The history of artificial or fake grass is to say the least an interesting one and arose out of the social desire to in-effect ward off what could be seen, as far back as the 1950s, as an increasingly unhealthy tendency by youngsters not to exercise.
History has it that birth of synthetic grass began through attempts by scientists trying to develop a type of grass that would not only allow children and adolescents to play on regardless of the weather condition but encouraged them to do so, in other words, a surface that they enjoyed using or a user friendly surface. Hence the advent of fake or artificial grass.
The result was one of the early prototypes of what we now know to be fake or artificial grass. The earlier types were not only hard under foot and made for impracticality especially where sports and children were concerned given the tendencies to fall but were very unpopular. Conversely, however, in terms of workability and endurance this surface proved itself worthy, with the originally playing field where the fake grass surface was installed lasting twenty years of solid wear.
Claims that in terms of practicalities due to poor drainage and its tendency to rot fake grass has limited applicability are unsubstantiated. Furthermore, highly contentious arguments revolving around the argument that artificial grass causes more on-field injuries when used in sports-grounds is again unfounded and may be derived from factions wanting to see this type of surfacing a thing of the past. The claim by the industry is that if laid correctly no problems should occur. In fact, if anything, this type of surface should encourage better drainage enabling competitive sports to continue play with less interruption time due to rain.
Today the advances in artificial grass surfaces are enormous and can’t be down-played. It is common practice to no longer use asphalt as an underlay beneath the surface of the grass which has increased the shock absorption provided by the grass, decreased the retention of heat during summer and further improving the drainage ability of the grass. Finally and possibly most importantly no longer does fake grass look, both on and off T.V like the earlier versions of fake grass, that is, FAKE.
Typically artificial grass is approximately 3cm thick (from base to blade tip). The material of the ‘blades’ themselves are a polyethylene-polypropylene blend which are then woven into a mat-like backing (much like that of carpet). The only maintenance that is recommended is that the surface be given a once over each month, which involves rubbing it down. It you were to get this done professionally it is estimated that it would cost no more than a couple of thousand dollars a year. While this may initially sound a lot when compared to the water costs alone for the real thing – there is virtually no comparison. For those still sceptical and missing the small things associated with ‘real’ grass consider this. In America, consumers missing the smell associated with cut grass can purchase, that is right, purchase a can whose contents promise that ‘just cut smell’!
But wait there is more……in addition, other requests by customers have included wanting to have the newly laid ‘fake’ lawn have the same effect as when you just cut real grass and there are the alternating light and dark bands of grass. This too can be achieved…..ah the marvels of modern society.
Once perceived as being exclusively for those at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale, time-and resource-poor, fake grass has now become the stable for all regards of income bracket. With everyone becoming increasingly time-limited and wanting immediate results - ‘visual’ perfection – artificial grass answers both these requirements.
As already mentioned fake grass has many advantages being both low maintenance, cheap and providing reliable year-round good looks for those concerned with their gardens aesthetic appearance. Especially in areas where water is particularly scarce and or for areas whether there is heavy usage – i.e. constant foot traffic – then fake or artificial grass may provide a practical solution. What is more, with fake or artificial grass there is no limit to the amount of area you wish to cover and up-keep is negligible especially when compared to the requirements of real grass. Golfing greens require the employ of a number of full-time ‘green keepers’ whose job it is to solely look after the lawns!!!! For those without this luxury in budget or time the alternative is clearly …….fake grass. No need for pesticides, watering, mowing, and replacing of dead patches etcetera.
While slow to catch on in many Westernized countries, Asian nations who are resource tight have long used fake grasses for their play-grounds, private lawns and commercial turfs. Furthermore, using fake grass removes the threat of degradation by human or other pests. The laying of fake grass is also immediate – like that of carpet. Another advantage is that is does not have to be a permanent fixture but can be lifted at any time.