Artificial grass has come a long way since the early days. It was the sports industry that started it all off. They demanded a better surface on which to play. They wanted something that gave a consistent surface in any weather; snow, rain or sunshine. And, would look good under a domed arena with no natural sunlight at all, and which required little maintenance.
Where did it start?
In 1966, the newly-built Astrodome in Huston, Texas used a specific brand, Astroturf. Eventually, this became the colloquial name for any type of fake grass.
Although domestic Astroturf was available in the 1970s it was expensive and not very good quality. People wanted an artificial lawn that would look good all year round, didn’t get muddy and was great for kids to play on. Unfortunately, if your kids fell over or skidded on the false grass, they would end up with friction burns as if they’d fallen on a cheap synthetic carpet. For what it was, the cost of artificial grass just wasn’t worth the money.
Domestic uses of artificial grass kicked off in the 1990s. New types of synthetics improved the look and texture and people realised that an artificial lawn could look great just about anywhere and especially in a region of low rainfall.
Artificial grass today
Nowadays the synthetics have improved immensely, so that you can’t tell, just by looking, whether the grass is real or synthetic.
Let’s move on and look at how much fake grass will set you back.
The cost of laying artificial grass will vary depending on a variety of factors.
Most types of grass come in two different widths, 2m and 4m. All you do is to measure the length needed. Artificial grass prices are given per square metre.
Type of grass
Various types of lawn have different purposes. For example, turf can look luscious all year round or can be designed for high impact play. Texture and pile length will vary depending on type as well.
Purpose of grass
You might be upgrading your front or back garden, or creating a play area for your pet. You might even use it as ‘carpet’ in the kid’s refurbished bedroom or playroom. Doesn’t matter what the purpose is, there will always be a type of cheap artificial grass with a colour, texture and pile length suitable for your purposes.
Type of shockpad
A shockpad is a water-permeable underlay laid beneath the grass. It’s made from fused foam pieces and provides springiness to the turf. It also provides an excellent way for rainwater to drain away. They come as interlocking tiles with an area of 2m2. Dimensions of the tiles are 2.25m x 0.95m so that the shockpad’s edges don’t align with the turf’s. Once again, the thickness of the shockpad will depend on the purpose of the lawn. For example, kiddies’ play areas will have a thicker shockpad than a purely decorative lawn.
The extras used include
- A geotextile weed membrane to prevent vegetation from pushing through the layers. It comes in a standard width of 4m and you buy the correct length to suit your lawn.
- Use jointing adhesive with jointing tape to ensure that one roll of turf joins perfectly with the next. Also, use the jointing adhesive as a spot ‘glue’ for fixing the turf to concrete. The adhesive comes in an applicator tube requiring only the use of a mastic gun. One tube covers approximately three linear metres of jointing tape so you can calculate how many tubes you need.
- Use jointing tape with adhesive. The tape is 20cm wide and ensures a beautiful transition from one grass section to another.
The preparation of the site often gets forgotten. The surface should be as smooth as possible with no bumps or differences in level. Although you’ll use a shockpad, and this will disguise many small irregularities, it’s not a substitute for thorough preparation.
Artificial grass cost calculator
|Lawn area (m2)
||Shockpad cost (£/m2)
||Turf cost (£/m2)
||Total shockpad cost (£)
||Total turf cost (£)
||Total artificial lawn cost £
||£30 to £40
||£20 to £30
||£300 to £400
||£200 to £300
||£500 to £700
||£30 to £40
||£20 to £30
||£600 to £800
||£400 to £600
||£1000 to £1400
||£30 to £40
||£20 to £30
||£1200 to £1600
||£800 to £1200
||£2000 to £2800
||£30 to £40
||£20 to £30
||£3000 to £4000
||£2000 to £3000
||£5000 to £7000
The table shows typical artificial grass prices for different sized lawns. You should be able to calculate your lawn’s area and compare it to these figures. Although these prices include VAT, they don’t include transport and handling and some manufacturers charge extra for this. Also, the prices don’t include jointing adhesive and tape, or how much for a gardener to lay the turf.
Remember that the artificial grass installation cost will vary depending on whereabouts you are in the country. London and the Southeast of England will be more expensive than these figures while the costs in other parts of the country will be significantly lower.
The best way to get a price for laying turf per square metre is to fill out the details on the quotation page and let us do the hard work of vetting and contacting a suitable contractor.
Artificial Grass FAQ
How to lay artificial grass
First, and before starting any work, make sure the ground drains suitably. If not, you’ll have to install some perforated land drains to remove the excess rainwater.
