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History of Artificial Grass

Over the past decade, artificial grass has continued to grow as a popular landscape solution for busy and environmentally conscious homeowners and businesses. It feels and looks like natural grass, requires little maintenance, reduces water bills up to 70% while keeping the space green, year-after-year. Thanks to science and technology advances, artificial turf has significantly improved since it was first invented.


In the 1950’s, the Ford Foundation’s Education Facilities Laboratory, along with Monsanto Industries and Chemstrand developed the first iteration of artificial grass. It involved inserting needle fiber filaments into a fabric backing. It was essentially used as residential and commercial carpets.


During the next decade, the Ford Foundation sought to develop synthetic grass surfaces for urban areas. The goal was to provide playing surface alternatives to concrete, compact soil and asphalt. Chemstrand’s research organization, started to experiment with different playing services, while testing for foot traction, water resistance, and flammability. The first official iteration of synthetic grass was invented by the company's employees, James M. Faria and Robert T. Wright . Referred to as “chemgrass”, it was a tightly curled nylon fiber woven into a foam backing. In 1964, they installed the first large-scale synthetic turf at Moses Brown School in Providence, RI.

The indoor Houston Astrodome, the world’s first multiple domed sports stadium, was built in 1965. It didn’t allow for necessary conditions for grass to grow. Consequently, the stadium managers often used green paint on the dirt and dead grass areas. Soon, the Astrodome developer Judge Roy Hofheinz decided to tackle the problem and install artificial grass. In 1966, the major league baseball team, the Houston Astros, started playing on Chemgrass, which soon rebranded as Astroturf.

In 1966 Major League Baseball team, the Houston Astros, began their season playing on Chemgrass, which was renamed to the staple trademark known as “Astroturf.” After the success of the artificial turf in Astrodome, in 1967 Indiana State University Stadium became the first outdoor stadium to install it. Eventually, the first generation of synthetic turf became a common feature of sports arenas.


The second generation of artificial turf became popular in the 1970’s. The new “shag turf” was comprised of new yarns made of polypropylene. Also, the ‘blades’ were spread more widely apart to better replicate the look of real grass. This improvement made the turf less harsh and abrasive. It also offered a more flattering appearance than AstroTurf. While this new turf worked well for some sports, such as field hockey, it was less appropriate for other sports, such as soccer. It was 1996 before synthetic turf technology had advanced enough to be used on soccer fields without impacting game play.


A revolutionary change to artificial grass took place in the mid-1990’s. It featured polyethylene yarn fibers along with technological advancements to the overall turf product and production process. Using better, longer and more spaced out fibers, the synthetic turf offers better form, stability and performance, while providing the look and feel of natural grass. This is the type of artificial grass is similar to what is used on residential and commercial properties today. However, processes and performance advancements continue to be made by several manufacturers.

Five Start Turf offers professional artificial grass installation services to homeowners and businesses throughout Southern California. Call 1.714.543.3000 for more information or request a quote.

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