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The Pros and Cons of Artificial Grass (Plus What Dogs Think!)

Ive had my artificial grass for eight years.

It is a top-of-the-range 50ml pile-height product.

I love it, but I still have issues.

Below, I will give you the pros and cons of artificial grass, and you can decide.

I’ll also let you know what my two golden retrievers think!

what i like and don't like about my artificial grass

The Pros and Cons of Installing Artificial Grass From My Experience

If you want to improve your garden, you can choose from a wide range of products: gardening equipment and tools, plants, flowers, trees, shrubs, and artificial grass.

Yes, artificial grass.

Artificial grass, also known as synthetic turf, is made of artificial fibres that look like natural grass.

Here is an image of my lawn installed by an artificial grass company in the Northeast

We play on this even when it’s drizzling.

a large artificial grass installation
This is my artificial lawn on the day it was finished

It is usually used in sports arenas but is quickly gaining popularity in residential and commercial environments. 

It provides users with many more benefits that most people don’t realise.

We completed our artificial grass installation in June 2018.

Here's What We Like About Our Artificial Turf.

No Muddy Paws Or Boots

Do you ever look at the garden and think I can’t even let them play out?

Subconsciously, you’re thinking, I really can’t have all that mud strolled through the house.

Well, you and the other 95% of UK homeowners combined. 

Natural lawns in the UK winters can become complete bogs of mud and puddles. 

Even if they appear dry, they are unlikely to be bone dry, which results in muddy boots and paws. 

Fake grass is different. It couldn’t be more different.

An adequately installed artificial lawn will drain much like a patio or driveway.

Underneath, compacted aggregates will allow the water to drain quickly and efficiently, and the surface will dry even quicker.

This will allow your little one or dogs to use the lawn all year round without yellow wee patches or walking paw prints through the house.

Pet-Friendly: Our Dogs Love This Fake Lawn

We have two golden retrievers. They love our artificial grass and have no interest in digging or trying to destroy it.

It’s quite the opposite.

Come warmer weather, the false grass warms up a little, and we enjoy sitting on it, playing games, and doing family stuff!

The dogs are often found rolling around or asleep on it, too. 

Because, unlike a natural lawn, this synthetic surface does not hold any natural smells; No more dogs digging.

It’s the same to them as a rug indoors. 

They wouldn’t dig that, so why dig this?

Weeing & Pooping 

The dogs will wee on it, and the rain will clean the grass well so that you will be happy.

We have a large area and haven’t noticed any smells or anything untoward.

If you have a tiny area used constantly as a dog toilet, you would need to deodorise it. 

If they poop, we pick up pet waste and rinse it.

Low Maintenance, You Can Throw Away Your Lawn Mower

Throwing away the lawnmower (even a fancy cordless one) is what everyone probably wants to do, but it’s more than that.

One of the biggest artificial grass advantages is you can throw out anything that has to do with lawn care.

In the years we have had our artificial grass installed, we have had to do nothing other than pick up the odd dog poo and weed the borders (more on that later)

Our area is pretty rural, and leaves and garden debris blow on and off the lawn all year long. 

I should invest in a garden shredder.

But it does not bother me; not much bothers the artificial grass.

The term “low maintenance” rather than “maintenance-free” is used for artificial grass primarily because it lacks upkeep.

Although artificial grass significantly reduces gardening chores, it is not immune to weeds.

Weeds can sprout from seeds that land and embed in the sand infill to weigh down the grass.

While this occurrence is less frequent than natural turf, any weeds that appear must be manually removed. 

This minimal maintenance ensures the artificial grass remains in good condition.

The installation was sheeted with a weed membrane before the turf was laid. 

On average, I pick ten a year. 

I can’t say it’s weed-resistant because it’s not, but pulling one here and there keeps it practically weed-free.

If the actual lawn meets gravel or a soil border, that is discussed below in the cons section.

Synthetic Turf Looks Great 365 Days A Year 

Following on from the maintenance section, one of the biggest reasons to buy artificial grass is its appearance.

Most reputable artificial grass companies will provide extended guarantees for colour fading. The colour adds to the garden all year round, which is a big selling point. 

As you will see from the photo below, taken in November, how else can you get that colour at that time of year?

Providing no snow, that synthetic grass garden will look like that on Christmas day.   

After eight years, a quick weeding and tidy-up leave our artificial grass looking as pristine as when it was first installed.

Drains Quickly And Drys Even Quicker

artificial grass does not hold water and can be used in the rain
This fake grass is used in nearly every type of weather.

Most people need to realise that the turnaround time for using an artificial lawn after a shower or heavy rain is rapid; in my experience, once the rain stops, we can play on it for 10 minutes. 

Compared to a natural lawn, real grass cannot compete with usage times.

No Need To Water, Reduce Those Monthly Bills

One of the coolest advantages of artificial grass is the reduction of water bills. 

Granted, these money savings won’t be enough to retire on, but if you’ve ever tried to nurture a perfect lawn in the past, you will know it requires a lot of watering, and it’s ongoing.

You can get it where you want it, and then, in one warm month without much rain, it will die out quickly.

