For those looking to spruce up their gardens or have a busy lifestyle and still want some green space, we spoke to an expert at Artificial Grass Ltd for their advice on easy gardening and whether you should consider artificial grass.
For someone who is new to gardening and has a busy lifestyle what advice or tips would you give to them when planning and starting to organise their garden?
The first thing is to work out what you want to do in your garden. Is it, for example, a space for children to play in, for pets to run around on, somewhere for you to sit and relax or a place where you actually want to garden? If it is a bit of everything, work out a proportion of the space you want for each activity.
If you are keen on having a go at growing flowers or plants, work out where you want to have them and whether you will put them in beds or in pots. Head to a good garden centre and have a look at plants that are good for the conditions you will be growing them in (whether it is shady or sunny, damp or dry, pots or beds). It is worth considering how much water they will need and opt for those that don’t need you to water too much in summer.
If you want a lawn, it is well worth considering artificial grass as it won’t need to be mowed and is perfect for children and pets.
Should I consider putting artificial grass in my garden if I have pets or other animals around, in terms of cleaning up after them?
Artificial grass is a great surface if you have pets. Not only will it not get muddy or soggy, but their wee drains away through the drainage perforations, and you just pick up poo like you would on any other grass. Rain will wash away any residue but you can also use water from a hose and mild detergent to rinse the grass.
What is artificial grass made of and is it safe for my pets if they eat it?
Our artificial grass is made using plastic yarn (polyethylene or polypropylene) that is stitched into a woven polypropylene backing, which is then coated with latex that anchors the stitches. The latex and the backing is then punctured to provide drainage holes. It is very rare for pets to eat the grass, but if they did it would be like eating a soft short, thin piece of plastic. The latex is very firm so they worst they could do to this, if it isn’t secured properly, is chew it, and this wouldn’t be a problem for the pet.
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What type of base is suitable for artificial grass and where can I use artificial grass?
Your imagination is the limit for how you use your artificial grass. It can go inside, into your children’s bedrooms, laid like a carpet in office spaces and made into a feature of an indoor outside room. Obviously, you can lay it in your garden instead of real grass, or you can place it on your balcony to create a bright space to relax, or you can use it on a rooftop garden.
Any base is suitable for artificial grass but it will need a degree of work to prepare it. The easiest base is a concrete one and if this is clean and clear you can just about lay the grass without much effort, gluing the grass to the concrete with tape and glue. If you have decking, you are best off putting down some plywood otherwise the grass will edge into the gaps between the decking boards. If you want to lay it in your garden, you are best off removing the existing turf layer, levelling the ground and then putting down a geotextile sheet (which stops the weeds growing through) before you lay the grass. You can find loads more information on how to lay grass on artificial-grass.com
For someone with a busy lifestyle and not much time to clean their garden does artificial grass need a lot of maintenance?
Artificial grass is perfect for people with less time to spend tidying their garden—in fact, it is one of its advantages. All you will need to do is keep leaves and other debris off it, usually raking the grass every few weeks, and this will also help keep the tufts upright and help your grass look better for longer.
What type of plants should I grow in my garden that does not require too much up-keep all year round?
A great plant to have is lavender. It is hardy, has a lovely, dainty flower and a great scent. Just give it a spot that is well drained and prune it back once a year after it has stopped flowering.
If you have limited space consider using vertical areas and plant climbers—maybe jasmine or a climbing hydrangea. If you position them correctly, you can leave them to grow and flower with pleasure.
And, finally, one I love, are fuchsias. They grow well, whether in a pot, hanging basket or in a flower bed, and once flowering will add beautiful colour to your garden.
Why is compost needed in gardening and is compost required with artificial grass installed in the garden?
Compost is needed to give plants the nutrients they need to grow to be healthy and sturdy. Often, when gardens have many plants growing in them each year, the natural nutrients are used up so we add compost to help them out.
Artificial grass doesn’t need compost itself, as it isn’t real grass, but if you have pots of plants or flowerbeds around your grass, you should help them to last longer by giving them a good amount of compost each year. If you have real grass, you should be adding fertiliser to keep it growing well and looking a consistent green.
For first time gardeners, what are the best times of year to grow their own fruit and vegetables and what factors should they consider when doing so?
The main UK growing season for fruit and vegetables is spring and summer. If you have a green house or cloches, you can extend this season. Basically, plants need sunshine, warmth, water and nutrients to grow, and fruit and vegetables tend to grow very quickly so they need quite a lot of these. The season begins in spring and by the end of summer in September you will be harvesting your produce.
It is worth considering how much time you have and where you are growing the fruit and vegetables. It is much easier to buy ready grown plants to plant out in the spring than to sow seeds yourself. Buying your own plant means you know you have the plant (your seeds might not germinate or birds might eat them) and it is substantial enough to survive a range of pests. You will need to water them regularly and cover with netting or put in small shiny, moving objects to scare away birds (like wind chimes, children’s windmills, for instance). Then it is a case of watching your plants grow and their fruits and vegetables develop!
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