If you’re looking to replace real grass in your backyard or business, it helps to have an at-a-glance view of the main pros and cons of artificial grass.
Yes, there are some disadvantages of artificial grass when compared with real grass — we won’t hide that fact.
But by weighing up the pros with the cons, you’ll see why so many home and business owners in Texas and other states are turning to synthetic turf.
Let’s get straight into them.
Pros of artificial grass
Following is a good checklist of the main benefits of artificial grass:
With improved technology since the 1960s when artificial grass was first used — and particularly in the past two decades — telling the difference between real grass and artificial grass has become increasingly more difficult.
Its realistic appearance resembles the verdant and luscious appearance of real grass at its best — and maintains this appearance all year long, year after year.
The best artificial grass includes not only a variety of different types of grass blades, colors and textures but also a thatch layer below the blades to mimic real grass.
If you don’t like surrendering your weekend time or evenings to mowing the lawn, you’ll love artificial grass.
Not only does artificial grass not need mowing — there’s no need to water it, fertilize it, add weedkiller or spray pesticide. It’s virtually maintenance-free. All you’ll need to do is occasionally remove debris and spray it with a garden hose.
Lower monthly water bills
Because there’s no need to water artificial turf regularly (an occasional hose down will do) you’ll save money on sprinkler systems and water bills. This is especially important in the aridest parts of Texas and drought areas with state-imposed water restrictions.
You can also save money on lawn service charges as there’s no need to call somebody in to tend to your lawn each month.
Durability — even with heavy use
If you choose the right quality synthetic turf for its intended use, you can expect your turf to withstand plenty of wear and tear over the years.
Synthetic turf is renowned for its durability, especially the high-quality polyethylene varieties, which can even be used on sports fields and playground areas with heavy use and high foot traffic.
Always the right height
Artificial turf is always just the right height and never looks overgrown or unkempt.
The pile height is one of many factors to consider before you install your artificial turf. Speak to a professional at Artificial Grass Pros if you’re unsure about the best pile height for your grass and need some advice.
Artificial grass can be used in a wide variety of applications — from sports fields and backyard putting greens to balconies and backyard lawns. It can be used safely in children’s play areas, pet areas and around swimming pools — either at home or commercially.
No bald spots or burrowers
Real grass naturally develops bald spots or gets muddy from time to time. Whether that’s from overuse, lack of sunlight or another reason, you never have to worry about that with synthetic turf. It remains pristine all year round and continues to look fantastic for years if it’s installed professionally.
You also don’t need to contend with burrowers digging up parts of your backyard lawn — sometimes a problem for real grass.
Safe playing surface
A professionally installed patch of artificial grass will create a consistent and even playing surface, with no divots or humps. This is a big reason why it’s used in sports fields and makes for a safe playing surface for children in the backyard.
Longevity — decades rather than years
The best artificial grass can last up to 20 or 25 years in the right situations.
Even the more conservative estimates say that the lifespan of artificial grass is 10-15 years if superior quality grass is installed professionally and maintained properly in the appropriate location.
Return on Investment (ROI)
Despite the higher upfront costs compared with natural grass, the longevity and lower bills start producing a return on investment from the first month that it’s installed — and this should continue for many years. By most accounts, artificial grass should pay for itself within 3-6 years.
You may also find that the improved year-round appearance of artificial grass over poorly tended real grass boosts the curb appeal and value of your home: another financial incentive to install synthetic turf.
What Is The Cost Of Artificial Grass?
Read our full guide on the cost of artificial grass.
Usable virtually all the time
With no mud or pooling water after heavy rains, properly installed artificial grass (with a good drainage system) is usable virtually all the time. Seeded grass usually needs a lot of drying out before the kids can play on it again — to avoid damage, injury and excessive cleaning bills!
Suitable for pet owners
Synthetic grass is ideal for pet owners if the appropriate antimicrobial treatments are selected for the products used.
The pet turf itself can be treated with substances that kill harmful bacteria in pet urine and the infill used to keep the fibers upright, stabilize the turf, and cushion it can also be antimicrobial.
Ideal for pool areas
When considering the pros and cons of artificial grass around pool areas, you can tick off many of the pros: superior quality pool turf looks and feels great around swimming pools, can have a cooling effect, will not discolor and needs very little attention to stay looking healthy and pristine.
Undamaged by the sun or flash floods
The Austin climate is renowned for plenty of hot sun but also flash floods. Both of these climactic factors can be harsh on real grass and many homeowners worry about the effect if they install artificial turf in their yards.
At Artificial Grass Pros, all the synthetic turf we install is designed to easily withstand the climate in this area. It maintains its vibrant color and comes with a 15-year warranty.
