Did you know that artificial turf use has increased by over 600% in the last decade? With technologies that replicate natural grass remarkably well, artificial turf has moved from novelty item to sought-after landscaping asset. Homeowners and businesses alike are incorporating synthetic grass into landscapes for aesthetic appeal and practical reasons.
But is artificial turf right for your property? In this guide, we’ll explore the latest artificial turf options, costs, maintenance needs, safety considerations, designs, and more. Whether you’re interested in a putting green, play space, or full lawn replacement, understanding the pros and cons will help determine if artificial turf should be part of your landscape plans.
Recent designs combine durability with beauty for lawns that provide the look of lush grass without the work. Advances even allow synthetic turf to feel cool to the touch like natural grass. Before committing, learn all you can about artificial turf possibilities. A well-planned artificial grass installation can provide years of enjoyment while complementing your landscape vision.
Benefits of Artificial Turf
Artificial turf offers a number of benefits that make it an appealing landscaping option for many homeowners:
Low Maintenance – Once installed properly, artificial turf requires very little maintenance compared to a traditional grass lawn. There’s no need for regular mowing, watering, fertilizing or treating for weeds and pests. Apart from occasional cleaning, artificial lawns provide a lush, green look year-round with minimal upkeep.
Saves Water – With much of Texas suffering from drought and water restrictions, a synthetic turf lawn helps conserve water. It eliminates the need for irrigation, saving thousands of gallons compared to irrigating and watering a real grass yard. This makes artificial turf a smart, sustainable landscaping choice.
Year-Round Green Lawn – Natural lawns turn brown and dormant during hot, dry summer months and cold winter weather. An artificial grass lawn maintains its vibrant green color all year long, no matter the season or weather conditions. You’ll have a beautiful, picturesque yard even during the harshest summer heat or winter freezes.
Pet Friendly – Pets can wreak havoc on a traditional lawn, leaving unsightly yellow patches and tearing up the grass. Artificial turf stands up well to pets since the synthetic blades are resistant to pet urine and feces won’t penetrate the infill. Dogs love playing on artificial grass lawns too! It provides a soft yet durable surface for pets to play and run around on without damaging the lawn.
Artificial Turf Options
When selecting artificial turf, you have several options to consider that will impact the look, feel, and performance of your synthetic grass.
Blade Length/Pile Height
- Short pile (1″-1.5″): Best for low-traffic areas and pets. Provides a tightly knit, realistic appearance.
- Medium pile (1.5″-2″): Most popularoption. Works for lawns, play areas. Provides a lush, green, natural look.
- Long pile (2″-2.5″): Ideal for sports fields and high-traffic areas. Provides excellent durability.
Pile height impacts the grass blade density. Shorter piles allow more blades per square foot for a tighter, denser look. Longer piles feel plusher but have fewer blades per square foot.
Infill is spread between the blades to provide support, drainage, and a natural feel. Common infill options:
- Silica sand: Provides great drainage and stability. Most cost-effective option.
- Rubber: Made from recycled tires. Provides cushioning and mimics soil. More expensive but good for play areas.
- Acrylic coated sand: Sand coated with acrylic for extra stability and vivid color. A middle-ground option.
The backing provides the turf’s drainage, dimensional stability, and structure. Primary backing options:
- Polypropylene: Budget option. Not as durable long-term but works for low-traffic areas.
- Polyethylene: Most popular backing. Durable, permeable, retains blades well. Ideal for moderate traffic.
- DualPolyethylene: Two layers bonded together. Extremely durable and permeable. Best forhigh-traffic areas.
Choosing the right artificial grass options for your needs and budget will ensure you get the ideal blend of aesthetics, durability, drainage, and cushioning. Consult an expert to select the best products for your project.
Artificial Turf Costs
While the initial cost of installing artificial turf may seem high, it offers many long-term savings over natural grass. The total cost of installing artificial grass runs $8-15 per square foot on average. This accounts for materials, labor, site preparation and any additional costs like removing your existing lawn.
