So you love the idea of a lush garden, but hate the reality of maintaining it? WELL HOO BOY, is this the article for you!
Today, we’re going to be looking at the wonderful thing that is artificial grass, and proving that it’s come a long way from looking fake and plastic. Hopefully, I’ll also be able to demonstrate why it’s the secret to a perfectly-manicured lawn with a gorgeous selection of garden AstroTurf ideas and inspiration.
Isn’t AstroTurf just fake grass?
AstroTurf, artificial grass, synthetic turf, fake grass – yes, they’re more or less the same thing. Originally, AstroTurf was used only for sporting venues since synthetic grass can definitely take more of a beating than real grass and requires much less maintenance. Eventually, it was also used for residential and commercial landscaping as well.
Some people dismiss the use of fake grass in gardens purely because the old stuff sticks out like a sore thumb next to real greenery. However, artificial grass has come a long way in recent years, with materials that look and feel more realistic (and that are better for the environment, too). Sure, you can pick up a roll for as little as £10 – making it a wallet-friendly option – but if you’re prepared to drop some cash, you can have an artificial lawn that’s barely indistinguishable from the real thing.
How can I find realistic AstroTurf?
If fooling your neighbours (or Instagram followers – no judgement here) is important to you, here are some things to look out for when shopping for realistic AstroTurf:
- Texture: Good quality synthetic grass should be non-abrasive and soft to the touch. Cheaper materials feel sharper and harder – much less pleasant on bare feet or puppy paws.
- Density: One reason to make use of artificial grass is to avoid any bald spots in your garden. Make sure that the synthetic grass you get is dense and well-stitched to achieve that lush lawn look!
- Colour: A dead giveaway for fake grass is flat, solid colour. Natural grass will have different shades of green and high-quality artificial grass will mimic those subtle colour changes. Some kinds even have some browning blades in between green ones for a more realistic touch!
- Weight: If you’re going to use it in the garden, there’s no need to worry about this. But if you want to turn your balcony into a garden with some artificial grass, then you’ll need to take into account how heavy your turf will be and the load your balcony can take.
- Traffic: Will people be constantly treading on your turf, or will it be tucked in a corner? Some kinds of AstroTurf do better than others when subjected to the wear and tear of shoes.
8 Simple and Creative Garden AstroTurf Ideas
The majority of people simply use artificial grass in place of real grass (i.e. in the garden)! However, a huge benefit of synthetic grass is that it’s super versatile and you can use it in all kinds of ways that wouldn’t work with real grass. Here are my favourite examples of how you can improve your existing lawn by swapping in some AstroTurf, and also some unconventional ways you can use artificial grass to set your space apart from the rest:
1. AstroTurf in front gardens
The most common way to make use of AstroTurf in homes is by using it to replace lawns in front yards. For some people, it’s the easiest way to stay on top of their curb appeal, and in other cases there’s no convenient way to bring a grass-saturated lawn mower round to the front.
Here’s another example of an AstroTurf front garden in Aberdeenshire, where a small lawn and bulky (but very cute!) statue would make lawn-mowing more hassle than it’s worth.
2. Low-maintenance lawn in a contemporary garden
I’m always in favour of being realistic if you’d prefer a low-maintenance garden, but that doesn’t mean your outdoor space can’t still be stylish. In this garden, a no-fuss artificial lawn means all the design focus can be on that cosy, contemporary seating area.
I can imagine this immaculate lawn is a little bit too perfect for some people… but I actually find the “crispness” really satisfying to look at! It shows how taking the time to level the ground beneath your lawn will make a huge difference to how good the final result looks.
Another flawless lawn, this time showing how artificial grass can look in large sections. I love the raised patio area, but I’m surprised there’s no path. Between the water from the hot tub and walking to and from the house, a real lawn would get muddy pretty quick! Maybe that’s why this household is happy with a fake one. It’s non-slip, durable, and drains easily, which are all pretty important next to a hot tub.
3. Small areas of grass between hardscaping
If your garden is mostly hardscaping (with paving stones, gravel or concrete), having even the smallest section of lawn can soften the overall look. However, keeping a lawnmower for a tiny patch of grass is a waste of valuable storage space. Plus, natural grass looks best when you can see a swathe of bright green; it can start to look sparse in small sections. Artificial grass is the perfect compromise.
This patch of grass is a little bigger, but it would still be a hassle to drag a lawnmower out just to keep it trim – especially around those steps to the upper deck! It looks like the lawn is used for a bit of a play area (at least for football), which makes even more sense – artificial grass is going to be a lot more durable and less slippery than real grass. This homeowner is clearly a convert to artificial greenery – the potted tree is synthetic, too.
4. Raised lawn areas
Talking of lawnmowers, lugging them or lifting them to anywhere that’s above ground-level is a chore that nobody needs. If your garden has levels that you want to keep green, consider using fake grass higher up. As a bonus, by keeping the ground-level lush with real grass, people are less likely to suspect it’s artificial elsewhere!
5. Creating patterns
What if you’re not even interested in a rectangle of grass for a lawn? Artificial grass makes it easy to rethink convention and combine different materials (including other grass colours and textures) to create interesting patterns. This checkerboard effect with white stone slabs is far more striking than a regular lawn.
6. Balconies and terraces
City living often means flats instead of houses. If you’re blessed with a balcony or terrace, synthetic grass is a great way to liven up your little outdoor space! I can personally vouch for this one too – after more than a year of our balcony feeling like an unloved concrete box, laying turf instantly transformed it into a “garden” space. Even on the gloomiest day, it looks inviting!
7. Accent walls
There’s no reason your grass has to be horizontal – AstroTurf looks great as a quirky wall covering, too. These IKEA tiles are made to look like ivy and ferns, but you could get a similar effect with artificial grass. Cover the whole wall – or don’t – it’s entirely up to you.
8. Decorative coverings
With a bit of perseverance, almost any surface can be AstroTurfed. Covering the relatively smooth surface of seats or tables is an easy way to start – take a look at these quirky sun loungers, for example. Other areas that are good for a bit of turf personality: windowsills, fences, sheds and planters.
As we said at the top of the article, artificial grass has come a long way in the last few years. There are lots of stylish Astroturf garden ideas to use as inspiration when creating an eye-catching outdoor space. Have you seen any interesting and unusual uses of artificial grass?