Often called artificial turf or fake grass, artificial grass is a synthetic alternative to the real thing. It looks incredibly natural and can be used just about anywhere you like:

  • Front yard landscaping.
  • Kids’ play areas.
  • Dog runs.
  • Backyard living spaces.
  • Putting greens.
  • Balconies and rooftop decks.
  • Pool surrounds.
  • Walkways

Beautiful Garden Landscape DesignArtificial grass comes in a variety of styles, multiple shades of green, and different blade shapes.

Though budget is an important consideration, it isn’t the only thing to think about when making the move to artificial grass. It’s a big investment and, if you want it to last a good long time, making the right choices is necessary.

Here’s what to keep in mind before deciding.

What Do You Want from Your Synthetic Grass?

Most people don’t think about outdoor turf having a “purpose,” but you’d be surprised just how many options there are. For example, if you have children and/or pets, you’ll do best with a tougher blade that quickly drains, can hold up to heavy traffic, and makes pet waste pickup easy. Installing artificial grass in the front yard? A longer, thinner blade looks more lush and realistic. And if you spend a lot of time gardening, you want a sturdy blade that offers high comfort.

High or Low Traffic Area

How much human and pet traffic does the area get where you want to install artificial grass? The higher the amount of traffic, the more durable choice you’ll want to make; otherwise the grass may wear out more quickly. Keep in mind that choosing a highly durable product involves a little compromising on comfort, but all quality synthetic grasses have a soft and non-abrasive texture no matter which version you choose.

Choose Quality

Quality artificial grass feels soft to the touch, has a consistent color, and is evenly backed with well-stitched tufts. Your initial investment may be higher, but the additional years of use you get from it makes it well worth the cost.

Pick the Right Pile Height

Pile height is simply the length of the grass blades. While a taller pile may give a more lush look, longer grass blades are also heavier and prone to bend over, resulting in a flat looking lawn that requires more frequent brushings. A good height range for a natural looking lawn is 30-37 millimeters, or 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inches. For areas that will have furniture, choose a shorter pile for better sustainability.

Weight and Thickness

Artificial grass density refers to the amount of fiber or yarn per square unit. The more dense the grass, the more yarn it will have and the more it will cost. For best results, a denser grass should be used in high traffic areas, but you can use lower density options that can be improved with sand infill in other areas.

Infill and Backing

After installation and to improve the overall staying power of your artificial grass you need to choose the right top infill:

  • Silica sand or rubber crumb is often poured on top of and brushed into the grass’ surface, giving the blades a sturdier base.
  • Zeolite may be used for areas where pets will be active. Along with keeping blades upright it prevents lingering pet urine odors.

The backing on your synthetic grass may be polyurethane, which doesn’t expand or contract, or latex, which can expand or shrink by up to four-tenths of an inch.

Which Shade of Green?

Color choices for artificial grass include lime, olive, dark green and more. Lower quality versions tend to come in a flat green shade that is easily recognizable as unnatural. The best color to pick is one that’s a little imperfect, just like real grass. Subtle variations of green mixed with some brown flecks is a great choice. In the end, your personal preference is what matters most!


One of the greatest advantages to installing artificial grass is that it requires less maintenance than natural grass. Regular maintenance increases its lifespan and keeps it looking great. Most versions are cared for in the same way, with some needing a little more frequent care.

  • If blades start to droop, a power broom service can help bring your lawn back to “life.” You can also use a non-power broom or rake, but the process will take longer.
  • Have pets? A liquid enzyme application applied once or twice a month helps remove bacteria.

Again, keep in mind a less-expensive product may require more regular maintenance to keep it looking its best.

Artificial Grass Drainage System

A proper drainage system is key to maintaining your new lawn. It should be designed to drain water through the permeable grass and the base layer into the water table. You may find you get better drainage than you did with natural grass!

A typical drainage system is made with compacted aggregate that is smooth, glossy, and shaped to reflect the natural drainage characteristics of your property. For example, if the area where the artificial grass is being installed has a slope, the aggregate must take that into consideration. If it doesn’t, you’ll end up with flooding and/or puddles.

Go (Artificially) Green!

If your family loves spending time in the grass but you’re not so fond of the time you spend maintaining the natural stuff, artificial grass is an excellent solution. With its virtually endless selection of available colors and shades, it’s a safe, low-maintenance option for people who want a beautiful lawn with minimum maintenance.

Many people are surprised to learn how much work goes into properly installing artificial grass. Just as important as choosing the right product is working with a professional installer who uses quality materials and superior craftsmanship to give you a realistic looking lawn that brings your family years of enjoyment. Be sure to work with a landscaping company that has the experience and training needed to get the job done right the first time.

We hope this information gives you a better understanding of the artificial grass selection and installation processes and helps you get closer to realizing the lawn of your dreams for your Sonoma County home. We invite you to also take a look at this recent installation we handled and see for yourself how beautiful and realistic looking artificial grass can be!