Artificial grass is a great feature for outdoor and indoor spaces, but how did this product evolve to where it is today?
Originally, artificial turf was developed for sport venues, gaining the most prominent attention in the 1960’s. As indoor stadiums for a variety of different sports began popping up, the need for artificial grass became quite vital to the success of these stadiums. At first, designers attempted to use natural grass in a domed stadium with a roof that could still let the sunlight in – but the sunlight through the glass was negatively affecting the athletes. By considering the needs of athletes who play baseball, football, soccer and field hockey, astro turf was adapted to meet particular needs of the sport. This was the motivating factor behind the artificial turf development.
Origins of Artificial Grass
Synthetic turf was introduced in Europe, made of a synthetic fabric called polypropylene. Although originally made of nylon, this new material lessened the risk of injury for players on the field. As the product developed over the years, tufts became longer and spaced out, mimicking the look and feel of natural grass. Different styles are chosen for different sports, depending on what would be most advantageous to the sport that dominated the stadium.
The next revelation came with the use of polyethylene instead of polypropylene. This new astro turf is extremely more realistic than previous versions and cannot even be compared to older products. Fields covered in polyethylene turf are also spread with rubber granules in addition to sand. The combination of fiber and infill creates a playing surface that is comfortable and safe for athletes and has a real look and feel of natural grass – perfect for televised events. Because of the sand and rubber and the spread out turf fibers, cleats and other athletic styled shoes grip the surface well, putting less stress on the bodies of athletes.
Today's Residential and Commerial Applications
Now artificial grass is found as an alternative to grass in many other places outside of sporting venues. It is sold commercially as well as retail. Commercially, artificial grass is often used for landscaping and at airports. It allows lighting and advertisements to be directly embedded in a playing surface, or runway lighting to be embedded at the airport landing strips. Home owners choose artificial grass for play areas, pet areas, and balcony/terrace areas.