Despite the upfront price tag, artificial turf offers ongoing cost savings down the road. You’ll avoid the constant mowing, watering, fertilizing and routine maintenance required for real grass. Artificial turf also lasts much longer, with a lifespan of 15-25 years compared to the constant upkeep real grass demands. And since artificial lawns retain their vibrant color and texture year-round, you’ll avoid the brown spots and frequent overseeding real grass requires.
Over its lifetime, artificial turf recoups its own cost and more. You’ll save thousands on your utility bills by slashing water usage, along with reduced fees for lawn care services and equipment. While real grass loses its luster after a few years, quality artificial turf retains its lush appearance for decades with minimal upkeep required. For homeowners seeking an evergreen lawn without the hassles of real grass, artificial turf offers clear long-term savings.
Artificial Turf Maintenance
Regular maintenance is necessary for artificial grass to retain its vibrant look and lush feel. Cleaning artificial turf frequently prevents dirt, debris, and other particles from collecting and matting down the blades. You should aim to remove surface debris at least once a week with a stiff natural bristle broom or leaf blower. Gently brush the artificial blades upwards as you sweep to stand them back up.
Occasionally disinfecting your artificial lawn helps kill germs and bacteria. Mix 1/4 cup of bleach per 1 gallon of water and apply evenly across the turf using a spray bottle. Rinse thoroughly with water after 15 minutes of dwell time. Disinfect every 2-3 months during high traffic times.
Avoid damaging the artificial turf fibers by removing pet waste immediately, repairing tears from sharp objects right away, and keeping heavy furniture off the lawn. High heels and cleats can rip holes in the turf. Roller blades, bikes, and other sports equipment may flatten the blades down over time.
With proper care, you can keep your artificial grass looking great for over 10 years. Regular maintenance prevents premature wear, maintains cleanliness, and retains the authentic grass-like texture.
Artificial Turf Installation
Installing artificial turf requires careful preparation and technique to ensure proper drainage and a natural, realistic appearance. The basic process includes:
- The area must be leveled and have proper drainage. Any large dips or bumps in the landscape should be filled or dug out.
- The top layer of soil should be removed so the artificial turf will have a flat, stable base.
- If drainage issues exist, a sloped aggregate base may need to be installed.
- An aggregate base of crushed stones or gravel is installed and compacted. This provides drainage and a secure foundation.
- A weed barrier fabric is placed over the base to block weeds and vegetation growth.
- Some installations also use a layer of sand for additional stability and drainage.
Turf Rolling Out and Seaming
- The artificial turf rolls are placed across the prepared base. The rolls should be laid out with slight overlaps for seaming.
- Adhesive seaming tape is used to permanently join the turf rolls at the edges. The seams are secured for a seamless appearance.
- The turf is stretched and secured at the edges with nails, stakes, or an adhesive.
- Excess turf at the edges is trimmed for a clean finish.
Proper installation requires attention to base preparation, drainage, seaming, and perimeter attachment. Hiring a professional installer experienced with artificial turfs ensures optimal results.
Artificial Turf Safety
When properly installed and maintained, artificial turf is generally considered quite safe. However, there are a few precautions to keep in mind:
Lead and Chemical Safety
- Older artificial turf products (pre-2009) contained lead as a stabilizer which could be harmful, especially for children. Make sure any turf product installed is certified lead-free.
- Some artificial turf contains infill made from crumb rubber from recycled tires. While government reviews have not found increased health risks, there is debate about potential chemical exposure. Using alternative infill materials like coconut husks or sand can alleviate concerns.
- On hot, sunny days, the surface temperature of artificial turf can get very hot, up to 15-30 degrees hotter than natural grass. This can pose a burn risk.
- Sprinkling water over the turf before use can help cool it down. Avoid direct sun exposure where possible by installing shade structures.
