Binghams Blog

Binghams Blog

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The roots of artificial grass - Where it all started!

 

Artificial grass and synthetic sports surfaces appear in our lives almost every day. With an ever-increasing amount being seen in sports clubs and private residences, we thought it would be interesting to put together a little blog on the history of where the surface originates from.

 

What is Artificial grass?

 

Artificial grass or turf is a surface manufactured from synthetic fibers designed to look like natural grass. It is most often used in arenas for sports that were originally or are normally played on grass. However, it is now being used on residential lawns and a multitude of commercial applications too.

 

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How is it made?

 

As a brief insight into the process, there are 3 main components and 3 main stages of production. The 3 key components are;

 

Synthetic yarn

Backing

Glue.

 

The process involves spools of artificial yarn being looped into the backing fabric being secured in place by a thin coating of glue, applied to the underside of the backing fabric. After the glue has dried, the surface is perforated to allow easy drainage. Once all these processes have been carried out, the synthetic turf can then be rolled, ready to go out to customers.

 

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Foundations for artificial grass!

 

There’s no doubt that since its initial appearance, over fifty years ago, artificial grass has proved itself to be a huge success. Artificial grass first gained the public’s attention in 1966, when it was used in the newly constructed Astrodome in Texas, for being used as a solution to the lack of natural light for real grass. The specific product used was called AstroTurf; this term since then became a colloquialism for any synthetic grass or turf throughout the late 20th century.

 

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While this is when it first came to the public’s knowledge, it was however created before this, under the name Chemgrass.

 

Unlikely as it may seem, it was Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, and his son, Edsel, who set the ball rolling. In 1936, Henry & Edsel Ford jointly established the Ford Foundation, with the aim of advancing public welfare in terms of scientific, educational and charitable initiatives.

 

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Setting the seeds!

 

While both Edsel & Henry Ford died in the 1940's, the work of the foundation they established continues to this day. In the early 1960's it was observed by the Ford Foundation that people who lived in rural locations were fitter and stronger than those who dwell in built up urban areas, through their studies on ways to improve the physical fitness of young people.

 

It was believed that one reason behind these findings was the nature of the surfaces the children had been playing on. In urban areas these tended to be hard surfaces, such as asphalt and concrete. Even where there was earth, it was inclined to be compacted and free from grass, a world away from the grassy fields and meadows where rural children could run and play.

 

At the same time as this work was ongoing, the Chemstrand Company were developing new synthetic fibers for use as tough carpeting. The desire to replicate the benefits of a rural space in an urban area drove the Ford Foundation to contact The Chemstrand Company and they were encouraged to try to make the perfect urban sports surface for schools by the Ford Foundation. From 1962 to 1966, Chemstrand worked on creating new surfaces.

 

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In 1964, the Creative Products Group installed the first large scale area of Chemgrass at the Moses Brown School in Providence Rhode Island, shortly followed by the use in the Astrodome, where the surface was re-branded Astroturf.

 

The use of artificial turf and similar surfaces became widespread in the early 1970's, installed in both indoor and outdoor stadiums.

 

Residential Usage

 

At first artificial turf was used exclusively in sports fields and arenas. It was inevitable, however, due to the benefits which were on offer, that it would make its way into the domestic market.

 

The attraction of a lawn that takes no watering or trimming, is pet-friendly and hard wearing, the chance to have a full, green lawn even in areas situated in full shade and can be kept in good shape with a minimum of effort, appeals to many people.

 

It took a couple of decades to begin to be widely adopted, and undoubtedly advances in technology helped, as the grass began to look less artificial and more like natural turf, but now we accept artificial grass as quite normal – both outdoors and indoors.

 

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Artificial Grass in Landscaping

 

Since the early 1990's, the use of synthetic grass has moved rapidly beyond sports/athletic fields to residential and commercial landscaping, particularly in more arid regions.

 

This trend has been driven by the dramatic improvement in the quality and variety of available synthetic and artificial grasses, the reduced cost of maintenance and care compared to natural grass, and the realisation that artificial lawns can be a significant water conservation measure in areas where water usage is a concern.  

 

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Fancy your own?

 

Check out our services and projects pages, or Contact us for information on how we can help to fit your perfect Synthetic surface, with a FREE site visit and quotation, with NO COMMITMENT! 

 

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Surface maintenance and why its so crucial!

 

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The regular maintenance of outdoor sports surfaces, MUGAs, play surfaces etc. plays a crucial part in the process of prolonging the life and maintaining ideal play conditions.

