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Blog posted on 2nd September 2016 by Ashleigh Cleet
At Playscheme, we are often asked about the advantages and disadvantages of our products and services. But there's one question that keeps cropping up more than any other: Which is the best, artificial grass or natural grass? While there's no definitive answer, heres a guide to which might be best for you and your requirements.
They say you can't beat the real thing, but when it comes to artificial and natural grass surfaces, it really is too close to call!
The most common surface when it comes to creative and role play equipment, artificial grass is often seen as the most safe and cost effective option, despite the initial outlay. Popular with adventure and climbing trails as well, this surface has a number of variations with differences in quality and price.
From a safety perspective, a padded underlay can be applied, providing a cushion for falls and trips.
Another benefit of artificial grass is its all-weather appeal. This allows for children to remain active, regardless of weather conditions. There's also the added reassurance of no muddy feet or clothes; a teacher or parent's worst nightmare!
From an aesthetic point of view, artificial grass allows for bright and attractive colours to be added to the playground environment. As a result, this makes the playground experience more fun and engaging for children. While green is the most popular colour as it represents natural grass, artificial grass is also available in blue, red, white, yellow and many other colours. Just let us know which colour you'd like!
The lifespan of artificial grass can vary depending on exposure to the elements, use and quality, but generally speaking this type of surface should last you for a decade, and in some cases longer. In terms of maintenance, very little is required. All we would recommend is to remove any leaves, twigs or other debris and ensure the surface is brushed with a hard-bristle broom once or twice a month.
Drainage issues can sometimes occur with artificial grass. If the surface underneath becomes compacted, rainwater may be unable to seep into the soil, causing standing surface water to appear. Not to worry though, at Playscheme we ensure that the area is well prepared before we lay the grass and that a suitable base is laid to help with drainage
If you already have natural grass in place, sticking with it may be the best option for you. Similarly, if it's a large area you're looking to turn into a future playground, natural grass could still be the most cost effective.
Kids love nothing more than getting outside on a summer's day, especially competing in sports and activities. For sports and fitness, natural grass is often the preferred choice, as it resembles the surface sports are played on at higher levels. Other equipment where natural grass is often used is science and nature, as we can incorporate interactive panels and signage into the scheme to accompany it. This can be for a number of reasons, such as to recreate a park or garden appearance and feel.
A disadvantage to natural grass is the impact weather can have on the surface when the temperature drops. In the winter, natural grass may be unsuitable for use due to snow, frost and rain.
For safety, natural grass provides very few risks as long as activities aren't undertaken in adverse weather or conditions. This surface also provides good traction, meaning that when participants collide, the surface gives way which is not always the case on artificial turf.
Maintenance and upkeep of natural grass can provide a challenge, with cutting and line painting for sports pitches required every couple of weeks during the summer months. However, natural grass does have the benefit of microorganisms which means that chewing gum, spillages and other small debris can be recycled from the surface. Similarly, natural grass self-repairs when the surface sustains damage or wear.
Another positive is that natural grass surfaces can be removed with relative ease when they come to the end of their purpose. In comparison, it can be extremely costly for the removal and disposal of artificial surfaces.
Lastly, it's also been proven that green spaces can reduce stress and improve the well-being of both children and adults; which of course, we champion here at Playscheme.