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For many people, the biggest draw of an artificial lawn is the lower cost of maintenance. The upfront cost of an artificial lawn is undeniably more than that of natural turf, but the real savings are incurred during the ongoing maintenance of the grass. 

If you’re thinking about investing in artificial grass but aren’t quite sure of its worth, or if you will actually save money, we’ve put together this handy guide that will break down the cost of maintaining a real lawn versus a fake lawn, taking into account the purchase price.

Garden Size

First of all, it’s important to note that the size of your garden will greatly affect the upfront cost (which is where most people are put off). The average UK garden is 163m². This is what we will be basing our examples on. 

Purchase Price

If we take an average price of £4 per m² for a real lawn, the upfront cost for the lawn is £652 to cover a 163m² space. 

In terms of fake grass, our most cost-effective option is our Easy Lawn which is priced at £14.95 per m². To cover a 163m² garden, it would cost £2,436.85. We offer a finance option so that you can spread out the cost of your artificial grass purchase with 0% interest.

What You Get for Your Money

Before you get alarmed by the purchase price, it’s important to look at what you’re getting for your money. This is important to factor in when considering fake grass and real grass. 

With real turf you will get the following benefits:

  • Soft underfoot
  • Purifies the air
  • Cools the garden

For all its goodness, real grass has a lot of drawbacks, including:

  • Needs cutting regularly
  • Needs to be watered
  • Regular de-weeding is necessary
  • Gets messy in winter (mud)

If you choose to invest in artificial grass, you will get the following benefits:

  • Soft underfoot
  • Little to no maintenance required
  • Looks stunning all year round

The downsides of artificial lawn are minimal, with the upfront cost being the only real ‘negative’, although our finance options offset this. Here at Artificial Lawn Company, we have put a lot of time and effort into developing our fake grass range so that each lawn is as realistic as possible. What this means is that the biggest, most notable difference between the two isn’t actually the look or feel, but it’s the maintenance. 

Maintenance Costs Over 20 Years

The average Briton moves house once every 23 years, and well looked after artificial grass with casual usage can be expected to last as long as 20 years, so it seems fitting that we determine maintenance costs over the course of 20 years. 

First, let’s take a look at the tools needed to maintain real grass:

  • Lawnmower
  • Strimmer
  • Leaf blower (if you have lots of debris falling onto the lawn)
  • Hosepipe and water
  • Weedkiller
  • Lawn seed
  • Rake

Next, let’s consider the tools required for fake grass:

  • Hosepipe and water
  • Stiff bristle broom /brush
  • Leaf blower (if you have lots of debris falling onto the lawn)

Now that we’ve established the tools needed, it’s useful to break down the costs involved, starting with real turf. 

Real Turf Maintenance

Lawnmower – whilst lawnmower prices start from as little as £40, for an average size garden that requires regular cutting, that won’t be sufficient. According to expertreviews.co.uk, the best all-around lawnmower is £119. It has the capacity to collect 40L of cuttings, perfect for the average size UK garden. It is 1,300 watts. To power a 1,000-watt appliance for an hour, the cost is approximately 15.75p. Add on an additional 4.72p for the extra 300 watts and you’re looking at 20.47p per hour. If you take 30 minutes to mow your lawn every week, that’s two hours a month which equates to 40.94p every month. Multiply that by 12 months, it’s £4.91 every year, and over the course of 20 years, that’s approximately £98. 

When you consider the average lawnmower lasts five years, if you stay at your property for 20 years, you can expect to need to invest in four lawnmowers. 

Total cost (four lawnmowers and electricity usage over 20 years): £574.20

Strimmer – most gardens have corners or edges which can only be reached with a strimmer, making a strimmer a vital part of the real turf maintenance arsenal. According to the Telegraph, the best all-around garden strimmer is £109 and is 18 watts. The energy usage is low if you take 15 minutes to strim your lawn every week. 

Like a lawnmower, your strimmer should be replaced every five years to ensure the best results. It could be cheaper to opt for hand tools, but this is more time consuming than using electric and petrol strimmers.

