For many, venturing into the world of artificial grass can be daunting simply because of the range of unique industry terms used. Phrases like fibre shape, pile density and backing material are all unfamiliar to the average homeowner yet play a major role in selecting the artificial grass which is right for your garden.
In this guide, the Artificial Lawn Company team have compiled our knowledge to create a comprehensive resource covering an essential property of all artificial grasses – pile height. By the end of this article, you should be fully aware of everything pile height-related including what it is, why it matters and how to select the right one for you.
What is Pile Height?
The definition of pile height is the measured height from the carpet or artificial grass backing to the top of the surface fibres. In short, this means that the pile height is the total height of the fibres producing from the artificial grass backing.
Usually, pile height is measured in millimetres and depending on the purposes and uses of your outdoor space, different pile heights can be useful in different settings. With height varying from as small as 10mm to almost 200mm, there are a vast array of options available, though most household gardens tend to opt for pile heights of between 25 and 45mm. This is why our own artificial grass range tends to stick to these figures.
What Makes Pile Height Important?
Pile height is an essential consideration for anyone looking to purchase or install artificial grass because of the many factors it influences.
Aesthetics and Looks
Firstly, and for many most importantly, pile height has a notable effect on how good your lawn looks. Whilst there’s no doubt that perfectly even, long, lush synthetic grass can look beautiful and very realistic, if your lawn’s pile height is too high and it is trodden on, the flattening effect will be a lot less attractive to you and your guests. Therefore, for lawns which will see a high level of footfall, a large pile height may not be a good idea. This can be mitigated by using some form of infill to help the lawn spring back and it’s nothing a quick brush with a broom won’t fix.
On the flip side, extremely short pile heights can make your garden or outdoor space appear more like a sports surface rather than an area for relaxation or recreation. Achieving the look that you’ve been aiming for is definitely dependent on your pile height of choice.
Suitability for Purpose
Building from the point mentioned previously, different pile heights lean themselves to different uses. If you do intend to play sports on your garden or artificial lawn space, select a grass that is suitable for that sport’s demands; for example, bowls will require a very different grass surface compared to football.
This extends beyond sports though. If your lawn is going to be strictly for display purposes, you should be able to get away with a longer pile height as it won’t be trodden on or disturbed regularly. Additionally, if your garden will be used by children, having a pile height which is too long may make it easier to trip over the fibres. All of these considerations are worth keeping in mind.
There’s no doubt that synthetic turf is extremely hard wearing and durable from a material perspective. Our artificial grass is designed to withstand all manner of stresses from extreme weather conditions to high temperatures. However, it’s important to note that if used in a way they are not designed for, all artificial lawns can begin to show signs of wear and tear after many years.
Pile height is important in this regard because longer fibres may flatten slightly quicker. With this in mind, it’s worth sticking to shorter synthetic grasses if your intent is to use your artificial lawn regularly as it will stay looking good for longer and take more punishment.
Touch is one of the most important of the five senses and whilst we typically consider how things feel when touched by hand, we also have a strong sense of touch through our feet, too. Different types of flooring offer different sensations of varying comfort – like how a muddy puddle will be much more uncomfortable than a soft carpet.
Pile height plays a major role in the feel of artificial grass. Longer fibres offer greater cushioning and flexibility, resulting in a softer and more enjoyable touch when pressed down upon. Shorter pile height usually results in feeling the hardness of the floor underneath, which isn’t as comfortable. This plays an extra important role if children utilise the surface, as longer fibres can absorb that little bit more energy during falls or accidents, especially when combined with various infills such as kiln dried sand.
Finally, we should discuss maintenance. Many opt for an artificial grass surface because of the decreased maintenance that a synthetic lawn offers. Regardless of what pile height you opt for, maintenance time is always significantly decreased by installing an artificial lawn, though there are still tasks you will need to complete to keep your grass perfect.
The pile height of your grass can impact these smaller maintenance tasks and affect how long it takes to refresh your synthetic turf. Most notably, longer fibres will take a little extra brushing to return them to an upright position, meaning brushing off your grass will have to happen a little more regularly. Similarly, more debris can get stuck in longer fibres, which could require a little extra time to remove. Therefore, if keeping maintenance to an absolute minimum is your priority, a shorter length is probably most suitable.
Selecting the Right Pile Height for You
In truth, artificial grass which is designed for homes usually sits around the 25–45mm pile height range because these have been found to offer the greatest balance of aesthetics and practicality. Despite this, there are still a variety of different artificial grass products available from luxurious choices for display gardens to shorter, more hardy options which work as great play areas.
Pile height is far from the only consideration you will have to keep in mind when picking the grass which is right for your garden or needs, so it shouldn’t be the only factor that you base your decision on. If you are unsure which grass is right for you, get in touch with our team of experts at Artificial Lawn Company and we will be happy to help.
We have spent nearly two decades helping thousands of homeowners install artificial grass to create the garden they have always wanted and are here to assist you in the same goal. Contact us today for bespoke advice tailored to you or order a free artificial grass sample to get an idea of the different pile heights and how they feel.