History of artificial grass
Fake grass, astro turf, artificial grass, whatever the name you know it by, artificial grass is here to stay and it’s better than ever. Both residential and commercially, having an easy to maintain, long lasting fake lawn is now a real alternative to real grass. Whether this is for due to the weather or budgets or style, there is no denying artificial grass is on the up! Initially designed for commercial use, over the last 50 years artificial grass has excelled in development and become a household staple. Britain has seen a continued rise is households swapping from real grass, Shares Magazine stated that by 2019 there would be a 15% rise in home with artificial grass.
Originally known as ‘ChemGrass’, it was first used in 1964 when it was installed in a recreation area for a prep school. It was then later introduced to the public for the first time in 1966 when the artificial grass was installed in the ‘Houston Astrodome’ and was then trademarked ‘AstroTurf’ after the sport stadium. The artificial grass was first installed in the infield and then later in the year the outfield was installed.
The first synthetic lawn was created State by David Chaney, the Dean of North Carolina University College of Textiles, and headed the team of Research Triangle Park researchers. This synthetic lawn was made from Nylon/polyamide and was perfect for the use of sport stadiums as it was functional regardless of the weather conditions. Less than a decade later a longer pile was introduced to artificial turf which typically measured at a length of 20 to 25mm and a sand infill was introduced to keep the pile upright, the use of the sand infill also helped to make the artificial turf look and feel more natural. The use of artificial turf quickly spread across the U.S and Canada and was installed in indoor and outdoor sport stadiums.
A new type of artificial grass was introduced in the 1980’s - Second Generation, this was made from polypropylene, a thermoplastic polymer mostly used in consumer goods packaging. The sand infill was now increased to 90%, this was so there was a more natural surface for sports. The second generation synthetic turf systems also have longer fibres than the first generation of artificial grass and use sand infills. The use of this material was a lot cheaper than using Nylon which made making and buying artificial grass cheaper than before. However, the downside to this type of artificial grass was the amount of sand infill that was used, the sand was very similar to sand paper on the skin of the players and this texture caused more burns and grazes than natural grass would. So, this made this type of artificial grass unsuitable for sports like football. The first generation synthetic turf systems were mostly replaced by the Second Generation systems.
The third generation of synthetic turf was introduced in the late 1990’s and is mainly used today. This new type of fake grass was made from polyethylene which is a softer raw material than the material that was used previously, as well as the material change the infill was changed as well. Instead of using a sand infill, granulated rubber was used. The granulated rubber meant that there was less grazes and burns making it more suitable for contact sports. Some infills are layered and consist of both granulated rubber and sand. The Third Generation of synthetic turf was also used for landscaping in the western states of the U.S as well as sport stadiums/fields. After the introduction to the third generation of synthetic turf Spain’s Real Madrid CF was the first European football club to have AstroTurf installed in their practice fields. The newly developed turf also meant that there was a higher demand for residential use because it was becoming more suitable for family gardens.
Since first being introduced to Major League Baseball in 1966, artificial grass has also been introduced to other sports including: American and Canadian football, field hockey, tennis, rugby and golf. The introduction of artificial grass has changed field hockey massively, the use of artificial surfaces has increased the speed of the game. For field hockey the artificial surface has shorter fibres and wasn’t made to look like natural grass. Synthetic grass is also used for rugby, to allow the game to run smoothly grass and synthetic fibres have been used so that the surface is more hard wearing. Artificial grass has also developed tennis massively, after the introduction of artificial grass indoor and outdoor tennis courts had the artificial grass installed. For tennis courts non-infill and infill synthetic lawns are used. For golf synthetic turf has been installed everywhere apart from the fairways because there could be damage caused to the turf from the clubs. In 2015, the Women’s World Cup which took place in Canada was almost entirely played on artificial grass. This means that all the sport stadiums across the country use artificial turf allowing play to take place, regardless of the weather.
Today, the demand for synthetic turf continues to grow, artificial grass is now more durable and more realistic than ever and is always being advanced. This means that the quality continues to improve as it’s increase in popularity in the UK and Europe thrives. In 2012 Europe saw more than 4 Million square meters of artificial turf fitted for landscaping, recreational use and residential use. Artificial turf has also been fitted in golf courses, parks and tourist attractions.
As one of the UK’s leading artificial grass online store, we specialise in making sure you get the best quality products to suit your budget. We offer realistic, natural looking and durable alternatives to a real lawn, with up to 8 years warranty. If you are interested in artificial grass for garden areas, rooftop gardens or commercial break out areas, check out our full range here.