An occasional drive across a synthetic turf area or parking a car on it for a few hours won’t cause any long-term damage but heavy weights will compact the fibers—so, you’ll need to take evasive measures to prevent it from looking downtrodden.
If you drive on artificial grass regularly or use it as ground cover for a driveway, this will shorten the life of even the best varieties. So, driving across it twice a day and parking are generally not recommended unless you’re prepared to replace your turf more often than a lawn with only moderate foot traffic, for instance.
Here’s what else you need to know about driving or parking your car on artificial grass…
Can you drive on artificial grass?
Yes, you can drive on artificial grass but doing this regularly is not recommended and parking vehicles on it for extended periods is also discouraged.
The best artificial grass is built to withstand heavy foot traffic and considerable wear and tear. It’s used in kids’ play areas and on sports fields as well as backyard lawns. It will generally “bounce back” to its previous shape when trodden on.
However, the average weight of an adult female in the U.S. is around 170 pounds while the average weight of a family car is over 4,000 pounds. That’s quite a difference. The extra weight of a vehicle adds extreme pressure to the grass fibers. This will flatten the grass blades and they will lose shape over time so that, quickly, the area will look less than pristine.
So, driving your car over the area twice a day and parking on it as you might with a typical driveway may not be a good idea unless you’re prepared for the grass to degrade significantly with the constant “squashing”. Rubber tires may even damage inferior-quality artificial grass by pulling and ripping the individual fibers out.
Can you use artificial grass as a driveway?
If you plan to construct an artificial grass driveway at home and wave goodbye to muddy areas at the front, back or sides of your property, you’ll need to take a few extra precautions when selecting, installing, and maintaining your turf:
- Select the hardest-wearing turf available
- Choose a turf with a good “bounce-back” rate
- Make sure the ground is prepared suitably with enough base layer and good drainage
- Cross-brush the area regularly to revitalize it after matting
If you plan to drive or park your vehicle on the artificial grass area, inform the installation team at DFW Turf Solutions first. We will ensure that the correct amount of sub-base is used underneath the synthetic grass, which will help it handle the extra weight.
Generally, a minimum of 100mm of sub-base is required in parking areas, depending on the weight of the vehicle(s).
Why is artificial grass so durable?
Durability is one of the main reasons why so many home and business owners switch to artificial grass from real grass.
Synthetic grass that’s professionally installed using the best turf available can last 15-20 years or more—longer than most cars! The turfed area also looks immaculate year-round (often indistinguishable from real grass) with next-to-no maintenance:
The secret to turf’s durability lies in the manufacturing process. The best artificial grass products are manufactured using sturdy polyethylene monofilament fibers (the grass blades) affixed to a backing material usually made from woven polypropylene and either latex or polyurethane.
These materials blend durability with a realistic appearance in high-quality turf, helping it withstand considerable foot traffic without damaging its performance.
Pressure on the grass will naturally lead to some matting —the greater the pressure, the greater the matting—but this can usually be managed.
Artificial grass in driveway areas should have a well-drained, relatively non-slip surface with no weeds or moss.
The grass backing should be fully permeable, allowing water to drain freely from the turf surface to the ground below. This will also preserve the grass area and help it to last longer. During the installation process, if the artificial grass is laid on top of soil, the ground is prepared with a sub-base layer to ensure the installation stands the test of time.
If the turf is laid on top of concrete, as in some driveway areas, drainage holes will need to be drilled before laying the turf to avoid puddles developing during rainfall.
Complementing driveways with artificial grass
Rather than installing artificial grass the entire length of a driveway and driving your car over it twice a day or more, you can use artificial grass to complement your driveway. Here are a few ideas:
Side lawns for driveways
Why not pave the driveway and run artificial grass along the sides and the other frontal areas of your property? You get the beautiful aesthetics of an immaculate lawn area without exposing it to excessive pressure and wear and tear.
“Wrap” your driveway in greenery
You could also use artificial grass on either side and at the ends of your driveway, enveloping it in green and providing a year-round boost of color.
Install artificial turf between pavers
How about installing artificial grass as turf strips between pavers? With real grass, these areas can be hard to trim and keep looking tidy. With artificial grass, it’s not an issue as it always looks perfect:
Landscape the front yard area
Artificial grass can be used to “segment” your outdoor spaces. You might construct a small fence or plant a hedge around the front garden area to divide your artificial lawn from the driveway.
You could landscape a few extra features to complement the artificial grass, such as topiary trees, flower beds, water features, rocks, and plants.
Benefits of artificial grass for driveway areas
As well as looking verdant and pristine all year with virtually no effort, properly installed, high-quality artificial turf drains well, is resistant to UV rays, and feels comfortable and soft underfoot.
So, even if you don’t plan to drive or park directly on artificial grass, it can make for a fine addition to the front or side of your property.
An artificial grass lawn or pavers by the side of the driveway can add great curb appeal to the front of your property.
Remember, compared with real grass, artificial grass saves you money every year after installation and pays for itself after the first five or six years.
The versatility of artificial grass
One of the main benefits of artificial grass is its versatility. The turf available today can be used in many more places than past varieties.
For driveway areas or if you’re going to be driving on the grass, choose the hardest-wearing variety with good drainage—and be sure to have it installed professionally.
How to maintain synthetic grass that you drive on
Nothing more than an occasional clean and cross brush is required to maintain professionally installed artificial grass.
However, if you plan on driving or parking your car, cross-brushing will need to be more regular if you want the grass to keep looking at its peak.
You can use a stiff pointed object to “lift “matted fibers and pull them back upright. Then, with the blades lifted up and untangled, use a stiff bristle broom or scrubber brush so that the turf bounces back to life. Brush the fibers “against the grain” to revive them.
You might need to do this every week or so if you drive on it, as well as rinsing down the grass if it gets dirty.
Bear in mind that with poorer quality grass, poor drainage or a sub-standard installation, no amount of extra work will get it looking as fine as you want it.
Can you wash your car on artificial grass?
Because of the superior drainage capabilities of the best artificial grass, washing your car on it should be no problem.
This type of turf is regularly used in swimming pool areas and drains at a rate of 30-100+ inches of water per hour per square yard. Provided the grass has been installed professionally, it will drain the wastewater effectively as you wash your car.
Can you put heavy objects on artificial grass?
Yes, heavy objects (like vehicles or heavy playground equipment) can be put on artificial grass without necessarily damaging it—but avoid putting sharp, weighty objects on the turf.
It’s a little like putting heavy furniture on carpets. The pile under heavy chair legs will become flattened and may not immediately bounce back when the chair is removed. There may also be color differences between the areas exposed to light and those “in the dark”.
Ready to switch to artificial grass?
Artificial grass looks fantastic at the front, back or sides of a home or business. When it comes to driving on it, it’s better to use artificial grass as a complement to a driveway rather than the main ground covering.
That said, you can drive on artificial grass but don’t do it regularly or park heavy vehicles on artificial grass for extended periods unless you’re prepared for the gradual degradation of the area.
With the right advice and guidance when selecting and installing artificial grass, it will last for decades.
Talk to an artificial grass professional at DFW Turf Solutions to discuss your installation options.