How much does it cost to lay artificial grass?
The artificial grass installation costs in this article are correct as of 2020
We all want to make the most of our outdoor space, and for many of us, that means having an immaculate lawn worthy of any bowling green. If yours has become waterlogged, weed-choked or dried out, bringing it back to health can be a real challenge, but laying artificial grass can immediately reinvigorate your garden and also make your life so much easier and maintenance free. We’ve broken down some of the costs involved.
Artificial grass prices
Fake grass costs are generally considerably more than the price of real grass, reflecting the major difference it can make in your garden. The material cost of artificial grass per square metre can range greatly from £10 to £40 per square metre. The cheaper brands can be around the cost of natural grass, but more high-end materials can be four times the cost, meaning a much greater investment when compared to a natural turf lawn.
We've broken down some typical prices below based on an average price of £20 per metre squared for turf and £40 per metre squared for installation.
|Size of lawn||Turf costs||Extra materials||Installation costs||Total|
Other cost considerations
There are a number of other factors that impact the cost of laying an artificial lawn in your garden.
For example, the type of surface that you are laying the artificial grass on to will make a difference to the overall cost. If you are laying onto a concrete or paved surface, the process is relatively simple, as long as drainage has been taken into account - the area simply needs to be cleaned, before it can be fitted with a foam layer to improve the comfort and levelling of the grass, which is then installed on top.
If you are laying your fake lawn on top of an existing lawn, the process can be slightly more involved. It is recommended that original turf be stripped back, leaving a layer of soil. This should be covered with a water-permeable weed membrane, and then covered with a sub-base for the lawn, made up of aggregate and a layer of sharp sand, to level the ground. Another weed membrane can then be added, before the artificial grass is installed above that. Expect the cost of the base to cost around 20% of the cost of the lawn itself - so if the materials for the lawn cost £500, around a further £100 will have to be spent on the base materials.
If the surface is particularly uneven, or if you are levelling out an area that was previously split into different levels, this will all have to be made level, either manually or with a excavating machine, which will add time and cost to the installation process.
Installation can cost between £30 and £50 per square metre, which means the overall cost of laying artificial turf in a 20m square garden can range from £1,200 to £2,500, depending on the quality of the product. This price will also include the cost of digging up and removing any turf already in place, usually at a cost of £10 to £20 per metre.
As above, the price of the artificial turf itself will vary depending on the quality of the grass. Some older models can look immediately fake at first glance, with the grass having a specific grain - more like a carpet than real turf - while more modern examples are nearly indistinguishable from the real thing without inspecting it up close.
Artificial grass installation
There are many common questions people have around installing artificial lawns - many of which revolve around the kind of surface you need to lay artificial grass on.
Can you lay artificial grass on soil?
Yes, soil is a fine surface for laying artificial turf on. However, the area will need to be prepared with at least one layer of mesh or membrane which prevents weeds growing through the soil beneath and damaging the lawn, as well as a mix of aggregate and sharp sand to make the surface properly level ahead of installation.
Can you lay artificial grass on concrete?
A well-prepared, flat concrete surface is probably the easiest surface to lay lawn onto. As long as it is clean and has proper drainage, then it is simple to add the lawn on top, typically with a layer of foam in between to make the lawn more comfortable and “springier”, like a real lawn would be.
When is the best time to install artificial grass?
One of the many benefits of having an artificial lawn is that it can withstand anything the weather throws at it, whether it’s a baking dry drought or a torrential downpour. When it comes to installing artificial grass, weather is also relatively unimportant. Garden landscapers typically work all year round, in all weathers, and can install artificial lawns in most circumstances. Prolonged rain can delay installation - if the soil in the base turns to mud, it can be hard to level properly - but given the unpredictability of British weather, this can be just as much of an issue in summer as in winter. In all cases, be prepared to book ahead to find a good installer, as many landscapers fill up their schedules weeks if not months in advance.
How long does it take to install artificial grass?
The length of time it takes to install an artificial lawn is dependent on the size of the lawn being installed, as well as a few other factors.
The size is the key determiner - smaller lawns, around 40 square metres or less, should only take a day, while larger lawns will often take two days or more, for particularly large gardens.
Other things which have a bearing on the time it takes to install are access, and finish. If the installers can access the lawn easily, for example without having to go through the house or up stairs, it will speed up the process. When it comes to the finish, if the edges of the lawn are meant to curve, around flower beds for example, this can add time as care will have to be taken measuring and cutting the exact shapes needed.
Artificial grass maintenance
A key appeal artificial grass is that it is incredibly low-maintenance compared to natural alternatives.
How to clean artificial grass
Looking after artificial grass mainly involves keeping it free of dirt and debris that find its way on onto it - whether it’s been tracked on by muddy shoes, or blown down from an overhanging tree. Artificial lawns can be brushed, raked, or even vacuumed, to help them keep pristine.
In order to avoid flat or worn down patches, be wary of keeping heavy objects in the same place for too long - in the same way that you might protect a carpet. However, unlike real turf, being covered up by a bench or sandpit won’t kill the grass underneath.
How long will artificial grass last?
How long an artificial lawn lasts depends on the quality of the lawn and how much it is used, but many manufacturers claim their lawns can last for around 20 years without showing significant signs of wear and tear. If yours is heavily used, whether as a football pitch or barbecue dancefloor, it might begin to show its age sooner, but in any case, it should last for many years - no matter how greenfingered you are.
Pros and cons of artificial grass
Artificial turf is hardwearing and low-maintenance - you’ll never have to mow it, and it will keep its healthy green colour regardless of bad weather or shady conditions. It’s perfect if it will see a heavy amount of traffic, for example if you’re hosting regular garden parties or have football-mad children practicing their skills on it.
However, it is generally not as good for the environment, removing a place for animals to feed. You also have to think about drainage issues when installing it - water needs to be able to soak through and away.
Cost wise, an artificial lawn will typically cost a lot more to install, but almost nothing to maintain. A real lawn will need mowing, watering, potentially fertiliser or re-seeding, all of which cost either money or your precious time.
Along with a new patio or decking, artificial lawn can be a relatively quick and effective way to revamp the landscaping of your garden. But if you still need the feel of real grass between your toes, then a natural lawn is still the best way to go.