Finding the right pile height is so much more than just aesthetics. How your lawn is going to be used and by whom are just some of the important factors to consider.
A short pile height of 20mm (0.79″) is most suitable for children and pets. If you want your artificial grass to look natural, its height should be at least 30mm (1.18″). For something that is very comfortable underfoot, choose blades that measure 40mm (1.57″) or longer in length.
This guide is going to take an in-depth look at every turf pile height available on the market. And to make doubly sure you’re happy with your new lawn, I’ve included some important considerations toward the end of the article.
How to Choose the Best Pile Height for Your Needs
There are several more points to consider than just color and aesthetics when choosing the correct pile height. The function of your turf is more important since certain grades of grass blades may look better but lack strength.
Hockey, football, and other contact sports will flatten turf, and some synthetic grades will not bounce back. Pets, children, and general foot traffic will also flatten out the pile, but a higher density will pad out the ground, making it safer to play on.
20mm or Less
Though 20mm (0.79″) may look less appealing than longer turf, it is a more functional length for pets and children. Shorter turf is easier to spot discarded toys on and for playing games such as tennis or football. And young children will find a shorter pile easier for walking on in sandals.
At some point, your pets, or someone else’s, will mess or urinate on the turf. A shorter turf is easier to sweep and wash down with a hose. A shallow pile will soak up less urine, and you will need less disinfectant to eradicate the smell.
20mm to 30mm
Between 20mm and 30mm (0.79-1.18″), you should still see a reasonable level of bounce back after someone walks over the grass. Older children will find this range of pile depths more fun for running around on with bare feet. You may want to look at installing turfs with shorter pile heights if you have dogs to clean up after.
The appearance of a longer pile will also back up the illusion that you are looking at a freshly cut lawn. The downside is that the longer blades of grass will catch leaves and other debris, leading to more time you will have to spend cleaning your lawn.
30mm to 40mm
Between 30mm and 40mm (1.18-1.57″) is around the level a lawnmower will cut grass to, so this height tends to look more real. Though developments in creating synthetic grass have also come a long way in combating the effects of down treading for piles of over 40mm.
Children will appreciate the taller pile and find that it is more comfortable to walk on. some people believe that over 40mm, artificial grass is too long to look natural. You will notice more debris collection, and pets may not be able to resist trying to claw up and chew the blades of grass.
40mm to 50mm
Longer artificial turf can look unkempt, but it can also enhance the texture and feel more luscious. Though pleasant to walk on, this length will hide surprises from pets and small children’s toys.
The longer blades will struggle to bounce back, unlike short grass, and may look tired sooner if laid over a main area of use. Between 40mm to 50mm (1.57-1.97″) is better suited to smaller pockets of your property, where foot traffic will be minimal.
50mm or More
Artificial grasses of over 50mm (1.97″) look more real and will eliminate most people’s doubts about whether the grass is fake. The longer blades of turf will make the lawn look thick and healthy and will blend in better beneath natural plants.
A mixed pile, which uses various colors, will offer the most pleasing finish. The next generation of artificial turf makes use of rubber and sand infills. These infills help support taller piles and offer better shock absorption for various sports.
Why Is Pile Height so Important?
Factors to help you figure out what is going to be the best pile height relates to performance and appearance. A thicker and taller pile will offer greater comfort and safety, but a short pile is easier to look after and is better for heavy traffic.
A common grass pile preference is between 20mm to 30mm, around the height you would cut real grass to with a mower. Shorter grass of less than 20mm will look better over broad surfaces and in sports areas. In some situations, downtrodden grass can improve the appearance of artificial turf.
A mix of grass blade colors will help sell artificial turf as looking authentic. A longer and denser pile will react to the wind and look more natural as it is blown around. But both color and pile length are personal preferences and may depend on the color scheme of your garden and home.
A longer pile will feel better underfoot and be more comfortable to lay down on. The tips of grass blades on pile heights below 20mm will feel sharp in comparison to a pile of over 40mm.
A greater density and height will make the tips of the grass blades feel softer and soak up more impact when players run or fall onto them. Children will also find a pile of over 40mm more appealing to play on.
Shorter pile heights of below 20mm, may struggle to bounce back from heavy walking traffic. Though a longer turf pile may look better, it copes less well with excessive use and sports.
The sun and the rain can shorten the lifespan of the turf, and longer grass blades will droop faster. Even in the shade, over time, gravity will cause bending and will pull longer blades of grass over from their original vertical positions.
Consider what will be the main function of your artificial turf, whether for appearance, pleasure, or sport. Games such as bowls, football, and golf putting will need a shorter pile height to reduce drag on the balls.
A longer pile of up to 20mm may suit games like volleyball, but the longer the pile, the less grip the players will have underfoot. For general play, the padding of a longer and more dense pile of over 40mm is safer for children, pets, and adults.
The biggest reason for installing artificial turf is to do away with the extreme level of attention natural grass needs to look healthy and clean. Even though you will not need to mow your fake turf, a longer pile will still pick up rubbish and leaves.
To keep the grass looking fresh, you will need to brush the turf to clean it and bring the grass blades back to height. Dog mess is also more difficult to clean out of a longer turf pile.