After all, artificial grass doesn’t grow and can’t be mowed. Make the wrong choice, and you’ll be forced to re-do the entire area at great expense.
So what is the best length, or pile height, for artificial grass?
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The ideal pile height depends on your personal preferences and the intended use. To help you wrap your head around the most crucial considerations, we’ve put together this in-depth pile height guide.
What Is Pile Height?
First things first, let’s define the terminology. The term “pile height” is industry jargon used to describe the length of artificial grass.
Manufacturers measure the pile height from the backing until the blade’s tip in millimetres, although US-based brands may use inches instead. Typical pile heights range from 10mm to 50mm; over 50mm is possible but somewhat uncommon.
Synthetic grass manufacturers create products with varying pile heights to cater to consumers with unique requirements and tastes.
Why Is Pile Height Important?
Pile height is an essential consideration for any would-be artificial lawn owner because it affects the aesthetics, feel (or comfort), maintenance requirements, and durability.
Different pile heights have unique characteristics that appeal to certain consumers. Pet owners, parents, and sports facility managers prefer specific lengths for various reasons.
Aesthetics of Your Grass
Modern, high-quality synthetic grass can look almost as luscious as the real McCoy. However, pile height significantly impacts aesthetics, especially if you’re going for an all-natural look.
If appearance is your top priority, aim for the 20-30mm mark. As this is the height most householders mow a natural grass lawn, you’ll permanently enjoy a neat, freshly-mowed look.
However, some people prefer higher pile heights, which offer a wilder, more free-flowing aesthetic—they look remarkably realistic when blowing in the wind. Shorter lengths, on the other hand, appear more like sports fields than natural lawns. Nonetheless, some people appreciate the neat, thinly-cut look.
Whatever length you settle on, a degree of blade colour variation will help create a more authentic look.
Feel of Your Grass
Another essential consideration is the feel, or the comfort factor, of your artificial grass.
Long pile heights feel softer underfoot, making them the ideal option for parents with young children. The kids will love gallivanting around on long luscious grass (40mm or more), but shorter blades will feel too sharp on their delicate little feet.
Lying down on longer grass also feels more comfortable, and the extra length softens the impact when your little ones inadvertently fall.
Although longer grass makes sports-related falls more manageable, it’s still not ideal. High foot traffic-related flattening and inhibited ball control prove too problematic for tall pile heights.
Maintenance of Your Grass
One of the great advantages of opting for an artificial lawn is this innovative solution requires minimal maintenance. Forget about mowing, watering, or removing invasive weeds. All you need to do is occasionally break out the rake to clear away debris and readjust the blades’ shape to their original, upstanding positions.
However, it’s worth mentioning long pile heights require more frequent—and stringent—maintenance. Lengthy blades are prone to collecting sticks, dirt, and other debris, so you’ll need to brush the surface more frequently.
A more concerning consideration, however, is the mess left behind by your pets. Animal owners will find it harder to wash away their four-legged companion’s urine (or worse) from long grass. For this reason, most pet owners aim for 20mm or less.
The Durability of Your Grass
How long can you expect your artificial grass to last?
It depends on the quality of the product, your chosen pile height, and the amount of foot traffic.
While artificial grass might seem like an expensive investment, you’ll save a significant sum in the long run due to its minimal maintenance costs—no more watering or mowing. With that in mind, it’s wise to pay a little more upfront for a top-quality product from a reputable provider like Enduroturf.
Shorter pile heights (think 20mm or less) last longer in high-foot-traffic areas because the blades won’t easily bend out of shape. On the other hand, longer grass gets trampled and quickly becomes disfigured in high-foot-traffic lawns or sporting applications.
Prolonged exposure to the hot Aussie sun or torrential rain can make long artificial blades droop over time. And even if you live in a mild climate or your lawn lies in the shade, gravity will eventually bend long grass out of shape.
The bottom line? Short grass lasts longer.
Whether you’re planning to play five-a-side soccer in the backyard or you’re building a semi-professional volleyball court for the local council, pile height is an essential consideration.
As we’ve discussed, a short pile height is the best bet for sporting use for various reasons. Smaller blades facilitate better ball control and grip underfoot, allowing athletes to perform at their peak.
Furthermore, short artificial grass also lasts much longer in high-foot-traffic areas. Sports that benefit from artificial grass—think soccer, tennis, volleyball, etc.—involve lots of running and sudden pivoting. A longer grass length would flatten and disfigure too quickly to sustain this type of rigorous, heavy-duty use.
While long pile heights create more cushioning should a player fall, this single benefit doesn’t outweigh the numerous associated drawbacks.
Finding the Perfect Artificial Grass Pile Height for You
Now you’re up to speed on why pile height is important, let’s work out what length is ideal for you.
Pile Height 20mm or Less
A short pile height of 20mm or less means easy cleaning, a godsend when you’ve got messy pets to contend with. Although it also simplifies cleaning up after children, most little ones prefer the soft fluffy touch of longer blades.
The short, military-grade-like neatness makes this length suitable for some decorative gardens. However, most homeowners prefer the natural aesthetic of longer synthetic grass. Finally, enhanced durability and grip make low-standing blades the ideal option for sporting use.
Pile Height between 20mm and 30mm
Longer grass adds a more luscious, natural aesthetic to your lawn, which many homeowners prefer. Most lawnmowers cut grass at 20-30mm, so aim for this range if you’re a fan of the neat, freshly-mowed look.
While some durability issues will inevitably arise with time, this relatively short length will be resilient enough to tolerate heavy foot traffic—even in some sports. Cleaning debris (including pet-related mess) will be relatively easy due to the short blades.
Pile Height between 30mm and 40mm
Aim for a pile height from 30mm to 40mm if you dream of perfecting a realistic natural grass look. The blades will be slightly taller than a freshly mowed lawn, which adds a lovely lush green touch to any landscaping project.
Higher pile heights like this also create a lovely soft feeling underfoot, perfect for kids (or the young at heart) who love to frolic barefoot in the yard. While not as durable as lower pile heights, a high-quality product should stand the test of time.
Pile height between 40mm and 50mm
After 40mm is where artificial grass starts to get a wild, luxurious look. Expect these long luscious blades to blow freely in the wind and have a cloud-like softness underfoot. The tickling feeling between your toes is reason enough alone to consider this range.
But beware: this somewhat fragile length is only suitable for areas with low-to-moderate foot traffic. The long blades will easily contort out of shape if trampled too often. While you should forget about this range if you’re playing sports, raising pets is still viable with the right type of infill.
Pile Height of 50mm or More
Avid tall grass lovers might consider upping the ante with towering lawns of 50mm or more. While cleaning up will become a chore—especially if you’ve got pets—and durability will suffer, these long luscious blades will look as close as possible to natural grass.
If you want to fool your guests into thinking you’ve got the thing, a high pile height like this is your best bet. As a neat bonus, the lawn will blend better around natural plants and garden beds. Just remember to erect a “stay off the grass” sign so unaware guests don’t trample the delicate blades. Durability starts to suffer significantly after 50mm.
Find the Perfect Pile Length with Enduroturf
Brisbane-based Enduroturf has been providing artificial grass to home and business consumers all over Australia since 2003. The family-run business insists on manufacturing all its top-quality products locally, making them one of the few industry players to boast the ‘Made in Australia’ logo.
From landscaping to sporting fields and pro golf courses to schools, Enduroturf creates synthetic grass for every conceivable application.
If you need help determining the ideal pile height, contact our expert team today. With Enduroturf offices located in every major Australian city, there’s a cost-effective yet top-quality artificial grass retailer near you.