Always prepare the site thoroughly, by removing the real grass turf to a depth of 75mm and levelling the exposed ground with at least 50mm of sand. Spray the area with weedkiller. If laying synthetic grass on concrete, make sure to repair any cracks or holes.
Assuming the ground is flat, lay the geotextile weed membrane, pegging it to the ground with galvanized or stainless steel ‘U’ shaped pins. Don’t forget to overlap the joints.
Add hardcore and sand and compact enough to form a hard permeable layer. Install the shockpad tiles.
Unroll the synthetic turf and allow the creases to fall out. Choose which way you want the grass pile to fall. You’ll find that the pile will look better from different angles.
Cut and lay the turf as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Some brands recommend different installation methods so be sure to read and follow them carefully.
For best results, it’s often recommended to sprinkle kiln dried soft sand across the turf and brush it into the pile.
Can I install artificial grass myself?
Yes, it’s relatively easy to install artificial grass if you are able-bodied, practically minded, enjoy digging and follow the installation instructions. But, if you’re not confident, bear in mind that you’ve paid a lot of money to buy a good quality covering, so it makes sense to have a fully qualified gardener or landscaper to do the work.
Can you lay artificial grass directly on soil?
If you do this, you’ll find that weeds will push up through the surface seeking some sunlight. Use a good quality geotextile weed membrane first, followed by a layer of sand. Then lay shockpad tiles followed by the synthetic turf.
How do you tighten fake grass?
Sometimes when the synthetic turf is unrolled, you’ll see creases or wrinkles. This is normal and is simple to remedy.
First, roll out the grass completely and allow to settle for a couple of hours.
If you see wrinkles, brush the grass on and around the affected area. If there’s a crease near the edge, pull the edge to smooth it out, and leave it for about 30 minutes to settle.
Turn the grass over and pull the area out again.
Finally, roll the grass tight and leave it for a couple of days. This will help to stretch the backing and sort out any creases.
What are the disadvantages of artificial grass?
First and foremost, artificial grass is expensive. It needs a lot of ground preparation to install correctly and the materials don’t come cheap.
Normal grass has a cooling effect in the middle of summer, unfortunately, synthetic turf doesn’t have this effect. The temperature of the lawn will vary depending on the colour you choose (a light colour will be cooler than a darker colour) and the type of shockpad will also affect the temperature. If you experience particularly hot summers it might be worthwhile installing a water irrigation system before laying the turf.
How do you prepare the ground for laying artificial grass?
Remove the existing grass and spray area with weedkiller.
Water the soil, dig and turn down to a depth of 5 to 10cm.
Break up clods, remove roots, stones and general debris. Rake the soil to a fine texture to even out any bumps and hollows. Try to have a finished surface that is either flat or has gentle and even contours.
If necessary use a mixture of fine stone chippings and sand and compact this with a garden roller. You should end up with a hard and firm surface, that’s permeable to water.
How do you kill weeds in artificial grass?
While installing, remove the turf and dig to a depth of about 5 to 10cm. Remove any obvious roots and other debris. Add copious amounts of weed killer (follow manufacturer’s instructions at all times).
Make sure that any rainwater drains from the surface, otherwise, moss and other weeds will gain a hold in the stagnant puddles.
How long will artificial grass last?
Depending on the amount of wear and tear your artificial grass suffers over the years, it can give you up to 20 years of maintenance-free life. All artificial grass is ultraviolet light stabilised, won’t fade and the pile won’t flatten. Therefore, it should last and look good for many years to come.
Are there any regulations for artificial grass?
Yes, there are. Always check with your local council before you lay any artificial grass. Normally you won’t need it, but if you live in a conservation area then you will need planning permission. As I said, you probably won’t need it but there’s no harm in checking first.
Building regulations regarding surface water drainage must be adhered to. Generally, if you follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions, then any surface water should take care of itself. However, it’s always worthwhile getting further advice from the Building Control office in case you need to install extra drainage methods to comply with the rules.
Finding A Gardener to lay turf
Finding a gardener who can lay synthetic grass turf might be difficult. Although it’s relatively easy to do the job, fake grass costs a lot to buy so you’ll want the installation done properly. You can either find a contractor locally to do the work, in which case you’ll have to vet their qualifications yourself. Or, you can complete the form included on this website. Not only will you receive quotes from a contractor near to where you live, but the contractors will be people who we’ve already checked out.