Why did the RHS Ban Artificial Grass at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2022?

Why did the RHS Ban Artificial Grass at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2022?

January 23, 2023

The History of Artificial Grass at the Chelsea Flower Show.

It goes back to before yours and my time! The very first Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) show was held in 1862, in Kensington. After twenty-six years (1988) the show was moved into the heart of London to help visitors access the event. It became known as the Chelsea Flower Show in May 1913, and since then, it’s been reported that circa 157,000 visitors attend the event annually.

It wasn’t until 2009 that artificial grass made its debut at the show. LAZYLAWN won the top award, a Certificate of Merit, for one of the trade areas and walked away with the trophy. The spotlight was significantly shining on synthetic grass, highlighting its quality, flexibility, and how it was considered a suitable alternative to natural grass.

The upward trend in popularity has continued and is still increasing today for several reasons, including homes being built with smaller gardens and the changing lifestyle of homeowners. You’d be hard-pressed to walk down any street in Lincoln without seeing some artificial grass, whether that be where natural turf used to be, or on roof gardens and terraces.

Between 2009 and 2022, many exhibitors used artificial grass at the Chelsea Flower show to demonstrate its potential and won many awards. You can read more about this here.

So, What Went Wrong?

Whilst there has been a lot of debate in recent years about the merits of Artificial Grass, there has also been an equal amount of debate about whether Artificial Grass is kind to the planet. You can read more about what we feel about the impact in our previous blog ‘Is Artificial Grass Bad for the Environment?’ here.

Easigrass exhibited, and won many awards over the years, including this beauty at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2017. I think it’s safe to say that Artificial Grass was considered quite the thing!

Spring forward to 2022, when RHS decided to ban the use of Artificial Grass at the Chelsea Flower Show stating that “fake grass is not in line with our ethos and views on plastic” (May 2022) which arguably could be seen as a 360 spin from their stance in 2017.

The RHS decision was made with the intention “of protecting wildlife, promoting biodiversity, and providing a healthier environment for people and plants”.

Which demonstrates changes in attitude across the decades. In essence, then, nothing went ‘wrong’ it was simply a change of heart.


At ALS Landscaping we believe that the choice should always be yours. If you’ve been following this series, you’ll already know that artificial lawns are a safe option whether you have children and pets, or not.

It’s one of the most versatile products around and it’s come a long way from when it was first mass-produced. It’s available in a wide range of colours and styles, and it continues to be a low-maintenance alternative to the natural stuff and looks amazing all year round.

Arguably it’s also ‘greener’ than ever before. Artificial Grass doesn’t need:

  • watering
  • fertilising, or
  • harmful pesticides adding to keep it looking great.

If you’re still on the fence and want some help deciding whether artificial or natural grass would work for you, get in touch with us today. Our team is waiting for your call.

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