Real grass lawns versus artificial lawns

So you have a space in the garden and you are agonising over what will complement your garden most? Do you go for Artificial or Real Grass?!

There are a lot of benefits to be had with either type of grass and let’s face it, sometimes there are definitely 100 things you would rather be doing than mowing the grass on your day off.

For that reason, amongst many others, Britain has seen a large upturn in the amount of sales of artificial grass in the garden. One company has seen a 50% increase, year on year with its turf sales.

However, many experts are stating that the rise in artificial grass is affecting our wildlife, and even our atmosphere, possibly leading to big problems for our ecological system!

Before you start laying that turf down, we have decided to wade through all of the information to tell you what you need to know when deciding between Artificial, and Real Lawn Grass, for your garden.


Questions you need to ask yourself

Before you decide on which type of grass you are going to go for, you will need to ask yourself a few questions about your garden space.

  • What will the lawn space be used for primarily?
  • How much time per week can be dedicated to the upkeep of my lawn?
  • How much money do I want to spend on the purchase and the upkeep of the lawn?
  • Will my children/animals want to use the space frequently?
  • Does my lawn area have difficulty with a lack of airflow, light or shade?

These types of questions need to be considered when making your choice as artificial and lawn surfaces will have a very different set of pros and cons from each other. Therefore, your decision will be a lot easier once you know what you want your lawn space to be!

Real grass

Real Grass

Pros of real grass

  • Real grass is altogether better for the environment. An area of real grass measuring 2,500 square feet produces enough oxygen for a family of four to breathe. An average sized healthy lawn can capture as much as 300 pounds of carbon per year and a golf course fairway can capture 1,500 pounds per year.
  • Green spaces have been shown to improve wellness and reduce stress. There is growing evidence that horticulture and natural grass found on sports fields and lawns is important on a human level.
  • Silver ions can show up in your artificial grass, similar to those in carpeting, appliances, cleaning products and even your socks, the impact of growing amounts of silver in the end-of-life product cycles certainly raises concerns about silver biocides. Something that you will not get with real grass.
  • The effect of a well mown lawn can help the overall look of the garden. Having a real lawn surface will complement the plant and insect life, as well as helping the overall ecological make up of your back yard!
  • Of course, the real thing in this scenario is better than the plastic alternative. You will find that laying, or growing your own grass will be kinder on the wallet, as opposed to the artificial kind that will hit you a little harder financially.

Cons of real grass

  • You will need to dedicate a fair bit of time (especially in the summer) into maintaining your green space. Weeding, mowing and feeding are 3 jobs in particular that you will have to regularly partake in, if you want your lawn to look pristine!
  • With the added maintenance jobs, comes the bill that you will need to pick up for paying the equipment and products for your lawn.
  • Real grass lawns cannot deal with high traffic. This means that after one barbecue this summer, your lawn may look like its hosted two weeks of Wimbledon and will then need further attention.

Artificial turf

The pros of artificial turf

  • The best place to start with the pros, is the fact that there is little to no maintenance needed on your artificial grass space. Depending on what your grass is primarily being used for, there is minimal wear and tear and you will not have to spend a lot, if any money on the upkeep of the lawn.
  • If you have a dog, then you can easily clear up and then hose down any areas of discolouration. The grass can also deal with high levels of foot traffic.
  • Your artificial lawn can be walked over at any time of year. At times you will want to walk across your lawn area in the winter, and with artificial turf you will not have to worry about the muddy, soaking wet grass.
  • If you have a small garden, artificial turf can be an ideal solution for laying turf. Where space is at a premium, you can eliminate the use for a mower and lay down a small patch of artificial turf.
  • Some variations of artificial turf can be laid straight onto concrete. This means that the transition to artificial grass really would be very simple. However, I would state that this may not be the most pristine way to lay artificial grass and may not provide you with the best results.
  • If you have a particularly shady area on your lawn, artificial lawn could be the best way forward. Shady areas have been found to grow at a slower rate, or even remain frozen and wet during the colder weather.

The cons of artificial turf

  • First and foremost artificial grass is more expensive to lay down than grass. The price of good installation will especially hurt the pocket. This is because a professionally installed turf surface will include a free draining sub base, similar to a patio. Also, prices for artificial grass range from £10 to £30 per square metre, compared to £6 per square metre for real turf.
  • An artificial surface is not a permanent solution as you will have to replace the surface within 8 years or so. So with your property, there is a high likelihood that the turf payment will not be a one off!
  • If the surface isn't uniformly smooth, for example where you have uneven paving slabs, you will need to add an underlay or sand base beneath your turf to level it off.
  • Fake turf is not great for slopes unfortunately. With a slope, it becomes very tricky to anchor it strongly enough and its sand base will migrate to the bottom of the incline.
  • Experts have deemed artificial grass as a hindrance for local wildlife and the atmosphere. As plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and a lack of natural grassland could affect the carbon levels in the atmosphere.


I think the key to making a decision is for you to really know what you want to do with your lawn space. Once you have figured this out, the decision will be easy.

Artificial grasses are improving, and the difference between the quality of fake turf from 20 years ago to now, has improved exponentially. Hopefully soon enough, they will be able to produce a fake grass that is kind to the environment.

For now, we will have to make do with the fact that one or two companies have artificial grass samples that do use recycled bottles as part of their production.

At Love the Garden, we think that nothing beats the real thing!

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