Artificial Grass in the past
Evergreens UK were a pioneer in the field of landscape artificial grass being one of the first companies in the UK to supply and install artificial grass for landscaping along with Verde Sports. Verde Sports focussed mainly on specialist sports surfaces such as indoor bowls flooring and LazyLawn whose core business was the supply of artificial grass for the domestic landscape market.
During the early years many of the surfaces available were made only from polypropylene which whilst providing great durability, were harsh to the touch and didn’t look very realistic. The surfaces were ideally suited to outdoor pool surrounds, roof gardens and balconies but lacked the realistic look for garden lawns.
Around 2001 the acquisition of LazyLawn by the Evergreens UK Group was complete. This increased the core products and services offered to include production of golf mats, supply and installation of artificial grass and event flooring.
The early 2000’s were a rapidly changing time for the artificial grass industry. For years manufacturers were not interested in producing products for the Landscape market. Suddenly they became aware of the potential growth of this sector. For many years landscapers had been asking for new yarns and colours to be developed. The message from manufacturers was very much that the Sport sector was much larger and landscaping only represented a small side line to keep winter production going when demand for sports pitches was low.
However, now, many manufactures have elevated Landscape products and consider them on a level playing field with sports surfaces. Moreover, there are now many new boutique producers manufacturing unique and extremely high-quality products only for the landscape industry.
The Future Of Artificial Grass
Now with the backing of manufacturers and new yarns being produced specifically for the landscape market, including Lazy Grass which was a fibrillated yarn, the market has grown massively.
This huge volume increase in work has also required an increase in installation teams across the UK. Evergreens UK has at this point decided to offer the LazyLawn Licence to independent companies who want an add to their current mainly landscape businesses. Evergreens UK now have around 22 local installation offices from Scotland to Cornwall and specialist departments covering every type of artificial surface from rubber wet pour to professional putting greens.
Now is the time of Wonder! When the Wonder Yarn was being developed Evergreens UK knew it was something special and year on year it has proven to be our bestseller. Used for high traffic areas from busy lawns to school playgrounds Wonder Yarn has a proven track record. In 2016 Wonder Yarn was awarded Which? Best Buy after being blind tested against the major competitors. Wonder Yarn success is down to the yarn profile being ‘W’ shaped with 3 backbones where other profiles use a ‘V’ structure and only have one backbone. This makes Wonder Yarn incredibly durable due to this structure.
The Chinese Are Coming!
During the early to mid-2000’s Evergreens UK started to research the possibility of importing artificial grass from Chinese manufacturers. During the first few years of a partnership with a Chinese manufacturer we had products tufted and backed in China but produced using European yarns from Radici.
Over the next 10 years Chinese manufacturers increased their investment in new purpose-built factories and invested in new UK made Cobble tufting machines. This has substantially increased the quality of the products manufactured. However, importing yarns from Europe was expensive and restrictive to development. Many Chinese manufacturers then invested in new yarn production plants to enable new profiles to be quickly and cheaply designed with colour alterations for individual market requirements.
So, What Now?
Well the Chinese manufacturers are fully established with state of the art plants. FIFA approval is being readily given and many Chinese producers now feature in the Top 5 artificial grass producers in the world. Artificial grass as a finished product is now being supplied to distributors and other manufacturers around the world using effective Chinese yarns along with raw yarn products to allow European and US manufacturers to make artificial turf products.
So, What Is The Future?
Hybrid Grass is a new technology being used in sports pitches combining the benefits from both natural and artificial pitches. The technology for various patents varies but include either natural growing turf through an artificial grass mesh or to fibres injected into the current pitch surfaces. This may at some point become a solution for high traffic areas like schools and commercial areas. However, it would still require general lawn maintenance. So the reality is that over the next few years the polymers used in the yarn production will be improved, along with new creative and complex yarn profiles giving greatly enhanced performance over the lifetime of artificial grass areas.
Yarns and Backing Materials
Artificial Turf Tufting Machines
Examples of Landscape Artificial grass suppliers Pre 1990