Artificial grass or artificial turf is a manufactured surface made from synthetic fibres that appear to be real natural grass. Originally only used in sports venues, it has become a popular alternative for commercial and residential property owners desiring a low-maintenance surface. One of the major benefits of this type of turf is its ability to withstand the harshest weather conditions without being damaged. It is also commonly used as an alternative to natural grass in public areas and schools to ensure safety.
Many modern day stadiums are constructed with artificial grass, which can also be used in schools to enhance safety and functionality for the pupils. This has led to a gradual decline in the use of real grass by sporting venues, which has been attributed to the fact that the surfaces are far more durable and can withstand the harshest conditions. Commercial property is not the only application for synthetic grass; they are now widely used within residential and even commercial properties. Synthetic turf is ideal for gardens, parks and recreational areas. The advantages of using synthetic grass in these areas are that it requires virtually no maintenance, is easily available and can be installed quickly.
The first synthetic turf was developed in Australia, with the intention of aiding the construction of new sports venues. The material was primarily polyethylene, which was later adapted to different colours and finishes. The polyethylene was later chosen due to the ease of installation, colour flexibility and durability. The installation process involved laying the strands of polyethylene over an appropriate base material and then feeding the material into the soil, creating a strong base for the grass to grow on. The final result was a durable and hard wearing surface, which had virtually no maintenance requirements.
In the early 1990s, an American company approached the Rhode Island State Department with an application for an electronic system to be used to manage water drainage around sports facilities. This was the first of the applications of artificial grass, which has proved extremely successful and popular. The initial cost of installing this system was minimal, and the amount of water needed to keep it moist enough for the grass to thrive was minimal. It also added value to the real estate as it increased the marketable area of the land. Today, many colleges, golf courses, sporting centres and other landscape installations are using synthetic turf on a large scale.
The state of California is perhaps best known for the widespread use of artificial grass, which has been especially useful for golf courses due to the nature of the climate there. The state of Texas, home of the famous Dallas Cowboys, also benefits from its warm and humid climate. Both areas benefit from their use of turf lawn because of the water savings they provide, especially for golf courses where the water used to water the natural grass would otherwise have to be spent. One advantage of installing synthetic grass is that it can be used for public places like parks and recreational areas, which means that more space is available to the general public for other uses.
In the UK, many rural areas suffer from poor drainage which prevents water from being freely available and eliminates the need for water-based sports activities. Because of these problems, artificial turf products are now widely used to solve the drainage issues. One of the advantages of installing synthetic grass is that it does not need to be mowed very often, reducing the time of the maintenance. Another benefit of using synthetic turf products is that it produces a healthier environment for people, with less usage of pesticides and herbicides which pollutes the soil.