What is the Cost of Artificial Grass?
So you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and get the beautiful lawn you’ve always wanted – without the mud, mess and maintenance that comes with having a real lawn.
But you have no idea about the cost of artificial grass or the cost to install artificial grass.
Unfortunately, there is no quick and easy answer when it comes to how much your new artificial lawn will cost as there are many variants that can affect the price.
Artificial grass is an investment, so it’s wise to do as much research as possible to ensure you understand the process and are able to choose an installer who is charging you a fair price.
We’ve written this guide to help give you an idea of some of the costs involved.
We’ve also tried to help you understand the various factors that affect the cost of artificial grass. These are the things that a professional installer will be looking for when he visits your property.
So let’s jump straight in.
What Type of Application is Required?
There are many different applications for artificial grass.
Most installations are carried out to replace an existing lawn in a back garden. However, synthetic grass can also be installed on concrete, paving or decking – although these applications require different installation methods.
Not only is AstroTurf used in residential gardens, but it can also be used inside the home – for example, as carpet in your child’s bedroom.
Due to the wide variety of uses, the installation methods employed will differ, and therefore the costs involved, will also vary. However, covering each different method in depth is beyond the scope of this particular article.
Everything in this guide is based upon replacing an existing real lawn with a fake lawn, as this is the most common type of artificial grass installation. We will be covering other methods in later articles.
How Much Artificial Grass Do You Need?
In order to get an idea of costs, the first step is work out how much artificial grass is needed to cover your lawn.
To do this, you’ll need a tape measure, a piece of paper and pencil.
Firstly, sketch the shape of your lawn.
Next, measure the width of your lawn. It’s very important to measure across the widest point when doing this.
Then do the same for the length, again making sure to measure the longest part of your lawn.
If your lawn is a simple rectangle, never assume that it is perfectly square as it often isn’t.
One very important thing to bear in mind is that artificial grass only comes in 2m or 4m widths. (The length can be anything up to 25m.)
This means that depending on the shape of your lawn, you may well have some wastage.
Even though the area of your lawn may only be 30m2, you may in fact need 35m2 (or more) of artificial grass to cover it.
If, for example, your lawn measures 4.2m across, it may be worth considering adjusting the width of the lawn to 4m, rather than buy another 2m roll and use only 0.3m of it.
This can be achieved by either:
- Increasing the size of an existing flower bed, or adding a new flower bed. (To keep this low-maintenance, you could install weed membrane then cover it with some decorative aggregate, such as slate chippings, and perhaps then introduce some plants contained within pots.)
- Installing some form of edging, such as a block paved edge or sleepers.
Although having wastage isn’t ideal, it generally can’t be avoided and after most installations there are some offcuts left over.
However, people tend to find useful things to do with these offcuts.
For example, artificial grass makes for an excellent doormat, budding golfers can practice their chipping on it, and it’s great for covering shelving in a greenhouse, or even covering old garden tables and chairs.
Use your imagination and you’ll be sure to think of something useful to do with the offcuts.
What Type of Artificial Grass Should You Choose?
Artificial grass comes in many different pile heights, colours and fibre shapes. It can also be manufactured using various plastics.
Therefore, artificial grass does vary in cost per square metre.
Generally, the shorter the pile, the cheaper the grass will be as less plastic is used.
Also, like most things, there are good quality and bad quality artificial grasses.
Finding out which are the good quality ones is not always easy.
What should I look for when choosing a suitable artificial grass?
A good place to start is to ask your manufacturer for some samples. This way you’ll get to inspect the artificial grass and get an idea of how the grass feels.
You’ll also want to find out exactly where your artificial grass is manufactured. As a general rule, grasses manufactured in Europe tend to be better quality than those made in China.
Chinese manufacturers compete with their European competitors on price. To do this, they tend to use inferior materials and processes. For example, the latex backing on Chinese grasses normally has a much higher sand content, which affects its strength.
Of course, the type of plastic used to create the synthetic fibres will have a bearing on cost.
Nylon, the hardest wearing plastic used in artificial grass manufacturing, is the most expensive.
Manufacturers also need to use some slightly different processes when working with nylon as it’s more difficult to work with than polypropylene and polyethylene – the two other types of plastic used.
Therefore it’s reasonable to assume that nylon-based products will be the most expensive.
For a hard-wearing, long-lasting grass we always recommend purchasing a fake turf made from nylon (polyamide) fibres.
However, there are some circumstances where you don’t necessarily need to choose the hardest wearing artificial grasses.
For example, a front garden lawn usually doesn’t get anywhere near as much use as a rear garden lawn and therefore either polyethylene or polypropylene fibres would make for a good choice here.
You can find out the artificial grass cost per square metre by viewing our range of products here. Remember, though, this doesn’t include installation.