 

Worn out or damaged courts can present a safety hazard as well as disrupting the optimum playing conditions. To prevent this from happening, it’s recommended that outdoor courts or sports surfaces are professionally cleaned every 12 to 18 months to prolong the lifetime of your surface.

 

To ensure you get the most out of your court and maintain the surface in between cleans there are several things you can do to help.

 

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If your court is surrounded by buildings or trees you may notice that moss, leaves and other debris gather in the shaded areas. This can create a breeding ground for mould and mildew, so ensuring that you remove any debris will help in maintaining your court. Keeping grass and any other plants or vegetation cut back from the court surface can also help combat this problem.

 

While rain showers can help to clean outdoor courts, standing water can also allow dirt and debris to accumulate, leaving stains on your surface. If this is left to build up the dirt and debris can act as an abrasion on the surface.

 

To further prevent damage and disruption to your court it’s important to be aware of the type of surface that you have and follow guidelines given by the manufacturers.

 

 

Depending on the type of surface this may include preventing food or drink to be taken onto the surface, ensuring appropriate footwear is worn at all times and/or prohibiting bikes, roller blades or skateboards to be used on the surface. Such recommendations will be dependent on the type of surface and vary depending on the type of court.

 

When we install surfaces, we always suggest and explain to the client about the importance of having a maintenance schedule and how it can keep your surface in excellent performance condition and extend its life expectancy.

 

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We can help design a specific cleaning plan for your sports pitch surfacing to keep it safe and to maintain the playing qualities.

 

Make sure to contact us if you need any advice about maintenance for an outdoor activity court or pitch. We offer helpful information on the costs and the work that needs to be done for each surfacing type.

 

The benefits of keeping up to date with surface maintenance means that in the long run you will reduce the overall cost by potentially preventing costly damage to your tracks and sports courts.

 

To keep track of some of the work we provide, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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The importance of outdoor activities & playground games in schools!

 

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With the huge increase in online gaming and “anti” social media, getting youngsters to interact and play outside is becoming a difficulty!

 

No one can argue with the fact that any school or parent wants what is best for their children, so we should be doing everything possible to encourage an active and healthy lifestyle, be it through fun Multi Use Games Areas, or sports education.

 

Play time is a cherished and exciting part of childhood and should be encouraged in schools. It offers important learning and developmental benefits for children and the opportunity for parents and teachers to fully engage with the children.

 

Being outside is a massive, exciting sensory experience for children, bringing the best out of them.

 

The great outdoors provides children with a multitude of exploration opportunities, so we should be doing our best to encourage this and create child friendly play surfaces and games areas for children to embrace, run around and play on.

 

As we strive to create the optimal developmental environment for children, it remains imperative that play be included along with academic and social-enrichment opportunities and that safe, fun environments be made available to all children. 

 

Play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child.

 

By committing to learning both inside and outside the classroom, schools are able to teach children that learning occurs everywhere, at all times and not just when a book is open, and a pen is in a hand.

 

 

Benefits of outdoor activities for children!

 

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High-quality outdoor learning experiences are proven to develop reflective and inquisitive thinking along with problem-solving approaches in ‘real’ situations, while encouraging holistic development of children.

 

Developing resilience and adaptability in occasionally adverse circumstances, allowing children to become more able to identify hazards and risks.

 

Being able to develop self-awareness, confidence and self-esteem, while boosting collaborative-working and communication skills.

 

Providing positive health benefits – both physically and mentally – and assist gross and fine-motor development. Through physical activity and challenges, being outdoors helps children sleep, eat, and live more healthily. This encourages them to form healthy habits for life.

 

 

Why is play so important?

 

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Childs play is integral to the academic environment. It ensures that the school setting attends to the social and emotional development of children as well as their cognitive development. It has been shown to help children adjust to the school setting and even to enhance children’s learning readiness, learning behaviors and problem-solving skills.

 

Key benefits of Childs play include, but are not limited to;

 

Ability to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. 

 

Important to healthy brain development. 

 

Learning to engage and interact in the world. 

 

Conquering their fears.

 

 Develop new competencies that lead to enhanced confidence and the resiliency they will need to face future challenges. 

 

Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills. 

 

In contrast to passive entertainment, play builds active, healthy bodies, which is one important strategy in the resolution of the obesity epidemic. 

 

Child driven play allows them to practice decision-making skills, move at their own pace, discover their own areas of interest, and ultimately engage fully in the passions they wish to pursue. 

 

Perhaps above all, play is a simple joy that is a cherished part of childhood!

 

 

Creating an engaging outdoor environment!

