If you currently have artificial grass in your yard or are considering it, you’ve probably heard of all the great benefits it has.
It can completely transform a concrete or paved area into a lively and inviting place. And unlike real turf, you don’t have to worry about regular maintenance.
But because synthetic grass is so unique, you may have some questions about how best to care for and look after it. Many people want to know if it is possible to drive on artificial grass or park on it.
In today’s article, you will learn everything you need to know about driving on synthetic grass. We will also explain the EXACT measures you can put in place to drive on it without damaging the installation.
Can You Drive On Artificial Grass?
In general, driving on artificial grass is not recommended. Here’s why:
While the synthetic grass layer itself can handle a lot of weight, the wheels’ twisting motion damages the fibers, along with the rubber and tread of the tires pulling the fibers away from the grass backing.
However, the answer is not that simple. There are variables to consider, such as the quality of the artificial grass, the type of installation, and how long or often you may want to drive or park on the grass. The weight of the vehicle also has an impact.
If you really wanted to drive or park on artificial grass, there are ways to minimize the damage on your lawn.
You Need The Right Artificial Grass
Artificial grass looks and feels like natural grass. It is very easy on the eyes and has the power to transform and beauty an outdoor space completely.
With that said, there are many different varieties of it, and you’re going to need the right one if you wish to drive or park on it.
Synthetic grass can be made with different materials such as nylon, polypropylene, or polyethylene. The type of material used affects the overall resilience, or strength, of the grass.
Nylon is the most resilient material, and it returns to its original shape quicker after it has been walked on or trampled in any way. It also keeps its original form better and for a longer lifespan.
Varieties of artificial grass also differ in their pile height – This term refers to the average length of the grass blades.
In general, a grass with a longer pile height will be less resilient. It will have a harder time staying upright, and take longer to return to its original shape.
On the other hand, a short pile height is more resilient. The grass blades will be more rigid and remain upright. It will be able to take more abuse, while requiring less brushing and maintenance too.
Each artificial grass on the market comes with specifications about its quality, strength, the weight it can handle, and its typical lifespan. Some options are better able to handle the weight of a parked or moving car than others.
If you insist on driving or parking on your artificial lawn, we recommend choosing an artificial grass made from strong nylon, with a pile height of 25mm or less.
Before making your final choice, you should request as much information as possible from the supplier and clarify any questions you might have. Remember – Once your artificial lawn installed, it’s there to stay!
You Need A Thick Sub-Base
Another requirement for driving on artificial grass without causing damage to the ground is a thick sub-base.
The sub-base is the layer of aggregates installed above the earth or before laying on the turf. In other words, it’s the layer directly underneath the artificial grass backing.
This layer is very important because it serves as the foundation of the entire lawn, and gives the installation its structural stability.
For the reasons above, the sub-base must be solid, well-compacted, and capable of handling the weight of parked cars and any furniture you are going to place on the grass.
You will also need a thick layer of 100mm or more after compaction. Doing this ensures that it is strong enough for heavy traffic and is not going to sink or become damaged.
At the same time, it has to remain permeable to allow for water to drain freely. For this reason, we recommend using decomposed granite or limestone chippipngs for your sub-base.
If your budget allows for it, you may also consider the more expensive Class II Road Base for extra strength and stability.
It Shortens Its Lifespan
We have covered the two main requirements for driving on artificial grass: A high-quality grass selection that can handle the weight and pressure of driving, and a thick sub-base made from the right materials.
Despite putting these measures in place, we generally do not recommend driving on it. You may not experience any problems doing it once or twice, but driving and parking on it over a prolonged period will damage the grass.
The normal lifespan of artificial grass is 10 to 20 years, but you will inevitably shorten its lifespan by driving over it.
Over time, the damage will become apparent no matter how good the preparation is. Fibers will begin to flatten, weaken, and even tear out. This leaves matted or bare spots on the lawn, specifically where the tires make contact.
While artificial grass is much stronger than natural grass, replacing it is no easy task to repair it. This involves cutting up and carefully replacing patches, often times leaving you with an unpleasant look to your lawn.
Better Designs For A Driveway With Artificial Grass
We understand – You really want artificial grass on your driveway, but you don’t want to deal with all the problems involved…
Our team has installed artificial grass in hundreds of homes around the world. And we’ve got some clever tricks for you to install it on your driveway too.
There are special designs you can use to incorporate artificial grass together with concrete and pavers into your driveway. This way, you get both the lush green looks of artificial grass and the stability and strength of concrete to support your car.
The driveway design you opt for depends on your yard’s size and layout, the amount of restructuring you are willing to do, and finally your personal tastes and preferences.
There are many designs out there, but we’re going to cover our Top 4 favorites:
1. The Strip Design
For this design, you simply leave two strips of concrete in your lawn for the car’s tires to roll on.
The great thing about this design lies in its simplicity. All you have to do is trim the artificial grass, and lay it between and around the concrete strips.
The end result is a clean-looking driveway that’s mostly covered in greenery. You get most of the visual benefits, without damaging the grass at all!
2. Between Pavers
For this design, you can space out pavers with artificial grass in between them. The result is a beautiful, natural look that will provide support for your car.
This requires a bit more time and effort to cut the artificial grass and install it in between the individual pavers. The process usually involves installing the pavers first, then laying a large sheet of artificial grass and cutting around the pavers.
Since the artificial grass backing is set lower than the pavers’ surface, the tires are not going to come into contact with the backing layer. This prevents tear outs, matting and other forms of damage.
3. The Grid Design
The grid design is the hardest to install. It involves installing concrete in the form of a grid, then laying small patches of artificial grass in between them.
Similar to laying artificial grass in between pavers, the grass itself is set lower than the level of the concrete. This means the tires on your car will never touch or damage the backing of the grass.
However, this also means the grid has to be tight enough for one to walk on comfortably – Too wide of a space between the concrete, and you’ll find it very difficult to walk on it without tripping!
This design is a big challenge when it comes to stability and drainage. And this job is always to be done by a specialist.
However, some homeowners feel it’s worth it. Indeed, it’s as close as you can get to driving directly on artificial grass without damaging it.
4. Concrete Driveway with Artificial Grass
Finally, we come to the easiest solution – Just surround the driveway with artificial grass!
By keeping the lawn and driveway separate, you will save a lot of hassle in terms of installation.
It also gives you a lot more freedom in choosing a grass that suits your tastes, instead of simply the strongest one.
Ultimately, this is the design we go for in most homes. For most homeowners, the slight visual benefit of driving directly on the grass just isn’t worth it. There’s definitely merit to keeping it simple!
We all know artificial grass can make your yard look more homely, more natural and less cold. But many people want to take it a step further by using it on their driveway or parking space.
While strong fake grass varieties combined with a thick sub-base can allow you to drive on the grass, it is still not recommended unless you don’t have another option. The tires’ movement and the weight of the vehicle on the pile can damage the grass fibers and reduce the lawn’s lifespan.
The ideal compromise is to install patches of synthetic fibers in sections of the driveway that do not encounter vehicle tires. And if you do it properly, it still looks amazing!