The Condition of Your Existing Garden/Lawn
The condition of your existing garden will have an impact on the installation cost of artificial grass.
When installing an artificial lawn, it looks best if the lawn is level (a slight crown is ideal) and depending upon the levels of the existing lawn, additional time may need to be spent on the groundworks to achieve this.
Also, you may want your new lawn to be at the same height as existing patios or paths.
For example, you may have to step up to your existing lawn and if you wish to be able to walk from your garden path straight onto your artificial lawn, there will be additional excavation work involved, increasing the labour and waste disposal costs.
In some instances, an installer may be able to just skim the top off the existing grass and build up the sub-base from there, resulting in less excavation work. This will, of course, save on costs.
Some gardens can be over multiple levels, with steps to reach each level. This certainly doesn’t stop you from having a synthetic lawn, but it can mean that the installation takes a little longer to complete, again resulting in higher labour costs.
Are You A Dog Owner?
For pet owners, we recommend a slightly different installation method than for those installations that aren’t carried out with pets in mind.
All artificial grass is suitable for dogs and pets, but there are certain things to look for when choosing an artificial grass for dogs, as some grasses will perform better than others.
Advising what is best for dog owners is beyond the scope of this article, but should you require more information regarding artificial grass for dogs (including the cost of artificial grass for dogs) please read our article here.
How Big Is Your Lawn?
The bigger the lawn, the cheaper the installation cost of artificial grass per square metre – as you can save through economies of scale.
Aggregates generally come in bulk bags and usually the more you buy, the more negotiating power you have to get a better price.
Some builders’ merchants will charge you the same delivery fee to deliver eight bulk bags as they would just one.
It’s always worth checking with your supplier to see if they can offer you a better price if the aggregates are delivered in a ‘loose load’. This is when the aggregates are loaded straight onto a tipper lorry and tipped directly onto your property.
Suppliers will be able to offer you better rates for this, both because the bulk bags themselves cost money, and they also haven’t had to spend the time ‘bagging up’ the material.
The downside to this method is that you need to have a driveway that is large enough to accommodate a loose load, as it must be tipped on to your property.
You’ll most likely want to protect your driveway with a tarpaulin and/or sheets of plywood – this will add to cost if you don’t already have them.
You or your installer should weigh up the financial costs of both bulk bags and loose loads to see what will work best for your circumstances, though generally, for lawns less than 60m2, bulk bags are the way to go.
For larger lawns, not only do you save money on materials, but labour costs normally come down, too.
For example, it may take an installer two days to complete a 50m2 installation from start to finish. However, it’s likely that a 60m2 lawn can also be carried out within the same two-day timeframe, as there isn’t necessarily that much more work involved.
As always, contact a reputable local installer who can talk you through the various options and advise on the most economical way of installing your artificial lawn.
How Good Is Access to Your Garden?
When installing a new artificial lawn, the old lawn needs to removed and a sub-base (to lay the grass on) must be installed.
However, every garden is different.
Typically, access to a front garden is easier than to a rear garden.
Therefore, it’s reasonable to expect that a front garden artificial lawn will be cheaper than a rear garden installation.
Some rear gardens are easily accessed by back or side gates, while back gardens in some terraced houses can be only be accessed through the house itself.
Wheelbarrows to cart the excavations away and to bring the aggregates in is required for the groundworks stage of the installation and all of this must come through your property before reaching the garden.
There are very, very few installations where access can prevent an artificial grass installation, as wheelbarrows and rolls of artificial grass will fit through standard doorways.
The worst case scenario is that the job will take a little longer, and a little extra care will be required to ensure that nothing in your home gets damaged in the process.
This may mean laying protective sheeting and boards to cover the flooring in your home.
Of course, all this has a bearing on the cost of artificial grass installation.
If access is tight, you may need to consider using 2m rolls
It’s also important to consider whether 4m rolls would be a viable option if access is through your house only.
4m rolls can be difficult to manoeuvre around corners and therefore you’ll need a fairly straight run to be able to carry the roll through your house.
4m rolls can also be very heavy.
You should always be able to fit 2m rolls through, though, as these can be carried in a vertical position and therefore will fit through a standard doorway.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with only using 2m rolls to complete your installation – it may just mean there are additional joints to secure. But remember that these will add additional installation time, plus additional joining tape and artificial grass glue.
An ideal scenario would be where your garden backs onto a road or driveway, allowing a small truck to pull alongside and crane in the aggregates using a HIAB crane. This saves a lot of time and therefore labour.
Fortunately, it’s rarely impossible to install artificial grass in your garden, but how good the access is quite often dictates how long an installation will take, and obviously the longer it takes, the higher the labour costs involved.
Artificial Grass Installation Cost
A common question we’re asked is, ‘How much does artificial grass installation cost?’
As you’ll now be aware, this varies depending upon the circumstances, as described earlier in this article.
