Artificial grass is controversial. Once seen as a tempting alternative to keep your garden looking great all year round, it's since been engulfed by concerns about its environmental impact. There are even calls for it to be banned altogether.
Nevertheless, there may be circumstances where it might be a pragmatic choice. For instance, if you want to create a children's play area in a shaded north-facing garden where real grass won't grow.
If you do decide that artificial grass is your only option, there are things you can do to mitigate the environmental impact (see below).
Bear in mind, too, that even many current owners of artificial grass regret their decision. According to a recent survey by the insurance firm Churchill, nearly three in five respondents (58%) said they wanted to remove their artificial grass, and almost half (44%) said they were concerned about the environmental consequences.
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Is artificial grass bad for the environment?
Overall, yes. Although most products have some kind of environmental impact, there are good reasons why artificial grass is particularly bad.
The damage begins beneath the surface: most worms and soil insects that thrive under a real lawn can't survive under a synthetic one. This displacement disrupts the soil ecology, leading to unknown long-term effects. Above the surface, an artificial lawn can't provide the necessary nutrients to sustain birds and other garden wildlife, including bees.
Artificial grass is often made of virgin plastic and lasts 10-15 years. Not only does its manufacture require significant energy and resources, but when it's time to replace it, the plastic often can't be recycled. This means that most is destined for landfill or incineration. Synthetic grass also brings the potential hazard of loose fibres, adding to microplastic pollution.
Finally, while real grass plays a role in mitigating climate change by converting carbon dioxide into oxygen, artificial grass simply can't do this.
How to make artificial grass less environmentally damaging
If artificial grass is your only viable choice, there are some ways to alleviate its environmental impact.
For a start, consider limiting the area you intend to cover with artificial grass. If you're creating a play area, for instance, leave a border of natural soil around the edge. This will provide a habitat for soil-dwelling creatures and help maintain the local ecology.
You can also grow insect-friendly flowers in pots or in the remaining soil around your artificial turf. Not only will this add colour and vibrancy to your garden, but it will also offer much-needed nourishment for bees and other crucial pollinators.
A growing number of artificial-grass manufacturers now offer schemes to take back old synthetic turf for repurposing or proper disposal. By choosing one of these companies, you'll help encourage the industry at large to develop better recycling processes for old artificial grass.
If you'd prefer to spruce up your garden with real grass instead, see our how to lay turf to make a lawn guide
How much does artificial grass cost?
Fake turf is expensive compared with real turf (which typically costs around £6 per square metre). Artificial grass can cost anything from £15 per square metre – on a par with carpet. Premium-quality artificial grass, designed to look and feel like the real thing, can cost as much as £60 per square metre. Most artificial grasses come in rolls that are 2 or 4 metres wide.
But remember, the grass is only part of the equation. You also need to consider the cost of installation, which typically involves preparing the ground, laying a weed membrane, spreading and compacting a sub-base of sand or other material, and finally, laying the artificial grass. You could try laying it yourself, but if you want a level lawn and a good finish, it’s probably best to employ a local landscaper or an artificial lawn specialist to fit it for you.
Many manufacturers will offer to fit the grass for you, and prices vary depending on the complexity of your garden. The prices quoted for fitting a 50sq m area range from £2,650 upwards. Be sure to do your research and take advantage of any price-match offered by various professionals to keep the costs down.
Keep your real grass looking fresh with ourbest lawn treatments
Artificial grass we've tested
In 2021, we tested 13 types of mid-priced artificial grass to see which looked the most natural, even after it had been subjected to some tough wear and tear. The highest rated artificial grass we found looks from a distance like the real thing, but low-scoring options are let down by weak backing material that struggles to keep the grass secure.
Because of the environmental implications and sustainability concerns associated with artificial grass, we don't have any Best Buys and have no plans to test any more artificial grass products.
If you are planning to install it, do make sure you read our advice on how to make artificial grass less environmentally damaging.
