Is Artificial Grass Right for Your Yard? 5 Factors to Consider
One of the most profitable and easy to maintain alternatives to a natural lawn is artificial turf. And if you’re a homeowner who loves the look of a lush lawn but dreads and loathes the upkeep that is required to make it a reality, this landscaping might be a godsend.
Artificial turf is available in different textures, designs, colors and blade shapes. How do you know if you should try it? We asked several experts to weigh the pros and cons of installing artificial grass on your property. Here are the five factors to consider when deciding if this is the right landscaping for you.
Say goodbye to your sprinklers! One of the biggest selling points for artificial turf is that it doesn’t need to be constantly watered to stay green.
“Artificial turf has a certain appeal to homeowners who are overwhelmed by the idea of regular lawn maintenance,” he says Rob Turley, General Manager at Custom Turf in Finleyville, PA. You don’t need to fertilize or mow artificial turf, and it will be green all year round.
It’s suitable for all climates but especially useful in dry, arid environments where grass is difficult to grow.
Artificial turf, however, is not completely maintenance free: you need to rinse your lawn to remove dirt and debris. “And you need to take care of your lawn to fluff the blades of grass and keep it from becoming matted,” says Turley.
Resistance to weather and heat
Rain and sunlight can affect the health of natural grass. But when it comes to artificial turf, the weather has little effect on its appearance.
It is resilient and can withstand any weather, including rain and snow. Because it is so well drained, it dries faster than natural grass. So if it rains, it dries up after a few minutes.
One small disadvantage, however, is that artificial turf can get very hot. “Like most manufactured materials, artificial turf actually gets warmer when exposed to direct sunlight,” he says Chad Vander Veen, Marketing and Communication Manager for Purchase Green Artificial Grass. “The analogy that resonates best with most people – in terms of how hot artificial turf gets – is that it’s like beach sand.”
Reality Check: If artificial turf gets uncomfortably hot, it’s likely too hot to roll around outside.
There’s no denying that natural grass is good for the environment. It increases soil stability, removes dust from the air and water and, like other vegetative sources, also cools the air.
Artificial turf, on the other hand, does not even offer a fraction of the ecological benefits of natural turf. The main concern arises from the man-made filling – the rubber crumb usually made from old tires – that is used to improve the stability of the grass. Many concerns have been expressed about the adverse effects of gum crumbs on the environment and the health of those who come into contact with it. Studies show that crumb rubber contains hazardous materials, according to the Yale School of Public Health, which is currently conducting research on crumb rubber volatility.
Fortunately, certain artificial turf manufacturers offer other filling options, such as: B. with acrylic polymer coated sand, coconut fiber or cork.
At the other end of the spectrum, maintaining natural lawns can also be problematic for the environment. “Mowers contribute to carbon pollution, and manure can run off into local waterways,” Turley says.
And as most people know, watering a lawn can be extremely wasteful. According to the EPA, Americans use 9 billion gallons of water every day to irrigate landscapes. However, the agency estimates that 50% of this is actually wasted through evaporation, wind, or runoff – all caused by inefficient irrigation. “If everyone had artificial turf, it would mean that almost 14,000 Olympic swimming pools save water every year,” says Vander Veen.
If you want your artificial turf to look like real grass, you have to pay for that natural look. “Artificial turf materials are usually expensive and require special equipment to install the grass,” says Turley. You pay between $ 8 and $ 20 per square foot for artificial turf.
While this is well above the average cost of natural turf (about $ 0.25 per square foot), most lawn companies estimate the life of their grasses to be 15 to 20 years. So in the long run, artificial turf could be cheaper.
If this is not your home forever, then consider how artificial grass will affect your resale value. If your entire yard is artificial grass – especially the front – potential buyers will either love it or hate it. “I think it will put most buyers off, except in some markets where it’s more acceptable, like very dry climates in the southwest,” he says John Blackman, a real estate agent, developer, and investor on the Heart of Austin Homes team in Austin, TX.
Consult with local landscape architects and speak to your neighbors about whether they think this choice will add value to your home or have the opposite effect.