Total cost (four strimmers and electricity usage over 20 years): £442.80

Hosepipe and water – an essential part of maintaining a real lawn is watering it. For optimum results, you should water it at least once a week. Sufficient watering should take no more than 10 minutes. When you consider the average hosepipe uses 170 litres per 10 minutes, you’ll be looking at roughly 680 litres of water per month just to water your lawn. Over the course of one year, that’s 8,160 litres. Water usage is measured in cubic metres. One cubic metre = 1,000 litres. The average price per cubic metre is £1.38. That’s roughly £11.04 every year. Over the course of 20 years, that’s £220.80. 

The actual hosepipe itself should cost no more than £20, but you’ll want to add on around £10 for a decent quality head to ensure you’re able to water each area of your lawn evenly. This should cost no more than £10. The average hosepipe lasts five years, so if you were to replace the hosepipe and the head every five years for 20 years, that’s £150.

Total cost (four hosepipes, heads and water usage over 20 years): £370.80

Weedkiller – natural lawns are highly susceptible to weeds, and most lawn owners will need to apply weedkiller twice a year. The average box of lawn-friendly weedkiller is around £10.75 (depending on the brand). To buy two boxes every year, that’s £21.50. Multiply that by 20 years and you’re looking at £430.

Total cost (two boxes of weedkiller every year for 20 years): £430

Lawn Seed – real turf often falls victim to patchiness thanks to footfall, pets and weather patterns. To avoid patches, you’ll need to add seed. On average, good quality lawn seed costs roughly 43p per square metre. To cover the average 163m² UK lawn, that’s around £70. You’ll want to apply lawn seed every two years to keep your lawn looking thick and healthy. Over the course of 20 years, that’s £700.

Total cost (10 boxes of lawn seed over 20 years): £700

Rake – the final tool you’ll need to maintain a real lawn is a rake so that you can remove debris. 

Total cost (replaced every five years): £40

Artificial Grass Maintenance 

Hosepipe and water – artificial grass doesn’t need watering to grow, but more so to keep it looking pristine. A five-minute watering will help wash away any debris, resulting in a clean lawn. It should take no more than five minutes to water your fake grass every week, but it may require more watering if you do have pets using the area. Using the same costs as for real grass, watering your fake grass for five minutes every week will use 340 litres every month. That’s around four cubic metres per year at a cost of £5.52. Over the course of 20 years, that’s £110.40 approximately. 

As with a real lawn, you’ll need to buy a new hosepipe and head every five years, equating to £150 every 20 years.

Total cost (four hosepipes, heads and water usage over 20 years): £260.40

Brush ­– like with a real lawn, your fake grass will likely accumulate debris, so it will need brushing every week. This will also keep the blades upright and tidy. The cost of a garden brush is comparable to a garden rake.

Total cost (replaced every five years): £40

Summary

For clarification, we’ve collated the table below which comprises all the information and prices above, showcasing the overall maintenance costs for real lawn and fake lawn over the course of 20 years.

 

Lawnmower (replaced every five years) and Electricity

Strimmer (replaced every five years) and Electricity

Hosepipe (and head replaced every five years) and Water

Weedkiller (two boxes every year for 20 years)

Lawn seed (one application every two years) 

Rake/brush (replaced every five years)

Total

Real Turf

£574.20

£442.80

£370.80

£430

£700

£40

£2,557.80

Artificial Lawn

£0

£0

£260.40

£0

£0

£40

£300.40

When you combine the total purchase price of each type of lawn with the maintenance costs, the totals are as follows:

Real turf maintenance and purchase price combined: £3,209.80

Artificial lawn maintenance and purchase price combined: £2,736.40

When you choose fake grass, you will save £473.40 over the course of 20 years. On top of this, you’re looking at a saving of 488 hours since it will take you around 728 hours to maintain real grass (not counting raking, weeding or spreading lawn seed). With fake grass, you’ll only need to dedicate 240 hours over the course of 20 years to keep it looking spic and span (not counting brushing). 

It should be noted that all the prices mentioned in this article were correct at the time of writing. Prices may change year on year and depending on the size, shape and design of your garden.

Get Your Artificial Grass

Have you been convinced to switch to artificial grass? If so, please contact us to request a quote and to find out more about our installation service.


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