Suppliers say bad weather spurs interest in artificial turf market

Bad weather, lazy gardeners and shrinking gardens are seeing interest grow in artificial turf, with producers of fake grass reporting trebled turnovers in an industry now worth £2bn annually worldwide.

Artificial turf made its debut at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show last May and is now being installed at RHS Wisley in Surrey, as well as Kew Gardens and the National Trust's Cliveden in Buckinghamshire. Wisley's Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon rose garden, designed by Robert Myers, finishes planting next week for a July opening.

Trulawn managing director Ian Parry said: "This is the first time we've worked with the RHS and we're very pleased. We're talking about putting a sign up and sponsorships in the future. They are a good client to have.

"There is a lot of foot traffic around the pavilion that kills the grass and makes it impossible to maintain, so the ideal solution was artificial grass. The RHS liked our product because they thought it looked authentic.

"We're quite a new entrant to the market and we see a huge potential for growth. From our first year to this year, we've trebled our turnover."

Easigrass supplied garden designer Tony Smith's 2010 Chelsea garden. The company's maintenance manager Josh Moynihan said: "Chelsea Flower Show was absolutely amazing for us. We doubled turnover last year."

Artificial Lawn Company managing director Pete Baylis said: "In this financial year we're about two months ahead of last year - 50 per cent up. Now with people's busy lifestyles, artificial turf is giving them a solution."

Lancashire-based As Good as Grass reported 20 per cent growth in the past year, while Artificial Grass of Maryport, Cumbria, reported 15-20 per cent growth in the past year.

Turfgrass Growers Association chief executive Tim Mudge said: "There's a place for it but we don't feel it's ever going to replace real turf. It's not as good."

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