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|Ease of installation||Appearance||Routine cleaning||Overall test score|
Sticking with real grass? See thebest lawn feed with moss and weed killer
Types of artificial grass
There are three materials used in the production of artificial grass, each with their pros and cons.
Nylon artificial grass
Artificial grass made with nylon is better protected against the elements than polypropylene grass. Nylon is a particularly strong type of plastic fibre, so if you're looking for an artificial lawn that can withstand children and pets, consider nylon grass.
Polyethylene artificial grass
This is a good option if you want to keep costs down. Polyethylene artificial turf has a natural look and a texture that's soft to the touch, like real grass. You obviously won't be running a lawn mower over it, but remember to brush or rake it occasionally.
Polypropylene artificial grass
Although polypropylene grass will usually be your cheapest option, it's also the least durable type. As a result, it's best to use this grass in small spots rather than for large lawns.
Artificial grass features
Most of us think of artificial grass as being a fake-looking dark green. But a range of tones are available, and many include strands of brown fibre and 'grass blades' of varying heights to simulate a normal lawn.
It’s well worth researching the colours and finishes thoroughly and requesting samples of the different materials to make sure they fulfil your requirements. With artificial grass, you generally get what you pay for.
The cheapest products look like the sort of bright green baize used by greengrocers, which is OK on a pitch-and-putt golf course, but not what you want in a garden.
Some of the the mid-priced grasses have individual strands of plastic that look remarkably similar to real grass. The strands are held upright by brushing a layer of fine sand into the pile. The sand will have to be renewed every year, and might need brushing occasionally to keep the strands upright.
Where to buy artificial grass?
In addition to the brand retailers mentioned previously, below we've included the top five most searched-for retailers for artificial grass:
- B&M offers a range of artificial grasses, as well as adhesive joining tape for installing. It doesn't have a delivery service, though, so you'll need to be able to get to a store.
- B&Q has lots of different types of artificial grass, in addition to underlays, pins, nails and adhesives. B&Q also sells a range of tools and equipment that can be used to maintain your artificial lawn. It offers free standard delivery on orders over £75, a click-and-collect service and a 90-day returns policy.
- The Range sells a wide selection of artificial grass and cleaning products. It has more than 200 outlets across the country, but you can also order online. Next-day delivery costs between £4.95 and £19.95 depending on the size of your order.
- Wickes has a few different types of artificial grass. It also stocks tools and cleaning products to help you maintain your artificial grass, including leaf blowers and pressure washers. Wickes offers free delivery on orders over £85, a free click-and-collect service and free returns.
- Homebase stocks artificial grass and a range of tools to help you maintain it. It also has a handy one-hour click-and-collect service from any of its stores. Homebase also has free delivery on orders over £100.
What do you put under artificial grass?
You’ll need to remove any existing turf, then create a firm, level surface topped with a 25-35mm layer of coarse sand.
Some artificial grass manufacturers also recommend laying a weed-proof membrane, depending on how densely woven the artificial grass is.
Bear in mind that replacing real grass with artificial grass severely disrupts soil ecology - the long-term effects of which are still unknown.
Already chosen an artificial grass type? See our guide onhow to lay artificial grassfor expert tips on laying and maintaining
Do weeds grow through artificial grass?
Yes, weeds can grow through artificial grass. But it's much less likely to happen if you prepare the ground properly and install a weed-proof membrane.
See our round-up of thebest weed-supressing membranes
How long will artificial grass last?
Some manufacturers claim you can get a decade or two out of an artificial lawn. But it all depends on how well it's laid, how well it's maintained, the level of foot traffic it endures, weather conditions and what's placed on top and underneath it.
Artificial grass won't last as long as real lawn, though, so if you're after a longer term investment - and a more ecologically friendly one - we'd recommend laying turf instead.
Follow our tips onhow to lay real turf to make a lawn
How we test artificial grass
For each type of artificial grass we test, we pay close attention to the following:
- Heat resistance We tip boiling water over the fake grass, and drop a hot disposable barbecue on to it to see if it melts.