However, to give you an idea, we are now going to give you an overview of the cost to install artificial grass.
Professional Artificial Grass Installation Cost
Clearly, a DIY installation is always going to be cheaper than hiring a professional artificial grass installer.
However, we always recommend hiring an experienced installer as they’ll be well versed in best installation practices and techniques – which can save you stress and money in the long run.
As mentioned above, there are also various installation methods and an experienced tradesman can advise you on the best one to meet your individual needs and circumstances.
How much will the average artificial lawn cost?
For us to provide you with accurate costs for professional artificial grass installation within this article is no easy task.
Materials, labour and waste disposal costs will vary depending on where you are in the UK.
But this example will give you an idea, based upon a typical artificial lawn of 50m2:
Assuming access is good, there is minimal wastage, and a typical installation method is carried out, you may expect to pay somewhere between £2,500 and £3,500 including VAT, materials, waste disposal and labour.
Of course, this really is only a very rough guide and the only way to get an accurate price is contact a couple of local installers and ask them to conduct a site visit and provide you with a written quotation.
When providing you with a quotation, a professional installer will need to measure your lawn in order to calculate the quantities and costs of the following:
- The size and number of artificial grass rolls required (including wastage).
- The volume of material to be excavated and waste disposal costs (usually done through hiring a skip).
- The volume of aggregates required to install the sub-base (usually ordered to the nearest ‘bulk bag’).
- The quantity of weed membrane required.
- The type of edging to be installed (if any).
- How much joining tape and adhesive will be needed (if joints are required).
- How long the installation will take from start to finish (labour costs).
Once your installer has the answers to these questions, they’ll be able to provide you with a written quote.
Another benefit of using a professional is that they’ll have good links with local suppliers, and therefore have access to cheaper prices for materials than a DIY’er would.
DIY Artificial Grass Installation Costs
Although artificial grass installation is usually best left to the pros, it is possible to install your own fake lawn if you have basic DIY skills, time and a little bit of patience.
What tools will I need?
Of course, having the right tools for the job is essential. You’ll need the following basic tools:
- Stanley knife (along with lots of sharp blades).
If you’re installing an edging made either from timber, composite plastic timber, sleepers or some form of paving, you’ll also require additional tools, depending on the type of edging that you choose.
You may also need to borrow or visit your local tool hire shop in order to obtain the following:
- Vibrating plate compactor – usually around £50 for a day’s hire.
- Turf cutter. Although not essential, if you’ll be removing an existing lawn, a turf cutter will make this process a breeze – it’ll cut up your old lawn into strips which is then easily removed. This will save you the potentially back-breaking task of digging up the lawn with a spade. This can normally be hired for between £50-£80 per day.
What materials will I need?
Now that you have the correct tools to hand, you’ll need to source the aggregates required to install the sub-base and laying course. For a standard artificial lawn installation, this would mean bulk bags of MOT Type 1 and 0-6mm granite dust.
Your local builders’ merchant should be able to source these materials.
There’s a lot of variation in prices throughout the UK, but Type 1 is likely to cost you somewhere between £40 and £60 per bulk bag (a bulk bag is typically 850kg). Type 1 will need to be installed to a minimum depth of 50mm.
Granite dust is sometimes a little more difficult to source, but you should be looking at somewhere between £50 and £80 per bulk bag. Again, please check with your local suppliers as prices do vary depending on where in the UK you live.
To calculate the amount of aggregate you’ll need to for your artificial lawn, check out our handy calculators.
How long will it take?
A typical 50m2 lawn may take a two-man professional team two days to install. For a DIY’er installing for the first time, it’s reasonable to expect the same 50m2 installation to take twice as long.
Depending on the size of the rolls that you’ll need, you’ll certainly want to consider getting some help from a friend when it comes to lifting your artificial grass into position, as it can be very heavy and awkward to manoeuvre.
Please take care when doing this – the more friends and family you can recruit, the better.
Visit the ‘How to install artificial grass’ page of our website for a step-by-step guide to a basic artificial lawn installation; you’ll be sure to find our handy ‘How to install artificial grass’ infographic equally useful.
Asking ‘How much does artificial grass cost?’ can sometimes conjure up answers like ‘How long is a piece of string?’
Every garden and every situation is unique, so it’s impossible for us to advise a firm cost per square metre.
The purpose of this article was to try to give you a better understanding of the costs involved in transforming your tired, patchy lawn into a beautiful artificial lawn.
With regard to artificial grass installation costs, our closing advice would be to contact two or three reputable installers in your local area and ask them to conduct a site visit.
Using their experience, they will know the best methods to use to complete the installation and the most economical way of doing it.
If you have any questions regarding this article, or anything to do with artificial grass in general, feel free to leave a message below.
To view the NeoGrass range of artificial grasses, including prices, please click here.