The Pros & Cons of Synthetic Grass & Artificial Turf
- February 2, 2018
People have strong feelings when it comes to artificial grass for homes. Some will yell that it isn’t natural. Which, of course, it isn’t. But we suspect a deeper meaning in their tone. Others will yell that it’s saving the environment. Which is also not doing justice to their deeper beliefs.
If you’re thinking about getting synthetic grass, or just interested in the idea of it, check out this quick read for some pros and cons, and decide for yourself.
Artificial grass technically needs no maintenance. Theoretically, if you wanted, you could just lay it down and be done with it. Which is a good thing, since, according to the EPA, up to 60% of the water used in a household may be solely through landscape irrigation. Considering that the average person does overwater their grass, that’s not too surprising of a statistic.
It’s also worth noting that in one hour, gas-powered lawnmowers put out more pollution than a car by a factor of 11 to 1. I think it goes without saying that artificial grass requires no cutting.
There is also no need to use fertilizers with artificial grass, which (in some cases) can be harmful to the environment.
There’s really no denying it. Artificial turf nowadays looks like the real thing. It looks even better than the real thing since it’s designed to look how a perfect lawn would look, with a deep, lush green color. It’s also UV stabilized so that the sun doesn’t fade the color over time.
According to most distributors, the heavy initial cost of laying down artificial grass pays for itself in the first 3-5 years, and it lasts 15-20 years.
Artificial grass doesn’t attract animals that like to feed on it, such as voles, gophers, or grubs. It also doesn’t get diseases, isn’t affected by drought, and doesn’t become dormant in the winter.
We already covered this one, but the fact that you don’t have to mow it is such a great benefit.
Although you don’t have to cut it, debris such as twigs and leaves will still need to be picked up or hosed off if you want to keep it looking picture-perfect.
In an experiment run by Turfgrass Producers International, it was found that artificial grass can be up to 86 degrees hotter than its natural counterpart in identical conditions. This is because natural grass has water inside it that helps to keep it cool. Whereas artificial grass is usually made of recycled tire rubber.
However, some artificial grass is made with organic coconut fibers that don’t get as hot. Also, cooling systems may be installed beneath the turf to keep the temperature down. But doesn’t that defeat the purpose?
There is a big debate on whether the recycled tire rubber is a carcinogen, as well. Tests have not been conclusive, but there are arguments for both sides.
Artificial grass doesn’t naturally deposit blood or droppings into the soil when it rains like grass does. The result is a health hazard that needs to be taken care of by the owner.
Though it does save money over time, the initial cost is steep. Homeowners have to first pay for current grass to be removed, then for the ground to be prepared properly. They have to pay for an irrigation system if they want temperature control. And artificial turf can cost $5-$20 per square foot, while natural sod runs about $.16-$.60.
If you decide to clean it by using a hose, or you install an irrigation system to keep it cool, are you really saving that much water by switching to artificial turf?
If you are debating whether or not to switch to artificial grass for your lawn, make sure that you reach a decision that is well-informed. It’s a choice that won’t be so easy to take back.