For most homes and even many commercial properties, landscaping involves large areas of grass. But a common question today for those designing landscapes is whether to use real grass or artificial grass.
So real grass vs artificial grass landscaping pros and cons, what are they?
If you’ve already spent years laboring over and nurturing lawn grass at your home or place of business, you’re likely tired. You may be thinking that using artificial grass can provide a huge break from mowing, watering, raking, and so on.
Perhaps, but there is far more to the choice than hoping to eliminate some yard work.
Real or Artificial? The Debate Lives On
Perhaps the best place to start is by establishing that both types of ground cover have upsides and downsides. In other words, it’s not a simple decision, especially when you’re considering a landscaping project on your own property.
The next point is one that can be easily made. Artificial turf and grass don’t require watering or potentially dangerous chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.
On the other hand, real grass has a cooling effect when temperatures rise and it is biodegradable.
Aesthetically, there is still much debate as this is a bit more of a subjective factor. However, the technology and manufacturing of artificial grass has improved. The modern results are far more realistic and look far less “artificial.”
However, even the best artificial grass lawns struggle to compare visually with immaculately groomed and maintained lawns of lush, natural grass.
Regardless of which type of lawn you decide on, there are those who will be avidly opposed to your choice. Ever since the introduction of commercially available artificial lawns, a debate has been ongoing. The debate? Artificial grass is as “good” as natural, or real, grass.
While the debate has succumbed to the popularity of artificial turf for sports facilities, which is not quite the same product as grass, the debate now centers mostly on residential use.
So, what are the other real grass vs artificial grass landscaping pros and cons?
Real or Artificial? Key Pros and Cons
Since most people have not had much, if any, experience with artificial grass we can start there.
With that in mind, here are some of the main benefits and advantages of using artificial grass:
- Attractive all year long with no brown grass in summer and muddy soil in winter.
- No issues “growing” in the shade, patchy spots from wear and tear, or pest damage.
- Good for the environment, e.g. some artificial turf can be made from recycled materials.
- Can be installed quickly.
- It requires little to no regular maintenance or cleaning.
In addition, there are advantages over natural grass that we already mentioned. That is no watering is needed, no pesticides or fertilizers needed, nor cutting, mowing, or raking the grass.
But there are, of course, disadvantages and downsides to using artificial grass such as:
- It’s made from polyethylene plastic and is not biodegradable.
- It will need to be replaced after 15 to 25 years.
- It deteriorates under UV radiation and the bits and pieces of plastic that fall off drift into surrounding foliage and waterways.
- The surface gets hotter than natural turf; over 30 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the air temperature, 37 degrees higher than asphalt, and 86 degrees hotter than real grass.
- The installation process kills soil life due to the infill process.
If you have active children who will be playing on it keep in mind that, in addition to the potential temperature issues, artificial grass tends to be harder on bare skin like small knees and elbows.
So, what about the ancient and honorable standard, natural and real grass?
We’ve already addressed the aesthetic advantage of real grass that no artificial product has yet to match. And we noted that, as opposed to heating up in direct sun it actually serves to cool off the immediate environment.
But what about its other advantages and benefits?
- Real grass captures carbon dioxide carbon sequestration and the average grass lawn can store up to 300 pounds of carbon each year.
- Grass improves groundwater quality by filtering rainwater and slowing the flow of stormwater.
- Planting grass seed or rolling sod does not require high installation costs.
- For residential properties in particular, home value is typically greater with real grass as opposed to artificial lawns.
- Just a 25-square-foot area of real lawn grass produces enough oxygen each day to meet all the oxygen needs of one adult.
In the interest of fairness, we also need to consider the disadvantages of real grass for landscaping:
- Real grass entails long-term and ongoing costs for upkeep and maintenance.
- It requires regular and consistent trimming, watering, fertilizing and repair.
- The average home uses more than 50 gallons of water per day for watering lawns and gardens.
- Natural grass can turn brown and die from the weather if not well maintained, reducing home value, increasing pests, and inviting possible fungus.
- Maintaining real grass requires pesticides and herbicides that can contaminate groundwater and water runoff.
Ultimately, the final decision comes down to aesthetics, budget, primary use, and the expert recommendations of a landscaping professional like Northview Landscaping.
Your Best Resource for Grass and Landscaping Design
If the real grass vs artificial grass landscaping pros and cons here lead you to more questions, contact us!
Don’t hesitate to contact us for your questions regarding landscaping and turf options. Because we understand that creating the best look for your outdoor spaces is important, we’re available to answer any questions you might have about your landscaping design.
Regardless of whether you use real grass or artificial, you want to welcome guests in an attractive and unique outdoor space with great landscape design.
If you have questions, or you’d like to schedule a consultation about your garden or landscaping project, contact the professional landscape designers and plant installers at Northview Landscaping today.