People who decide they’d like to install artificial turf grass sometimes get some pushback from others who prefer natural lawns. Whether to install artificial grass in your yard is a highly personal decision and one that comes with a lot of advantages. Less time and money spent on upkeep is a big one. So, too, is becoming more environmentally conscious, especially in California, where drought is an ever-present possibility.
If you want a beautiful lawn that looks like the real deal but comes with much less hassle, synthetic grass may be just what you’re looking for.
There are many myths surrounding turf grass that may be having an impact on your decision. Since we’re big believers in weighing all the pros and cons before deciding, we’d thought it would be a good idea to go over some of the most common misconceptions you might have heard.
Dispelling Turf Grass Myths
It’s one of the biggest trends in the world of landscaping, but it’s one many people still don’t fully understand.
Turf Grass Myth #1: It’s not good for your health
This may be true for early versions of artificial grass or newer, low-quality products, but it is not the norm with today’s artificial grasses. First, materials that contain harmful byproducts have been banned in most areas and reputable companies would never offer or install an unhealthy product. The synthetic grass products Northview Landscaping offers do not contain things like zinc, heavy metals, or silica dust. And the infill options available are non-toxic and heavy metal-free. Many installers also now use healthier infill options such as natural cork.
One final note on chemical exposure: if you use pesticides and chemical fertilizers on your current natural lawn, the risks associated with many of those products is well-documented.
Turf Grass Myth #2: You can’t have a dog
If you’re tired of muddy paws, bare patches, and “doggy holes,” artificial grass may be the greatest thing you can invest in. It’s also safe for your pup. In fact, there are some synthetic grasses made specifically for dogs. As long as your artificial grass’ drainage system is properly installed, dog urine easily flushes out the drainage holes. Solid waste is removed the same way you do with natural grass and if you choose a product with a short blade, cleanup is even easier!
Turf Grass Myth #3: It gets too hot to stand on
It’s true that synthetic grasses sometimes absorb and transfer more heat than natural lawns. If your yard gets a lot of direct sun, modifications like a subsurface cooling system can offer real relief from the heat. Lighter color grasses also help keep the heat factor lower, as does a lighter colored infill. For areas where people gather, consider adding attractive shade options like trees, canvas sails, pergolas, or umbrellas.
Turf Grass Myth #4: You can’t have trees
Speaking of trees, contrary to what you may have heard, they can easily be planted in artificial grass. You’ll simply need to install a tree ring that allows for irrigation, but there’s nothing keeping you from landscaping your front, back, or side yard just as you would with a natural lawn.
Turf Grass Myth #5: It’s too expensive
Artificial grass is more expensive than sod, but whether it’s too expensive is all in how you look at it. When you start to consider the associated costs of watering, mowing, fertilizing, or replacing dead sections, the ongoing maintenance costs of turf grass are much lower. Most experts agree a mid-sized synthetic lawn installation pays for itself by the fifth year.
Turf Grass Myth #6: It doesn’t drain as well as a natural lawn
Artificial grasses are 100% porous and their backing is 100% permeable. That means it can drain up to 10 times after than real grass! Even if you don’t get that fast of drainage, a multi-layered backing system and good infill promote drainage on par with natural grass.
Turf Grass Myth #7: It lowers property values
Again, this may have been true in the “old days” of artificial grass, but today’s versions have come a long way in appearance and quality. From an environmental point of view, synthetic lawns can qualify your home as “green,” which is a great selling point, particularly in California. The lower water bills are another plus and add weight to the argument that turf grass actually adds to your home’s value.
Turf Grass Myth #8: It fades quickly
The highest quality synthetic grass products include UV inhibitors in their fiber/yarn resin which prevent fading. This protection is built right into the blade (not applied) so it can’t wear or be washed off. Most reputable companies offer warranties, in some cases up to 10 years, that cover fading. In that time, experts say, you may see a less than 10% color reduction.
Turf Grass Myth #9: It looks like a plastic rug
Those shiny and bright green lawns of the past that scream “fake grass!” are long gone. Today’s products look like the real deal, or even better, and have evolved to mimic a natural grass appearance that’s difficult to differentiate from the real thing. Most manufacturers accomplish this look by varying the blades’ heights, density, and colors within the “lawn.” Newer models also are less abrasive than older ones, so the lawn is softer to the touch.
Turf Grass Myth #10: It’s environmentally unfriendly
While few man-made products are 100% environmentally friendly, there are lots of surprising ways artificial grass is “greener” than its natural counterpart:
- It doesn’t need pesticides and/or herbicides.
- It significantly reduces the amount of water you use, which also represents significant savings.
- If you currently use a push mower on your natural lawn, in one hour it can emit as much pollution as 11 cars. A riding mower’s emissions can be as high as 34 cars!
Finally, there are no grass clippings to dispose of, which the EPA says make up the third-largest component of local solid landfill waste.
Turf Grass Myth #11: You can’t enjoy normal backyard activities on it
Not true! You can BBQ, enjoy gardening, and safely send your kids out to play on it. Want to hold a backyard cookout? Just make sure to protect the surface under the grill and rinse away any food spills as soon as you can. As for gardening, most avid ones we know aren’t particularly fond of lawn care but love their flower beds and other plantings. If you like growing your own vegetables, either leave a separate area of the lawn natural so you can create a good garden or use raised beds.
For kids, artificial grass can actually be a safer option for playtime. There are no holes to trip in or tree roots to trip over. There’s also no unintended sliding when the grass is wet.
We hope these facts give you the information you need to decide whether to stay with your natural lawn or “go green” with artificial turf grass. If you still have questions, or to schedule a consultation about your next landscaping project, contact the professional landscape designers and turf grass installers at Northview Landscaping today.