The grass is always greener on the other side—especially if it’s not grass at all, but a material called artificial turf. But what is this material, and why might it be a better option for you than the natural way? We’ll cover what artificial turf actually is, the pros and cons of installing artificial turf, how to maintain turf, and the way to make real grass almost as easy to maintain as artificial turf.
Is artificial turf too good to be true? Here’s all the information you need to find out. After that, the decision is up to you.
What Is Artificial Turf?
We know what artificial turf looks like: a deep green, often short-pile material. But what is it, actually? Artificial turf for lawns refers to synthetic grass made from materials such as polyethylene, polypropylene, or nylon, designed to look and feel like real grass. In other words, artificial turf is made out of soft, flexible plastics.
Why not just use real grass? Well, that’s because artificial turf is often used as a substitute for natural grass in areas where it is difficult to maintain a live lawn, such as in drought-prone regions, high-traffic areas, or urban environments. And that’s just some of the benefits to this alternate lawn type.
The Pros of Artificial Turf
Dreaming of going on a long vacation and coming home to an impeccable lawn? Hoping to save tons of cash on your monthly water bill? Here are the pros to covering your lawn with this uncanny, lawn-like material.
Not No Maintenance, But Low Maintenance
While artificial turf isn’t completely without maintenance needs, it requires very little compared to natural grass. It doesn’t, for example, require the watering, mowing, fertilizing, or other regular upkeep that natural grass requires. It also does not grow, die, or have to be reseeded, which saves time and effort. Artificial turf can be easily cleaned by simply brushing or hosing it down to remove dirt and debris. And it doesn’t require any pesticides or herbicides, because it’s doesn’t attract harmful insects or weeds.
If you’re a super busy or frequently traveling homeowner, artificial turf is a good way to ensure a beautiful lawn, without getting dirty or staying on top of a ton of care.
Drought? Dropping Temperatures? No Problem.
An artificial turf is a great option for climates that experience drought and extreme temperatures because it requires very little water, unlike a natural lawn. Because it isn’t real grass, it can withstand extreme heat and cold temperatures and will not die or become brown and patchy. If you live somewhere with water restrictions and are struggling to maintain a healthy lawn, artificial turf might be your best bet.
The synthetic materials that make up artificial turf are highly resistant to wear and tear, even in cases of heavy use. Part of artificial turf’s durability lies in its construction: the blades of its “grass” are held in place by a supportive backing material that helps to prevent matting and crushing. That backing material evenly distributes the weight of heavy foot traffic across the entire surface, which in turn prevents damage. In other words: artificial turf can take the pressure.
Friendly to Pets
Even Fido can benefit from artificial turf. This material is good for pets because it provides a durable, easy-to-clean, and safe surface for them to play and exercise on. Unlike natural grass, artificial turf does not get damaged by pet urine and it is less likely to develop brown patches or bare spots. The material used in artificial turf is also typically resistant to mold, bacteria, and other microorganisms, so it’s less likely to harbor germs that can sometimes harm pets. Plus, the uniform texture and lack of rocks, sticks, or other debris can help reduce the risk of injury to pets while they’re playing or exercising.
Disclaimer! You really don’t want all that pet material to accumulate on your turf. Be sure to read up on how to maintain artificial turf later on in this article.
The Cons of Artificial Turf
You could say the biggest con of artificial turf is that, well, it’s artificial. It won’t improve the air quality of your yard or give you all the health benefits of being around plants that I’ve been observed in humans (alleviated stress, lower blood pressure, and increased productivity and creativity, to name a few). But there are a few more cons that might make you reconsider opting for the perfect, though inauthentic, lawn.
That Installation Will Cost You!
Hold your wallet. Artificial turf is known to be fairly expensive to install, though the cost itself can vary based on several factors, such as the size of the area being covered, the quality of the turf being used, and the cost of labor. On average, the cost of artificial turf can range from $5 to $20 per square foot, with installation costs ranging from $3 to $12 per square foot. And that’s not even including the cost of labor, especially if your lawn needs additional excavation or grading, additional drainage, or a more complex design. That’s a lot of dollar signs.
Artificial Turf Can Take the Heat… And It’s Too Much.
Artificial turf can’t evaporate moisture and regulate temperature like natural grass, which causes its surface to become excessively hot. This can make it uncomfortable to walk or play on, especially for children and pets. In extreme cases, it can even cause burns! Yowch.
That Synthetic Material? It’s Eco-Unfriendly.
Despite the fact that artificial turf doesn’t need to be watered, it still needs to be made. And there lies the problem. The production and disposal of artificial turf can contribute to environmental harm, such as the release of microplastics and chemicals into the environment, and the creation of waste in landfills. Additionally, artificial turf does not provide the ecosystem any of the services a natural lawn does, such as carbon sequestration and air purification.
Love Gardening or Landscaping? Go Natural.
Maybe this goes without saying, but artificial turf is just not suitable for certain activities such as gardening or landscaping, as it does not provide the same natural environment as grass. If you were hoping to grow your own organic vegetable garden this year or plant a few trees, this material probably isn’t for you. Thankfully, real grass can be almost as easy to maintain as artificial turf with an automatic lawn treatment—but more on that soon.
How to Maintain Artificial Turf
Artificial turf is low maintenance, not no maintenance. To keep it in good shape, you’ll have to brush the turf regularly using a stiff brush to fluff up the fibers and redistribute the infill material. Be sure to clean spills and stains using a mild soap solution and a scrub brush, and remove debris such as leaves and sticks that have accumulated. This will prevent the buildup of mold and mildew. And although you don’t have to water your artificial turf, it’s a good idea to regularly rinse it with water to remove dirt and keep the fibers looking fresh.
Over time, its infill material may become compacted, causing the turf to look flat and unnatural, so you may need to add more to restore the turf’s natural appearance. And if any areas become damaged or worn, you can use a utility knife to trim the affected fibers and use a seam roller to attach a new patch of turf over the damaged area.
If you have artificial turf, one automatic lawn treatment system called the OtO device is a great, hassle-free way to clean up after pets. It uses smart technology to address, ahem, spills, by applying a natural odor eliminator and deodorizing your turf. Just like that, artificial turf got even easier to maintain.
The Way to Make Real Grass as Easy as Artificial Turf
If you’re feeling a little stuck between the pros and cons of artificial turf because you want a beautiful lawn without much maintenance, but also prefer a natural material, we’ve got just the solution for you: the OtO device. Although we’ve already covered how it can work to deodorize pet odor on artificial turf, this genius device actually does so much more for real lawn grass.
The OtO device uses real-time local and regional weather, windspeed, humidity, and temperature data to actively adjust its schedule and deliver the perfect amount of water to your lawn. It also automatically applies liquid nutrition and treatments to your lawn through the water stream, keeping your grass lush and strong without the hassle. Some of its solar-powered features include precise treatment zones, a super easy set-up, organic fertilizing, mobile app capabilities, mosquito and tick control, and so much more. And it does all that work for you.
Whether you decide to opt for artificial turf or go for natural grass that the OtO device makes easy to maintain congratulations. You’ll soon be enjoying a green, lush, and beautiful lawn.