 

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By having a range of different features such as bright colours and creative floor markings, you are keeping kids interested and stopping them from getting bored.

 

Usually, boredom is one of the main things which lead kids to start misbehaving. By creating an engaging environment, you are less likely to see children picking on others.

 

Some ideas of things you could include on the playground include:

 

The daily mile track system.

 

Fitness trials.

 

Number and word games.

 

Multi use games area markings.

 

Interactive activity markings (hopscotch etc).

 

 

What's not to like?

 

There are so many different options to choose from!

 

 Creating a diverse play area helps keep children entertained during break times. 

 

This is just one way of improving playground behavior in schools and there are many more things you can do.

 

We have a variety of playground surfaces and markings available, so if you want to make your schools more exciting and encourage a healthier active child, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

 

 

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Top 5 reasons to choose Artificial Turf for Cricket pitches!

 

Why should you go for a Synthetic Surface?

 

 

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You may be contemplating going artificial, but want to be sure you're making the right move. Here at Bingham Ground Services, we have taken our time to outline some of the key features of an artificial cricket pitch, and why they may be best for you and your club / organisation.

 

Artificial Turf Technologies have been forever evolving, extensively over the past few years in particular!  

They are now used vastly across multiple sports, all over the world, but particularly in the field of cricket.

 

In a sport such as cricket, the ground conditions are terribly important, and a consistent play surface is crucial to a good game of cricket. As we all know, the cricket pitch is the most used area on a clubs ground, which leads to a lot of wear and tear to the grass over time. This in turn can lead to a very unpredictable bounce.

 

Synthetic Cricket Surfaces have many capabilities for addressing a number of inconsistencies in play, impacting on the game. We have listed which we feel are some of the biggest advantages to an artificial cricket pitch below;

 

 

Comparably Low Maintenance!

 

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Maintaining a grass cricket system involves hours and hours of care, including mowing, fertilizing, rolling and ensuring the grounds are level for play.

 

Artificial cricket lanes are without a doubt much more durable and require a fraction of the work to keep them in excellent condition.  

 

While regular care of the synthetic surface is still essential, in the long run it is much less time consuming, easier to care for, less demanding and more affordable. 

 

A natural grass pitch begins to deteriorate after an average of 250 hours, while synthetic surfaces can be played 24/7 365 days a year, so long as they are cared for.

 

 

Weather Worries Washed Away!

 

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Significant rain, or drought impacts the natural grass surface, which can stop training and game play.

 

The artificial cricket wickets provide a stable, safe surface for bowlers no matter what the weather has been doing! 

 

The non-slip surface is well draining and never gets muddy.

 

This results in less canceled training / cricket matches, fewer injuries and a more consistent bowling pattern.

 

 

Assisting Players Development!

 

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Firstly, an artificial cricket surface is much more forgiving on a players joints and muscles while they are being jarred by repetitive run-ups, than on a hard, drought stricken, or wet and slippery grass wicket, meaning their physical wellbeing is cared for a lot better.

 

The consistent artificial wicket encourages Bowlers to work harder to bowl the ball which will get results! The false surface means they can't rely on the uneven bounce experienced on a grass lane. This encourages the bowlers to work on their techniques to get good results when bowling against a skilled batsman.

 

As a batsman, staying behind the ball cuts down on your chance of getting an LBW. Natural grass practice wickets are notorious for misbehaving and throwing an inexperienced batsman off. On a synthetic cricket system, the players no longer need to be afraid to get behind the ball, making it easier to develop the inexperienced batsman' skills set, learning to bat confidently. 

 

Batting confidently produces an even pace, without the changes in ball flight often experienced on natural grass cricket pitches, enabling young and inexperienced batsmen to concentrate on their play stroke.

 

 

Water Worries!

 

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Natural grass requires regular care as mentioned above, which includes plenty of watering over the dry summer months.

 

Artificial cricket turf doesn't really require watering to keep the pitch fresh, so this will not only save the environment, but it will also hugely save your bank balance in the long run, through cutting down on your water bills.

 

 

Natural Beauty! 

 

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Artificial surfaces, don't really sound like they would fit in on a natural field, but because of their ability to blend seamlessly into the surroundings, there's no need to worry about it sticking out like a sore thumb.

 

Artificial pitches offer much better results than your standard natural grass cricket training facilities, and are expected to last on average 10-12 years, with minimal maintenance.

 

 

So...Whats not to like? 

 

Check out our services and projects pages, or Contact us for information on how we can help to fit your perfect Cricket system, with a FREE site visit and quotation, with NO COMMITMENT!