously slippery on frosty days, for humans and pets alike.

 

Is artificial grass or decking right for you?

Artificial Grass or Decking

Both are great options, though of course, artificial grass will always be our preference. When you’re trying to come to a decision, as yourself the following questions:

  • Do I want to add elevation?
  • Do I want a planted garden look?
  • Do I want to have space for children and/or pets to play?
  • How much maintenance do I want to do?
  • What’s my budget?
  • Will I want to entertain on it when it’s wet?

Ultimately, which you choose is up to your needs and personal preference. If you want to entertain your adult friends and make the most of a spectacular view, a deck may be the right way to go. However, if you want to give pets or children space to run and play, artificial grass will be best.

If you’re interested in learning more about NeoGrass and how it can transform your garden and how you use your outside space, click here.