Mercedes G Wagon vs Dacia Duster
Meile vs Beko
John Lewis vs ASDA Home
We’re pretty sure which of these brands most people would choose. Why? The brands most people would choose are the ones that are synonymous with quality. Whether it’s quality of ingredients, quality of workmanship, or quality of service, we all know and feel that things that are built with quality as an unnegotiable priority last longer, function better and often provide more value for money over the life of the product. Admittedly comparing a 4.0L supercharged v8 car with a 1-1.5L diesel shopping trolley isn’t the fairest comparison but hey Peter Pedantic Pants – stop nit-picking.
The same can be said for artificial grass – ingredient quality is the most fundamentally important factor in a product’s life span and it affects everything from the way the grass stands up to its ability to hold its original colour for as long as possible.
At its most basic level artificial grass is just plastic grass. When you dig a little deeper there are three common types of plastic which are used in most of the artificial grass sold for domestic landscaping in the UK:
- Polyethylene (PE)
- Polypropylene (PP)
You can refer to our advice article ‘What is Artificial Grass Made From?’ for more detail on each of the above materials and their suitability for the manufacture of artificial grass. For the purposes of this article we’ll focus on the material used most commonly in artificial grass sold in the UK which is Polyethylene.
Dig deeper again and you will find out that polyethylene is manufactured in a variety of grades – C2, C4, C6 and C8 in which the number denominates the number of carbons in the polymer. The higher the number the higher the grade and more expensive the polyethylene is as a raw material.
The priority for most manufacturers is making a product as cheaply as possible and selling it for as much as possible. End consumers don’t know any different so it would be ludicrous to spend double or triple the amount on a raw ingredient when the product looks identical at the point of purchase. Hey – this is business young grasshopper suck it up!
But you don’t have to. There’s a handful of manufacturers out there who actually give a Tommy Tinker about making good grass. The best we’ve found to date is TurfWorks who are extruding incredibly high quality polyethylene yarn in Germany and tufting it in Lancashire UK. They could save a packet by shipping (or even extruding) the yarn in China before having the grass tufted there and floated back to us on a big black cloud puffing ship but they don’t. Money isn’t everything and we’re happy to pay a bit more for high quality grass made by a company who cares.
It’s worth noting the polyethylene used in TurfWorks’ landscaping products was originally developed for the international sports pitch market and is commonly used in the very best American Football pitches which is probably just about the hardest wear an artificial turf can get.
Most of the artificial grass sold in the UK (probably over 90%) is made from c2 / c4 lower-grade polyethylene that is also used to make disposable shopping bags (remember them?) and poor quality cling-film. Would you invest £000’s into a lawn made out of the same material as shopping bags? Probably not.