The idea of artificial turf may conjure up unpleasant memories for football supporters following several poorly received uses of it on the pitch at QPR and Luton in the 1980s, but for gardeners it may represent a dream of low-maintenance – if only it didn’t look like one of those green plastic doormats.

Well, it needn’t. A product called Royal Grass has been around in the UK for several years now and is, according to distributor Easyplants.co.uk, becoming so popular that 2008 could see a boom in its use.

What Royal Grass promises is a lush-looking, practically no-maintenance lawn all year round. It calls itself the creme de la creme of artificial grasses, looking and feeling exactly like natural grass. Yet it will need no watering, will never scorch in summer and can take a pounding from pets and kids and not show the wear and tear.
And it’s useful for barbecues too. It complies with the most stringent requirements for fire safety, coming through elaborate tests with flammable liquids, although hot coals will leave scorch marks, so some care is needed to maintain its looks.

It even comes with a 10-year no-fade guarantee.

Easyplants says this lawn will always be a beautiful colour, in all weathers, season after season, year after year. No matter what you expose your Royal Grass to, be it dogs or children, let them play around, your lawn will not be disturbed. There is no need to spray or fertilise it and you will notice the amazing savings on your water bill. And if you are going on holidays, there is no need for your neighbours to take care of your lawn.

Royal Grass is a complete artificial grass system, not just a roll of artificial grass carpet. Carefully selected fibres with natural shapes and colours are processed into a beautiful high piled construction. This construction is filled up with a natural looking and lasting deep brown coloured quartz sand, which enhances the natural appearance.

The unique construction of the grass prevents loss of colour, no matter how much sun, rain, hail and snow it faces. It was tested for fading and UV-stability under the most stringent conditions in the desert of Arizona and humidity of Florida.

Common bugbears among those with traditional lawns include the intrusion of roots and mole activity. Thanks to the very strong back on which Royal Grass is attached, neither will break through.

It has ecological benefits, as it does not need any water, pesticides, fertilising or mowing and it can be recycled at the end of its lifespan. And for hay fever sufferers, there is suddenly the opportunity to enjoy a lawn without having to worry about grass pollen rising from underfoot.

It does need to be laid professionally. This should mean any joints between rolls will almost be invisible. It will fit seamlessly to terraces, walls, and even rocks, because it can be cut in any possible shape or form. The specialist installation will also take care of the optimal drainage and surface preparation.

Royal Grass is certainly low-maintenance, but does require a little care. The special coated quartz sand, especially when the grass is used intensively, will compact after a time. Therefore, it is advised to fill up the grass with quartz sand once a year.

Furthermore, natural debris, such as leaves and seeds, should be removed when necessary to deter weeds. If weeds however do come up, they can be removed by raking – not too tough a job as the grass is manufactured on an anti-weed fabric, which means roots can never penetrate deeper than 2cm.

Peter Drinkell, managing director of Easyplants, says: ” People are really taking seriously the opportunity to make their gardens available all year round. From the nastiest weather to drought conditions the lawn will always be accessible and there is no mud to bring into the home in the winter. Children cannot destroy the lawn in the driest of months, and can play on the lawn all year round. It will look the same all year round and in all weathers.

“We have installed hundreds of gardens across the UK, and synthetic grass is getting more and more popular. Once installed, the response from friends and family is incredible, hence we always get lots of further installations from recommends alone.

“With 2008 now upon us, I believe that Royal Grass will be even more popular than ever before and will remain the premier synthetic lawn in the UK.
“It has the advantage of being the most realistic lawn in the market place. It is not the cheapest in the world, however it is a long-term investment and will only add value to one’s lifestyle and property.”

More details can be found at www.easyplants.co.uk/easylawns/