Artificial grass is many things, including stunningly vibrant, super soft and extremely long-lasting - not to mention low-maintenance. Whilst you don’t need to worry about watering, mowing or replenishing it with seed, there are still a few things you should be doing in relation to artificial grass care so that your lawn can look as stunning as the day you laid it for years to come.
To help you get the most out of your Artificial Lawn Company synthetic turf, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on taking care of artificial grass.
Installing Artificial Grass
The first step to maintaining your fake grass is ensuring that it is installed correctly. Our team of expert installers are based across the south east of England and can install your fake grass for you if you are based in the Greater London, Kent, Sussex and Essex areas. They will ensure you have a suitable base with adequate drainage, a well-fitted weed membrane, and that each piece of lawn is installed facing the same way and the joins are secure.
It is possible to successfully install your artificial grass yourself using our DIY installation guide, but you need to ensure you follow all the steps carefully. Failure to do so will result in a lawn that is aesthetically undesirable and requires a lot more maintenance. It may even need to be completely removed and re-installed which is a costly process.
Provided your fake grass is properly installed, maintenance will be minimal.
How to Clean Artificial Grass
Artificial grass will occasionally need to be cleaned to keep it looking luscious and pristine. There are several ways you can do this, but we’ve listed what we believe to be all the best ways to clean artificial grass below.
The number one nuisance that all garden owners will face is debris. Whether your neighbour has a large tree that malts leaves onto your lawn, or if birds flying overhead have a tendency to drop twigs onto your beautiful fake grass, you’ll want to keep your garden free of odds and sods that somehow make their way in. A simple lap of the lawn with a dustpan and brush will be sufficient for getting rid of most types of debris, or you can choose to pick up larger bits with your hands. Depending on the season and the position of your garden, you might want to do this most days – either in the morning or in the evening. If there is lots of smaller debris, a stiff bristle broom or a leaf blower will make your life a lot easier!
To keep the mess to a minimum, you might consider trimming any hedges, bushes or trees that reside in your garden to ensure the frequency of falling leaves diminishes.
We have a wide range of artificial grass, including pet and child-friendly solutions, all of which are exceptionally hardwearing. That being said, sometimes accidents happen. Whether it’s spilt drink or sauce from a summer BBQ, or if your pet has a somewhat dodgy stomach, you might find your synthetic turf gets soiled at one stage or another. Many people often wonder, can you clean artificial grass? The answer is yes, you can, and the good news is, it’s easy to clean! A general rule of thumb is to treat your lawn like a carpet in the sense that as soon as you see a spillage, clean it up immediately. If it’s a liquid spillage, soak it up with a towel as soon as possible, but if it’s something like ice cream or ketchup, make sure you scoop up the excess first before you commence any further.
So, how do you clean artificial grass? Lightly soiled areas can be cleaned with a mixture of 5% household detergent and 95% hot (not boiling) water. It can then be rinsed down with more hot (not boiling) water. If the soiled area is slightly larger or more stubborn, repeat the process but with 3% detergent and 97% hot (not boiling) water. You may need to lightly scrub the area with a washcloth, flannel or sponge. It’s important that you don’t use any chlorine bleaches or cleaners with an acidity beyond pH5, as this could harm the grass and the earth below it.
There are some forms of soilage that are a bit trickier to clean; namely chewing gum and tree sap. If you find a piece of chewing gum or tree sap find its way onto your beautiful lawn and is threatening the luscious blades with its sticky residue, fear not. You can easily remove the offensive item by freezing it with dry ice and scraping it off the blades. You might want to hose down the area after.
When you’ve finished cleaning up any soilage, make sure to hose down the area appropriately to remove any leftover ammonia or potentially harmful chemicals that could be detrimental to your pets, children or garden wildlife.
Knowing how to clean fake grass is going to be of particular importance to pet owners. A properly installed artificial lawn will have amazing drainage and will be more than capable of dealing with all the trials and tribulations of four-legged friends, but there may be times when the smell of urine may be emitted. Typically, just a hose every now and then to soak the urine through the grass and into the subbase will do the trick, but sometimes, something more substantial may be required. We always recommend a diluted solution of Jeyes fluid for removing any odour and lingering smells. There are also a plethora of enzymatic cleaners available which will also work.
Artificial grass with a shorter pile height is generally better for pets because it’s easier to clean. It’s also recommended not to have a shock pad underneath the lawn if it’s used exclusively by pets because it could absorb the urine which can enhance the smell. Shock pads are designed for areas with children, particularly where play equipment is concerned. If you have both children and pets, you’ll need to consider whether a shock pad is entirely necessary. Artificial lawn is exceptionally soft which means it is safe for children by itself, but it will depend on what was underneath the turf. If your garden was previously tarmac, a shock pad might be more necessary, in which case more regular disinfecting will be necessary to keep pet urine odours down.