Some people develop allergies to natural grass. With artificial grass, you avoid sneezing, watery eyes and the need for antihistamines.
Because there’s no pollen, very few people will develop an allergy to artificial turf.
Ideal in shaded or tough-to-access spots
If you have a totally shaded area of your yard — like under a trampoline — natural grass will die from lack of sunlight. Artificial turf is ideal for these spots.
It’s also a great option for areas that are particularly tough to mow or access – like steep slopes.
Safe and non-toxic
Artificial grass is made with non-toxic materials that are safe for your family and pets. The toxic load is also reduced because no herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers are needed to maintain healthy grass. That’s better for your family and better for the environment.
Image – family
Cons of artificial grass
As you can see, there’s quite a list of benefits of artificial grass. But what are the potential downsides?
Higher upfront costs
A real grass lawn can be laid for around $1 to $2 per square foot. So, a 1,000 sq. ft. lawn will set you back around $1,000 to $2,000.
The same size installation with artificial turf might cost $5,000 to $15,000, depending on the quality of grass, difficulty of installation, drainage requirements and several other factors that go into the cost of artificial grass.
The benefits of switching to artificial turf come in the years after you lay it but you’ll need to accept a higher upfront cost as part of the deal.
There are positives and negatives to the environmental impact of artificial grass. The water saving and absence of toxic pesticides and herbicides are beneficial — and some of the materials used in backing or padding may be recycled. But, ultimately, the grass itself is non-biodegradable.
Cheaper grass may be affected by heat
Most quality artificial grass installations can withstand extreme heat and deflect the sun’s rays. However, some cheaper products may suffer, leading to excessively hot grass that heats the surrounding air, is uncomfortable to sit on and even starts to break down or “melt”.
Higher-quality grass specifically made for hotter climates does well even in high temperatures. The infill also uses suitable materials for the climate, creating a very stable system. You can also protect grassed areas from heat by planting trees and shrubs to provide shade.
Can be affected by window glare
You don’t have to worry about artificial grass catching fire but in high heat and sunny conditions, intense reflected sunlight from a window can char low-quality grass. This can also happen in entertainment areas where hot charcoal from a barbecue falls onto the grass.
Any charring can be repaired but it’s something to be aware of when you’re choosing the appropriate grass for your area.
Professional installers from Artificial Grass Pros will advise you of any potential risks to your artificial grass installation and help you mitigate these risks.
Low-quality grass may be slippery
Cheaper grass can also be more slippery than real grass, especially when wet. This can potentially lead to falls and injuries.
The best artificial turf includes anti-slip coatings that can be applied to the surface to reduce slip and make it safer to use.
Polyethylene, the main material used in the grass installed by Artificial Grass Pros is also water-resistant, professional standard and non-slip — so it can be used safely in backyards as freely as on soccer fields or tennis courts.
Some grass may be “noisy”
Low-quality artificial grass may be noisy, making a rustling sound when you walk on it. This can be an annoyance for some people.
The latest types of high-quality artificial grass are very soft and life-like and make no more noise than real grass.
Not entirely maintenance-free
Anyone who sells you artificial grass as being entirely maintenance-free is lying. There’s indeed very little work to do with synthetic turf once you lay it but you can’t simply forget it’s there.
You’ll need to keep it free from debris with a brush or rake and hose it down once in a while, especially if you have pets.
Low-quality, poorly maintained artificial grass can become bacteria traps if food, liquids, pet urine and other potential bacteria attractors are not eliminated. Foul odors may also result.
It’s important to maintain sanitary conditions by brushing and/or hosing down your lawn from time to time (especially if you have been eating food on it). This applies even if you have antimicrobial artificial grass installed.
Potential drainage issues
With real grass, a natural drainage system allows rainwater to seep down into the soil.
When artificial grass is laid, you’ll need a seasoned professional to assess the situation and install grass that allows adequate drainage for the conditions — this will help prevent potential drainage problems.
Every installation by the team at Artificial Grass Pros comes with a 15-year warranty on our workmanship as well as the manufacturer’s warranty on the product.
Get the pros without the cons…
There are way more pros than cons to artificial grass. Many of the traditional concerns have been solved by technology already, such as performance in strong sunlight and heat, though they may still apply to low-quality synthetic turf
High-quality artificial turf uses the right materials for the job, is very durable and low maintenance, provides a good return on investment and is especially popular in arid areas with water-usage concerns like much of Texas.
Most potential drawbacks can be countered with professional installation, helping to ensure you get the pros without the cons.
Give unscrupulous suppliers a wide berth and work with reliable and knowledgeable artificial grass professionals. Superior products with superior warranties will ensure you can look forward to many years of enjoyment with your newly turfed space.