Artificial grass, as we know it today, has transformed a great deal from its initial appearance some five decades ago and has become a common use over the years.
Today, a synthetic lawn is nothing out of the ordinary and is widely used in schools, residential areas and for sports, with various types of lawn available for consumers to purchase. Before even just the last 10 years, it was common for an artificial lawn to be easily identifiable, in the way that the surface just did not compare to the real thing.
As we know, synthetics are now a viable alternative to maintaining a real lawn, with the technology used perfectly replicating the look and feel of grass. Also, unlike initial experiments, manufactured surfaces are highly durable and do not contain any harmful bacteria, making for a safe environment.
The Origins of Astroturf
The first recorded use of Astroturf grass was in 1964 at a prep school in Rhode Island, although the surface does not come to prominence until two years later in 1966. The surface was used at the Houston Astrodome in the stadium's initial season of hosting Major League Baseball fixtures.
Originally, the stadium's field was made up of real grass; just the same as every other venue, but soon problems came about after the domed roof was painted in order to stop the sun from shining in the players' eyes. No sunlight meant that the grass surface was not receiving all of the nutrients that were required and it soon died out.
To combat maintenance issues, the stadium's staff thought it best to install an artificial surface, which was made up of a green carpet with nylon fibres woven into the material. This sparked the beginning of using Astroturf for sports and the stadium has continued to use a synthetic surface ever since.
The materials used to manufacture artificial grass changed in the 1970's, as the surface was introduced to Europe. Instead of using nylon fibres, which could cause discomfort to players who slid on the surface, polypropylene was used.
Not only did this make for a softer surface, but this reduced the cost of Astroturf as the material is cheaper than nylon. This new form of synthetic turf packed small tufts much closer together, which many now refer to as ‘carpets'.
Players continued to complain that there was no consistency to the surface and that the ball would bounce off in various directions, making for a bad playing experience. This then brought about the next development of artificial turf later on in the 1970's, referred to as its second generation.
Instead of using small and closely packed together tufts, this new version used longer strands placed much further apart, with grass spread between the fibres to create a better firmness and stability.
Not for Everyone
While this new development was welcomed by many sports, it was not so successful for other sports such as football. Many clubs trialled Astroturf in the 1980's with disappointing results, finding the surface did not compare to real grass.
Sliding tackles often resulted in painful cuts and other injuries, which saw a quick end to the use of the second generation of the synthetic turf. A few clubs attempted to persevere with Astroturf in the UK, although it would not be until much later on when football would begin to make use of the surface on a big scale.
Residential and Commercial Use with Artificial Lawn Company
Artificial Lawn Company has been at the forefront of developing artificial grass for over a decade and has greatly improved on the developments that had been made in the years beforehand.
Where, initially, the synthetic surface was mostly used for sports and recreational use, there has been a growing trend in the material used for residential use.
For reasons similar to why staff at the Houston Astrodome elected to rip up the grass field and replace with a manufactured surface, homeowners have been making the switch to a synthetic lawn, too. The low maintenance aspect of the surface has always been a major attraction for investing, although the quality was not always present until more recent years.
ALC has developed various fake lawns that are suitable replacements for real grass that can be used in residential gardens and commercial areas. All of our surfaces look exactly like the real thing and provide a safe environment for children to play on and pets to roam around.
Schools, in particular, have benefitted from the use of Astroturf grass which has helped to cut down on maintenance costs, allowing schools to place a larger chunk of their budget on improving their students' experience. In today's climate, it has never been more important to cut down on costs wherever possible while not affecting the overall quality of the service provided.
Artificial Grass for Sports Surfaces
One of the other key offerings from Artificial Lawn Company is synthetic grass for sports use. Whereas before there was an issue in providing a surface that was suitable for all sports, today this is not a problem with a wide range of artificial grass specially made for such use.
Whether you are seeking to lay a football pitch that will not cause injury when in use, tennis courts that do not cause erratic bounces of the ball or a putting green with a smooth surface, there is a solution for you. Many sports clubs now include all-weather pitches as alternatives to real grass, and also allow for indoor playing surfaces, meaning that fixtures and training sessions can take place whatever the weather and time of day.
The mass use of synthetic surfaces is a far cry from the initial introduction of Astroturf grass in the 1960's, and its development in proceeding years with various terms of success. The team at ALC are happy to offer any help and advice in picking out your new artificial lawn, and will also provide an installation service in the London and Kent areas.
For more information on how you can benefit from the installation of a synthetic lawn, please call us on 01474 364320 today.