To Turf or Not to Turf

Written by Jaymi Naciri Posted On Sunday, 20 November 2022 00:00

That’s increasingly the question for homeowners. After all, grass is a huge pain to take care of, is a water hog, and is expensive to replace (again and again). If artificial grass is on your radar, it’s time to take a look at some of the pros and cons.

Pro: No maintenance

You don’t need to mow artificial grass, or edge it or seed it or water it. Once you lay it down, you’re done.

Con: It can be expensive initially

Like putting in a brand-new lawn, laying down turf can be pricey. You’re talking about a range of $8–14 per square foot, and while you can definitely find some sales and deals, you’ll want to keep in mind that, in general, you get what you pay for. The good news is that you won’t need to replace it or re-seed it.

Pro: It can last a long, long time

That means that, depending on how long you live in the home, it might pay for itself. “The life expectancy of artificial turf can be upwards of 25 years,” said Gardenista, “making it a less costly alternative to real turf over its life span.

Con: It might be against the rules

If you live in a community with a Homeowner’s Association (HOA), be sure to get permission first. Turf is becoming more common and more in-demand, which is convincing more HOAs to approve its use; but that doesn’t mean it’s approved everywhere. In certain communities, the HOA directs which types of real grass can be used, and which can’t. You don't want to make a big investment in turf only to be told you have to rip it out and replace it with grass.

Pro: It’s eco-friendly

The water savings element is huge if you’re looking to live a litter greener. And, “Some manufacturers use recycled materials, such as old tires or plastic bottles,” said Gardenista.

Con: But, it is not biodegradable.

So, yeah. It’s still going to end up in a landfill some day.

Pro: It’s pet-friendly

“The good news is that pet waste won’t negatively impact your artificial grass, and turf is easy to clean,” said Purchase Green. “Tight, but permeable backing allows urine and fluids to drain. In fact, smaller sections are often used for designated pet potties. Just as these can be lifted to clean throughout, your artificial grass lawn can be enhanced with dog-friendly features for optimum absorption and draining.” There are also specific types of turf that are designed for animals.

Con: It’s hot.

In fact, it can really get up there. “Real grass has a cooling effect when the air temperature is high. Artificial grass lacks this cooling quality,” said SFGATE. “The grass itself may become hotter than the air and can make the surrounding air feel hotter.”

Pro: It’s great for shaded areas

Say goodbye to that patchy lawn.

Con: It’s never going to be grass

If the the smell, look, and feel of real grass does it for you, turf probably won’t. While some of the better offerings can do a pretty good job of fooling the eye and the foot, plastic is still plastic.

Pro: It looks great all year round

If you live in an area where the lawn is dormant in the winter, it may take some time getting used to seeing your lush, green (faux) lawn, even in negative temps. But, we’re sure you’ll get there.

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