It’s a good idea to make the effort to give your artificial lawn a once over every now and again, but just how often should you clean artificial grass? If you have pets, a hose down once a week or every other week will ensure the blades are beautifully pristine. You may choose to use a pet-safe antibacterial cleaner bi-weekly (or monthly) on the area your pet uses as a toilet to ensure it’s adequately safe, and if you have young children it would be wise to do this a little more frequently. Dog waste, in particular, can carry harmful bacteria that can cause nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, a high fever or even an E.coli infection. For this reason, using a pet-safe antibacterial spray somewhat regularly will kill the harmful germs and keep you safe and your fake grass clean.
How to Maintain Artificial Grass
Now you know how to clean fake grass, there are several steps you need to be aware of in order to properly maintain your artificial grass, but fear not! None are as much effort as maintaining a real lawn. You won’t need to buy expensive items like a lawnmower or a strimmer, nor will you need to contend with garden pests like chafer grubs – the bulk of artificial lawn maintenance can be done using basic, inexpensive tools.
Lifting the Pile
After your grass has been installed, you will want to take care of making sure the blades of grass are facing upright. You can do this by brushing against the grain with a stiff brush, power brush, leaf blower or a garden vacuum. It’s a good idea to lift the pile regularly; once a month is a good place to start.
The more you use your grass – such as in summer – the more likely it is to flatten over time. That’s why during periods of increased use, you’ll want to lift the pile more frequently, such as twice a month. This will ensure the blades of grass sit upright and looks pristine all the time, no matter how much your lawn is used.
In the same way that consistent heavy use may cause fake grass to flatten, so can garden furniture. It’s a good idea to regularly move items like paddling pools, playhouses, tables and chairs to allow your lawn to all wear evenly and to get the best use out of it. Once you’ve moved it, lift the pile to get it looking like new again. To give a little extra protection, we would recommend putting bits of offcut underneath the feet of furniture and trampolines, much like you would do indoors on normal carpet.
On the topic of furniture, you will need to be aware of sharp edges/legs/corners. In many respects, synthetic lawn is similar to carpet and can fall victim to many of the same ailments; piercing being one of them. If you place something sharp on your artificial grass, there is a risk the grass could be pierced, punctured or even ripped as a result. Any sharp furniture should be placed on decking/paved slabs rather than on the lawn.
A key part of how to look after artificial grass is being aware of how heat sources can damage it. Artificial grass is fire retardant, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe or recommended to put a BBQ or a fire pit on top of it. If you want to enjoy a sizzling summer lunch, you can – as long as your barbeque is placed on top of a paved/decked area. If you don’t already have one, it’s easy to implement. A few paving slabs placed in a corner (away from a fence for fire safety) is relatively cheap and artificial grass can easily be installed around it. The same goes for a fire pit.
As mentioned, artificial grass is fire retardant and won’t set alight, but it can melt under high heat and the tips of the blades can fuse together which can ruin and damage the grass. Even cigarettes could damage the blades, so always use an ashtray. It is also worth noting that highly reflective surfaces like mirrors can also magnify the suns beams onto parts of the lawn and can cause damage. We would recommend not having any mirrors in a garden with artificial grass to prevent this from happening.
When we install artificial grass, we always recommend a weed membrane to be placed underneath the lawn. This will prevent weeds from poking their heads through and ruining the aesthetic of your grass, but it serves another purpose, too. Weeds are invasive and will compete with other plants for sunlight and water. The bad news? They usually win, so not only do they not particularly pleasing to look at, they can ruin all your other gardening efforts, too. So often, artificial lawn is bordered with flower beds, so whilst weeds can’t choke out fake grass if they happen to make an appearance, they can spread their seed to the borders of your garden and overrule your other plants.
A simple fix is to install a weed membrane when you install your fake grass, but also to kill any weeds as soon as you see them. There are four common types of weeds that can appear in gardens in the UK which you should make sure you familiarise yourself with to effectively eradicate them as soon as they rear their ugly heads.
Though it’s not strictly a weed, moss can occasionally occur on your fake grass. It’s perfectly safe to apply a water-based weed killer using a watering can or sprinkler, but beware of pets/children before doing so. If you find moss to be a particular problem for your lawn, we recommend applying a water-based weed killer to your artificial lawn twice a year, or even an algaecide, but please check with the supplier to make sure its suitable for artificial grass.
Fake grass has many uses, including sports. If your garden/sports area is expected to be used for football matches, rugby matches, hockey games or any other heavy-duty sport – knowing how to maintain artificial surfaces is easy to learn because there’s not much to it. A simple sweep here and there and lifting the pile is all you’ll need to do to keep it fit for whatever you plan to do on top of it – no matter how rigorous it is.
This artificial grass care guide should provide you with all the information you need to effectively look after and clean your fake lawn, but if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We will be happy to share all our expert knowledge with you, as well as to provide you with an installation quote or supply you with fake grass for home delivery and self-installation. Simply give us a call on 01474 364320 for more information.