When it comes to my garden I have a love/hate relationship with Mother Nature. Every summer I waste ridiculous amounts of time, effort and money on making our modest family patch as clean, tidy and pretty as possible by filling it with colourful flowers to staining the fence, decking and shed. I meticulously feed, seed, weed and water the lawn to rival that of a golf course because I love how lush and green it looks on a glorious summers day and it’s true what that say – home is a (wo)man’s castle. Yet with every winter my little slice of paradise instantly becomes a soggy, brown, muddy rotten mess and it’s heartbreaking to see everything die off.
The paintwork fades, leaves clog every corner and it all just looks so unloved. Add to the mix our rabbit Patches who eats anything green in sight, our Chihuahua Joey who kills in an instant with a cock of his hind leg and two very excitable children in stomping welly boots and it’s a never ending battle that I frequently lose. In my quest for a quaint slice of paradise I decided to buy the children a playhouse for Christmas which they love to bits and I can never get them out of it. But everytime it rains my son stomps his boots across the grass to the decking; naturally it has worn away the little greenery that we had due aso to the constant shade cast by the fence and clay-rich soil. So to encourage growth I placed stepping stones to and from the playhouse but the lawn is yet to regrow.
The copious sacks of grass seed I’ve scattered and watered in haven’t helped either as a combination of my pets, my darling children, the great British weather system and the shady fence leave very little hope of growing a lush lawn. But what use is a garden if you have to tell the children that they can’t walk on the grass or touch the ground for fear of destroying it? I want to have lazy summer days laying on the grass sunbathing, reading books, playing football and splashing in the paddling pool. But as it is nothing will grow under the shade of the playhouse and slide, let alone putting out a paddling pool or trampoline to sign the death-warrant on yet another patch of fragile lawn. In loving my garden I’ve had to let go of the beauty of it so that the children and pets can have fun instead; much like fashion I had to decide between practicality and beauty and I chose mucky practicality at the expense of my lawn.
I’m extremely house proud and spend a lot of time in my kitchen-diner which is the heart of our home and has beautiful patio doors opening out onto the garden perfect for keeping an eye on the children whilst they play; yet the garden is by far the most disastrous and unsightly part of my home and I have no way to fix the lawn or disguise the space, as soon as I walk into my immaculate kitchen I am greeted by the eye-sore that is my garden and it’s rather embarrassing for me to show others. I can’t control nor correct Mother Nature and it’s incredibly frustrating to say the least because I put so much effort into my home. I have a garden that I love but it doesn’t love me back.
Add to the fact that my garden is sloped and the rainwater runs down towards the house to leave a dry and cracked top end and a soggy bog at the bottom, then the only safe and functional outdoor space that I actually have is the decking and path. I’ve tried everything I can think of to grow my garden, every fertiliser, feed and seed known to man but I simply have to admit defeat. I’ve wasted too much time and money on trying to save my lawn and laying turf each year looks lovely for a while after it’s knitted itself together but like everything else it doesn’t take long to die off and disappear.
I decided to look for a real grass alternative that is non-muddy, child-safe, pet friendly, beautiful year round, natural and low-maintenance – surely that’s not too much to ask is it? Well according to Artificial Grass Ltd I can have just that! When I think of artificial grass the first thing that springs to mind is that awful plastic abrasive green carpet that green-grocers use to cover their stalls when selling fruit and vegetables, not only does it look obviously fake but it discolours with sunlight and is itchy to the touch. Yet domestic artificial lawns are a million times more advanced and have come a long way in recent years and artificial grass is now widely used across sports facilities, health-spas and expansive grounds in order to lower maintenance and provide an immaculate year-round finish of lush greenery designed to withstand heavy footfall. For the elderly and families alike there is no longer the need to mow the grass, weed, water or use pesticides so you can spend your free time actually enjoying your outdoor space rather than trying to make it habitable each week/season.
With just a few clicks and measurements online I was able to order my grass from Artificial Grass Ltd and book my installation with Acacia Gardens for a few days later. The grass arrived on a lorry rolled up and packaged just like a carpet and the installers came to do everything from start to finish. Fortunately I have a rear access gate to my garden which allowed them to bring in all of the equipment from rollers and hardcore to sand, wheelbarrows and tools. The team of three cheerful staff were wonderfully helpful and I never had to lift a finger other than boil the kettle for a cup of coffee midway. They cleared the garden of all dead plants, toys and top soil moving the playhouse onto the decking so that they could level the ground. To install the artificial grass the top soil was cleared, hardcore and sand foundations laid and compressed along with a wooden border dug into the ground to fix the grass to.
As the path was stained, cracked and had weeds growing through it they were able to treat and cover it all in a protective membrane before fitting the grass for a flush and pristine finish from corner to corner and tack it into place around the edges and across the middle to prevent it from moving or lifting up. When they children came home from school they loved meeting the team and sharing ice-creams and hugs and were so enthusiastic to start enjoying our new garden even before it was finished. I’ve never met such conscientious, hardworking individuals who went above and beyond the call of duty by being so polite, respectful and considerate to our needs. They made the children feel wonderfully involved and tidied away every last crumb before putting together the new swinging chair for the decking; true testament to a team of professionals who love what they do and take pride in their work.
In a single afternoon our garden has been totally transformed and it’s as if somebody has taken a can opener to a conservatory roof and given us the most amazing outside space. It has doubled our ground floor and I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing there’ll be no more nagging the children to keep off of the grass or telling them that they can’t have their paddling pool or bubble blower liquid on a sunny day because it’ll kill off the grass. Our old garden was just a small decking and side path before for usable space, yet now we no longer need a path because every inch of the garden is accessible, safe and meticulously manicured. The grass will remain flawless all year every year and the children, pets and I cannot get enough of it. It’s beautifully soft, warm and spongy to lay on and something we haven’t done for absolute years; my son literally can’t stop rolling all over it, my daughter doing cartwheels, the animals chasing their tails and I particularly love a spot of morning yoga on the lawn because it’s so gentle underfoot. Let me just say that again because it sounded so good, the lawn; my gorgeous green lawn!
When doing my research online I was expecting an aesthetically pleasing solution to my battered old backyard and what I got from this transformation was so much more. We have a garden for the very first time, a usable, safe and beautiful outdoor space that makes us smile from ear to ear each time that we look out of the window or step outside. It’s not only stunning to look at but also completes our home and I have no doubt that it’s added value to the asking price.
Finally we can enjoy the garden without the refines of sitting on a chair on a dark corner of the decking. We decided to keep a border down the side of the fence where all of my fruit trees and canes are as this allows me space to plant flowers and for our rabbit Patches to have his little cubby corner where he’s always loved to sit.
Surprisingly the garden doesn’t feel fake or plastic at all, the detail of the grass is exceptional and even more so on closer inspection as it consists of varying shades of green and yellow blades of grass at varying angles. I now have the carpet of greenery that I have always craved and reassuringly it will never grow out of control, develop weeds, tangle around my plants or thin in high traffic areas; it’s elegant, natural looking and flawlessly manicured and the underside of the playhouse and slide have never looked so good. My parents are now considering having their grass changed to help with my mums bad hip and my friends are already measuring up their apartment balcony to add a splash of colour. What a fantastic way to make the most of every outdoor space, our house has never been so quiet because we’re now constantly in the garden and I couldn’t recommend it more highly!