Natural Grass vs Artificial Turf: The Pros and Cons [Infographic]

Taking pride in the appearance of your house and yard is one of the many responsibilities of owning a home. An appealing landscape is a way to significantly enhance the outside of your property. While many people have traditionally grown natural grass in their front yards, there are now a variety of options with fewer challenges and less maintenance! For these reasons, homeowners are turning to artificial turf as a reliable substitute. 

Whether you are looking to make changes to your lawn by improving what is already there or replacing it with something else, you should know about the differences between natural grass and artificial grass and the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Learn more in our infographic below!

 

US Turf Infographic

 

Aesthetic

When considering the landscape of your home, you may wonder how natural grass compares aesthetically with artificial turf. Some prefer a more natural look and initially lean toward natural grass. However, those that explore artificial turf will find that there are many varieties, some of which have more mileage and aesthetic appeal than others. US Turf produces different variations of artificial grass that look more like natural grass than ever before. As an added benefit, the amount of turf maintenance needed as compared to natural grass is considerably less. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about a browning lawn in hot summer months. 

Maintenance Load

When it comes to residential turf, the amount of maintenance outshines that of natural grass. The requirements for taking care of natural grass include fertilizing, mowing, and watering often. These tasks also come at a cost, which vary depending on weather conditions and frequency of care. 

One of the advantages of artificial turf is that you can choose the blade length. This saves both time and cost of labor. Getting the ideal shape of natural grass can take a lot of work, but artificial turf always looks perfect with little maintenance.

Water Use

Another topic to cover when talking about pros and cons is water usage. In a residential area, naturally grown grass requires a lot of water, especially if you use a sprinkler system. With synthetic grass, however, there is minimal watering required. The only time you need to “water” your artificial grass is to clean it off. Spills on artificial turf can easily be removed with water. 

Because you don’t have to water the lawn, especially during the hot summer months, you’ll use less water, which translates to a lower water bill and more environmental savings.  

Safety of Kids and Pets

If you have children or pets, you know that the lawn is a great place to play. However, with traditional grass there is a concern if chemicals are used to treat it. Without the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and weed killers, you will not have to worry about any chemicals endangering children or pets with artificial grass. 

Children and pets can enjoy playing on artificial turf just as they would on traditional grass. Dogs who enjoy playing on natural grass might feel inclined to try eating it or digging a hole. However, they will quickly recognize that that’s not possible! If they leave a mess when doing their business, it’s easy to clean up.

baby hand against grass

The Test of Time

Artificial turf materials are designed to last a long time. Naturally grown grass can also last a long time, but it takes a lot of work to maintain a beautiful lawn. Weather conditions, such as intense heat and sun, can shorten the lifespan of natural grass. 

Synthetic turf is made to last during various weather conditions. Artificial grass will not die during a spell of intense heat, though you may still need to worry about it being hot to the touch. It also looks perpetually green for as long as you have it. One thing to keep in mind is that it usually lasts about 15-20 years before needing replacement. For the lifetime of the turf, however, you do not need to spend any money on lawn maintenance, which for many is a worthwhile investment. 

Preferences

When synthetic turf first came onto the scene in the 1950s, some believed that artificial grass would replace natural grass as the standard for lawns. In fact, plastic and synthetic manufacturing companies speculated that synthetic turf might eliminate the practice of mowing, water, and raking lawns. Now, with advanced materials and installation, artificial grass is quickly becoming the standard for your yard. 

Time has shown that natural grass is increasingly outdated. As temperatures rise, watering the lawn has become a liability for your monthly bill and for the environment. In many regions of the country, particularly Southern California, natural grass simply isn’t an ideal option. Annual rainfall isn’t enough to keep your lawn looking the way it should. Artificial grass provides a solution for those who prefer the look of grass but are weary of the endless maintenance.  

Key Considerations Between Artificial and Natural Grass

Look and Texture

Artificial grass is not what you may remember. It has truly advanced in its look and texture, and continues to do so to fit the needs of your household. With a number of color, length, and texture variations, you are able to select the lawn of your dreams. Natural grass can only go so far in terms of options. Dry grass is crunchy and can be painful to walk on. Bare patches are common and are an eyesore. In this day and age, it has become increasingly harder to maintain the picturesque front lawn of the old days. 

However, the iconic green lawn does not have to disappear. Artificial grass goes so far as to install multicolored blades, replicating your favorite memories of your parents front yard. You can choose the ideal option to blend into your landscape that will hold up against pets, kids, and weather. While natural grass will always represent the quintessential front yard, golf course, and community park of the past, artificial grass is proving to be the way of the future. 

Cost

When considering your options, it’s important to take note of upfront cost versus lifetime cost. 

The installation cost of synthetic grass is higher than natural sod. It can range from around $5 to $15 per square foot, whereas professionally laid sod ranges from .14 to .60 cents per square foot. Therefore, synthetic grass has a much higher upfront cost than natural grass. 

Fortunately, once synthetic grass is down, it’s free. Maintenance fees and bills disappear after the initial investment.

When installing natural grass, the toll on your wallet begins after the fact. It can cost upwards of $1,000 a year to maintain the quality of your natural lawn. Upkeep and expenditures will continue throughout its lifetime, and prices are only increasing. 

To put it simply, the true cost of either option depends on the length of time you are planning to stay in your home. Over time, synthetic grass will pay itself off. Natural grass may be cheaper upfront, but will continue to be a financial burden as long as you choose to maintain it. 

Environmental Impact

Both synthetic and natural grass have differing impacts on the environment. 

Natural grass is a plant that absorbs carbon dioxide while releasing oxygen for humans and animals to breathe. It can act as a natural filter for groundwater and hosts microorganisms that break down organic waste material. However, when a grass lawn is grown outside of its natural habitat, the negatives often outweigh these benefits. Areas in the Northeast and the Great Plains are the only regions where grass lawns can be maintained naturally.

Upkeep of a grass landscape in the wrong climate can come at a huge cost when considering the environmental impact. Excessive watering and use of chemicals become necessary when grass starts to dry out. These toxins can end up in our food and water supply. Additionally, lawn maintenance can lead to the release of greenhouse gases due to the gas used in lawn mowers. 

On the other hand, artificial grass conserves water and is never toxic. However, it is not always biodegradable. Artificial grass has a lifespan of around 25 years and when it is not made to be recyclable, it can pose an environmental threat. Fortunately, many companies are moving toward recyclable artificial grass and for those that are not, the material can often be melted down for other uses. As long as you do your research, you can end up with a synthetic lawn that is not only easy to maintain, but that is beneficial for the environment. 

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both natural and artificial grass. That being said, artificial grass is great for a family who wants to lessen their environmental impact, save money on water bills, and spend less time maintaining their lawn and more time doing what they love. 

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