- Installation We rate the instructions, where provided, and how easy it is to install the grass on a flat area of ground.
- AppearanceWe leave the grass outside for six months, driving a wear machine over it to see how well the joins hold together and how well the grass stands up to heavy use.
- Cleaning We let mud and leaves accumulate on the lawn before cleaning them off using a leaf blower and a hose. We even make up a mix of treacle, oats and soil to simulate dog mess, and leave it to settle on the lawn over a weekend before cleaning it.
Renovating your outdoor space? See our guides ongarden furniture,hot tubs and thebest plants for bees.
In fact, there are a lot of things to consider before you decide where to buy glasses. Some of the most important factors include the quality of frames and lenses, total price, customer service and accessibility.Does it matter where you buy your glasses? ›
In fact, there are a lot of things to consider before you decide where to buy glasses. Some of the most important factors include the quality of frames and lenses, total price, customer service and accessibility.Which company is best for eye glasses? ›
- Lenskart: Since 2010, Lenskart has been the top eyewear brand in India. ...
- Ray-Ban: ADVERTISEMENT. ...
- Burberry: Starting in 1856, Thomas Burberry created the Burberry eyewear brand in India as a luxurious brand. ...
- Calvin Klein: ...
- Prada: ...
- Gucci: ...
- Titan Eye Plus: ...
Costco charges $130 for high-definition progressive lenses, which, as with all Costco lenses, include an anti-reflective coating. That's about half what you'd pay at many walk-in stores. But if you need basic, plastic single-vision lenses, you can pay as little as $29 at Walmart, about half as much as at Costco.How much does a decent pair of glasses cost? ›
Because of this, glasses prices for corrective eyewear can cost anywhere from $50 to $1,000 or more. On average, prescription glasses cost around $200, though insurance can determine the final price.Why are glasses more expensive in store? ›
When you buy glasses from a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer, you're not just paying for the frame and lenses; you're also paying big money to cover the retailer's hefty outsourcing costs, which usually include manufacturing, licensing fees, warehousing, and more.Who is better LensCrafters or Visionworks? ›
LensCrafters isn't BBB accredited and has an F rating. Visionworks isn't BBB accredited and has a C- rating. Both have customer reviews based on the location. The best way to learn about reviews for your local LensCrafters or Visionworks is to check Google, Yelp or another review site using your zip code.Is it better to buy glasses from optometrist? ›
It may actually surprise you that there are many benefits to purchasing glasses from your optometrist. You may find warranty and after-sales service superior at your local optometrist versus an online provider, and there's no denying the customized service and expert knowledge you receive from an eye care professional.How to buy the best eyeglasses? ›
- Before you do anything, make sure your prescription is up to date. ...
- Decide what your budget is when it comes to buying new glasses. ...
- Find frames that suit your face shape and your personality. ...
- Get measured for glasses properly.
But the advantages that designer eyeglasses provide are about much more. Of course, there is always the trendiness factor, but designer glasses have much better construction and are far more durable than others that you can buy discounted on the internet or otherwise.
Luxottica Group S.p.A. is an Italian eyewear conglomerate based in Milan which is the world's largest eyewear company. As a vertically integrated company, Luxottica designs, manufactures, distributes, and retails its eyewear brands all through its own subsidiaries.Is it worth buying glasses from optometrist? ›
Significant Quality Difference. You can find every brand and style under the sun if you shop online between various retailers. However, those glasses that cost a fraction of the ones you get from your optometrist will almost always live up to their price.Is there a difference between cheap and expensive glasses? ›
When it comes to more expensive glasses, you'll benefit from added features and customization. While these added features aren't always necessary, they can sometimes make a drastic difference, especially if you have a demanding lifestyle or unique vision needs. With more expensive glasses, you have more options.Where is the cheapest place to buy prescription glasses online? ›
GlassesUSA is our top choice for cheap prescription glasses online. Its prices start at $39, including the lenses.