Life is a lot easier now; I only have to do the hanging baskets.  

No Pesticides Or Fertilisers 

Many people are anti-artificial turf. They say it’s no good for garden creatures, worms, slugs, etc.

How true any of that is, I don’t know.

I can roll my lawn back and still see plenty of insects, and the rainwater drains through fine as the grass is permeable. 

Pesticides, fertilisers, and weed killers are harmful to the environment.

There is nothing good about those being constantly sprinkled onto a lawn.

It’s not good for the pocket, either. I am happy those items are no longer in my trolley at B&Q.

Additionally, it eliminates any carbon emissions that originate from lawnmowers that use fuel.

Ideal For Children Of All Ages 

Kids playing football on a fake lawn
As you can see this artificial grass takes a hammering

Kids (and maybe dads) are the biggest winners of having artificial grass installed. 

I get that older people don’t want to maintain grass, so they find it an ideal option, but they will only use it to part of the extent children will. 

Our lawn is 100% child-friendly, and they maximise it. 

From 5-aside goals to paddling pools with trampolines, the artificial grass installation can double as a children’s playground.

Disclaimer: put padding pools and trampolines on the grass at your own risk; You’re not supposed to and could void your warranties.

Cons of Artificial Grass

Below are some of the disadvantages of artificial grass compared to natural grass lawns.

The list is not exhaustive, as, in my opinion, artificial grass offers more benefits than disadvantages.

Cost of Installation

The number one reason more people do not have artificial grass is the cost.

We discuss the cost of artificial grass installation here, but no matter the size of your garden, it will be in the thousands.

That’s a big jump from average turfing costs.

I’ve viewed it as an investment; with two small children, having a useable lawn every day has brought us hundreds of hours of fun and memories, so I am ok with what I paid.

I also had an interest in the company back then, so I should have paid more!

Weeds Around the Borders

If you take anything from this post, it should be this!

Please do not fill the border areas around your new artificial grass with soil or gravel. 

The soil may be ok, but I used gravel.

It looked amazing at first, but weeds grow in gravel; seedlings are airborne, and they love dropping on gravel.

Once they take hold, they twist and merge with the fake grass edges, making cleanup a nightmare.

Even using weed killers first, it still takes ages to get them right.

Ongoing Maintenance Costs

One job you should get done every year is mechanical brushing. Is it optional? 

Yes, of course it is. If you have a small lawn, then do it yourself.

But if you have 50sq/m or more, pay an artificial grass firm to have it mechanically brushed.

I pay £100 – £150 a year, and the results are dramatic; you see, I mentioned earlier I have a 50ml pile height, which is super tall.

With constant use, and I mean daily, the pile gets flattened. Not straight away, but over time, even the best artificial grass will go flat.

The same mechanical brush was used when they first installed the grass, and it’s totally flat.

The lawn fibres bounce back almost instantly, and what a difference it makes.

Ive listed this as one of the drawbacks of artificial grass because brushing fake turf is challenging work, or you need to pay.

We don’t like either of those options!

Cheap Artificial Grass Ruins It for Everyone

There are a million types of artificial grass in the UK right now, and most are cheap and nasty.

In my opinion, 8ml and 10ml grass are good for absolutely nothing.

The fibres crush and flatten virtually straightaway, and you struggle to brush them up because they’re so short.

Also, realistic artificial grass is expensive.

Sure, you can tell the difference between real grass and artificial grass, but you will still be impressed.

More so, you’ll think, I want that in my garden.

Budget grass does not look real; it looks plastic, and worse, it seems like green plastic!

The con is that many people have a bad experience because the market is flooded with cheap fake lawns.

Before you buy request samples, shoot for 30ml pile height and above. 

Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Applying Sand Infill

Again, you probably won’t need it, but it costs pennies and takes an hour or two every year, and I like to do it.

It keeps the grass blades upright and is part of general artificial grass maintenance. 

When I can, I have it done at the same time it’s being brushed.

I have the sand ready, and it’s easy work for an artificial grass brush to push sand back in.

Should You Go For an Artificial Grass Garden? 

Artificial grass is always ready for play, a trait that cannot be said of natural grass in harsh weather.

Since this is a similar type of grass used in sporting facilities, it is easy to see why artificial grass allows you to play even when the weather changes. 

Artificial grass also ensures that your home and driveway remain clean, eliminating puddles and mud spots that are usually issues with real grass.

The fact that artificial grass does not need mowing means that it is currently cost-effective, more so in the long run.

It also presents convenience to homeowners who, for one reason or another, cannot mow their lawns. 

The elderly and the physically challenged are among the people who will benefit from this type of grass.

For more of our thoughts and ideas about artificial grass it’s here.

About The Author

John, owner of Easigrass North East for seven years, has lived and breathed landscaping. He evolved from running a leading paving and landscaping business to influencing the industry through online publishing. His real-world experience and hands-on background inform his genuine, insightful guidance for others navigating this space.

Read more from John

Meet The Author - John

The former owner of Easigrass North East, a significant landscaping player known for leading successful paving and garden companies, is now sharing his expert insights.

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