Artificial sports surfaces

Our guidance covers the design and selection of material for a range of outdoor sports using artificial surfaces

Our guidance covers a range of outdoor sports using artificial grass pitches, needle punch play surfaces, and polymeric surfaces.

Our guide on artificial surfaces for outdoor sports replaces our original design guide, Multi-Use Games Areas Volumes 1. It focuses on design issues for a wide range of outdoor sports, including:

  • Pitches
  • Single-sports-use courts
  • Multi-use games areas (MUGAs) with artificial surfaces constructed from various combinations of man-made materials.

Download our Artificial surfaces for outdoor sports guide

It focuses on making the best use of these facilities, whether they are based in new or existing schools, local parks, sports clubs or as part of larger regeneration projects.

Selecting the right artificial surface

This guidance note (revision two) has been developed by:

  • Sport England 
  • England Hockey Board 
  • Football Association 
  • Football Foundation 
  • Rugby Football League 
  • Rugby Football Union.

It provides a simple, consistent methodology and approach to selecting the right type of artificial grass surface for playing hockey, football, rugby union and rugby league.

Download our guidance note on selecting the right surface

Our updated guidance (2015) on comparative sizes of sports pitches and courts, now with separate documents for indoor and outdoor sports, is intended to provide a comparison of space requirements for a range of sports and reflect the most up-to-date NGB facility requirements.

These documents have been fully endorsed by the NGBs at the time of publication.

Artificial grass pitch layouts

Downloadable layouts or plans of artificial grass pitches (updated October 2013) are available to download in the carousel below. The plans are currently only available in Adobe Reader (pdf) format and include:

  • Artificial Grass Pitch (AGP) Acoustics - Planning Implications
  • Briefing note: Recycling of Artificial Grass Carpets
  • Briefing note: Artificial Flat Green Bowls

Case studies

The case studies below highlight examples of good quality sports facilities that have made effective use of their artificial surfaces. Examples include:

  • Coram's Field, London – AGP modernisation (completed 2013) – example of the modernisation of an artificial pitch to 3G long pile carpet. Works carried out and managed by our Framework Contractor and Consultants
  • Gloucester – Blackbridge Athletics Track (completed 2012) – refurbishment of an existing athletics track, including repositioning of the long/triple jump runway, widening of the main straight to eight lanes, replacement of the porous artificial surfacing to the track, new throwing cage, refurbished shot put facilities, and installation of new sports lighting
  • London – Ravenscourt Park (completed 2012) – this project, located in the existing Ravenscourt Park in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, involved construction of basketball and netball facilities around a mature tree, together with seating for spectators and participants
  • Lilleshall National Sports Centre – Hockey Pitches (completed Nov 2014) – two water based artificial grass hockey pitches, both with irrigation and lighting, have been built side-by-side on a greenfield site at the centre
  • Leicestershire - Sileby Memorial Park (completed 2014) – this project saw the refurbishment and extension of a concrete skatepark originally constructed in 2004 to create a legacy from the debut of BMX as a new Olympic sport at the London 2012 Games.