gardens and roof terraces with artificial grass


In one of my first roof gardens I wanted to try out an artificial grass that was introduced to me at that time. I wanted the garden to be vivid without being brash with a feeling of freshness – the grass was optimal. Short, tidy and easy to work with the turf was juxtaposed with cedar and sandstone to create transition between areas of the garden. Since then the artificial grass industry had exploded with thousands of products, manufacturers and techniques. I primarily use artificial grass in roof terraces as a cost effective, light, non-directional surface. It is fun to use in gardens too for play and sport areas.

1. Pattern 2. Putting green 3. Play area 4. Logistics 5. Picnic area 6. Courtyard green 7. Flexibility

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One of the best things about artificial turf is that it’s like a rolled up carpet. As long as you have a sharp knife you can cut it into any shape you desire. In this courtyard the grass in centralised between bands of granite and limestone to provide a lush and vivid accent. The deep soft green is naturally picked up in the foliage of the surrounding black bamboo and palm trees. This low maintenance scheme is ideal for both the 2 grown ups and the 2 young kids. For a working Italian family, and most of my Italian clients prefer maintenance free gardens, the grass means more fun and less work – apart from the occasional hoovering…

gardens and roof terraces with artificial grass pattern

Highbury garden


For this large roof garden in Vauxhall I needed a cost effective solution to the upper deck. When the client mentioned he likes to play golf, I designed a putting green with 3 holes. A darker grass is cut into the main green to replicate the St George Wharf crest, which is the identity of the building. Along this side of the river, with very little green and being surrounded by a concrete forest of new buildings, I wanted to bring a touch of verdancy, which in turn picks up on the tree tops on the other side of the river.

gardens and roof terraces with artificial grass putting green

St George Wharf roof gardens


3. Towards the end of a long project in this Highgate residence, where we installed a new roof terrace, the last bit of land by the side of the house was to be reclaimed. With a young boy running around and both parents golf fans, it was fairly obvious what was needed to be done. This grass pile ideal for putting as it is fairly thin at around 12mm and dressed with kiln dried fine sand after the installation. In most applications I tend to use a shock pad of 25mm thickness made from recycled rubber, which gives a wonderful soft but firm cushioning.

gardens and roof terraces with artificial grass play area

Highgate roof terrace


Most artificial grasses are manufactured into 2 metre or 4 metre rolls. This means that over large areas there are joins to be considered. It also means that when using the 4 metre roll on a roof terrace one is faced with a logistical canandrum as this roll is very heavy and very long. Here, near Tower Bridge, we are using a small furniture lift in the internal courtyard to shift the roll up to the terrace on the fifth floor. To be able to do that, the grass had to be delivered to the site on a preceding day and stored as synchronising it would not be viable.

gardens and roof terraces with artificial grass logistics

Shad Thames roof garden


The grass in the previous photograph ended up here in this picnic area. On this side of the terrace, facing Canary Wharf, there are some tall concrete buildings and the view. The grass lightens the presence of concrete, while the tiles reaffirm the render in the building near by. The pile here does not require sand and it is a lush deep green, very soft and tall. It is at the top end of the market and was used to create the most comfortable area for a picnic possible. This large terrace is used frequently for ad hoc parties by the young clients and so this area is not only a contrast but also a private space and a tranquil one. As this grass is applied directly to the roof, in order to prevent the wind lifting it we use small dabs of silicone and spot glue the pile.

gardens and roof terraces with artificial grass picnic area

Shad Thames roof garden


The role of the grass in this project is small but delightful. Here in Dorset in a very old, conserved stone courtyard the heat rises by the minute in the season – it is a sweltering sun trap. As such I have planted many desert plants such as Agave, Dasylirion, Euphorbia and palm trees. The muted colour scheme needed a lift somewhere and the grass came to mind. The client was a neighbour of a client in London whom I used artificial grass on their roof garden, hence the familiarity on both sides. When I saw the view of the green Dorset hills from the upstairs window I knew that a small piece of artificial grass will serve this connection between the stone courtyard and the soft hills beyond.

gardens and roof terraces with artificial grass courtyard green

Sandbanks courtyard garden


The two piles in this photograph are resting on my drawing table as part of a design for a roof terrace by the Thames Barrier. Here I wanted to replicate the varying heights and colours of grass in the park opposite, therefore these 2 grasses are different in height and colour. Artificial grass is an extremely flexible application from both a design and installation points of view. It can look natural, long, trimmed, light, dark, tough or soft, but one thing for sure is – it does not look artificial…

gardens and roof terraces with artificial grass flexibility

MyLandscapes LTD studio

As it goes, I do not really think of the artificial grass or treat it as grass per se. I think of it as another surface I can use that is a good solution to many challenges. To maximise its beauty it needs to be incorporated with focus and intention in the right place, in the right amount. With so little time for gardening these days, using artificial grass is a blessing – no mowing, no watering, no edging, no picking up worm casts. Lovers of pets would also appreciate the benefits of artificial grass – dog owners in particular though be warned rabbit owners, as these pets become pests when artificial grass is available gnawing away insatiably. Some of us suffer from grass allergies and could really do with plastic turf although which ever way you look at it there is one quality which is absent in artificial grass: the smell of cut grass… This is one thing I really do love but I have no time to maintain my lawn, so hopefully one day I will replace it with an artificial one…

amir   Written, photographed (unless indicated) and posted by Amir Schlezinger.

gardens and roof terraces with artificial grass

Highbury garden

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