- Artificial turf provides a consistent playing surface, but it’s harder than natural grass. Make sure players wear appropriate footwear and protective gear to prevent injuries from falls.
- Since the infill settles over time, regularly rake and groom the turf to prevent compaction and maintain cushioning.
- Proper drainage under the turf is important to avoid puddles or overly waterlogged turf which can lead to slippery conditions.
With proper precautions, you can ensure that artificial turf is a safe addition to your landscape. Prioritizing certified lead-free products, using safer infill materials, providing shade, and encouraging appropriate footwear will help minimize risks.
Artificial Turf Design Ideas
Artificial turf offers many possibilities for enhancing the design and functionality of outdoor spaces. Here are some ideas for incorporating synthetic grass into modern landscape designs:
- Replace a traditional grass lawn with artificial turf for a lush, always-green look with no mowing or watering required. Sculpt the turf into rolling hills or install it on a slope for visual interest.
- Frame the entryway with synthetic grass instead of mulch or rock beds. It provides a tidy, uniform appearance.
- Use shapes, borders and accents of artificial turf in the yard to complement flower beds, trees and hardscapes.
- Cover a patio or entertaining area with turf for a soft yet durable outdoor carpet look.
- Install a putting green with artificial grass for fun backyard recreation. Choose a short turf pile to simulate natural greens.
- Let the kids and pets play on a safe, comfortable turf surface that stands up to heavy traffic.
- Extend the living space by installing artificial turf adjacent to patios and decks. It expands the functional area and unifies the look.
- Borders of synthetic turf along patios, walkways and fences provide soft definition between hardscapes.
- Accent the patio with a fire pit or outdoor kitchen installed atop a turf surface for a lush look.
- Construct a synthetic putting green using specialized low-pile artificial turf designed for realistic ball roll.
- Incorporate contours and slight breaks in the putting surface to simulate natural greens.
- Surround the putting green with small turf fringes and a different style of artificial grass to visually define the play area.
- Add a few sand traps made from soft synthetic turf for added challenge.
With its versatility and practical advantages, artificial grass opens up many possibilities for creative and stylish landscape designs. Turf can upgrade backyards, patios and other outdoor living spaces for modern lifestyles and low maintenance.
Artificial Turf Pros vs Cons
When considering artificial turf, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons to determine if it’s the right choice for your lawn.
- Easy Maintenance – Artificial turf requires very little maintenance compared to real grass. There’s no need for regular mowing, watering, fertilizing or aerating. Just occasional brushing and hosing down is required.
- Always Green – The color of artificial turf remains consistent year-round, with no fading or browning common with real grass. The synthetic blades retain their fresh, vibrant green hue in any season or weather.
- Versatile – Artificial turf can be installed in areas real grass can’t grow, like shady spots or sloped areas. The durable turf can also handle pet and kid traffic that would ruin a real lawn.
- High Initial Cost – Installing artificial turf costs significantly more upfront compared to sod or seeding a new lawn. However, it may pay for itself over time due to reduced maintenance costs.
- Hot in Summer – On hot, sunny days, artificial turf absorbs heat and can get uncomfortably hot for bare feet or pets. Newer technologies offer cooling infill and blades to help address this.
- Limited Realism – Artificial turf looks fairly realistic from afar, but up close it’s clearly an imitation with limited texture and organic imperfection. For some homeowners, the tradeoffs are worth it for the practicality.
Artificial turf provides many benefits for modern landscapes and designs in Austin and San Antonio. With its realistic look and feel, artificial grass transforms yards into beautiful, lush landscapes without the maintenance required for real grass. Homeowners can enjoy the aesthetic appeal of a perfectly manicured lawn, even in hot climates or shady areas where real grass struggles. Kids and pets can play safely on durable, cushioned turf.
Water conservation is a major benefit as well, saving thousands of gallons of water a year compared to irrigating natural lawns. Artificial grass stays green all year without watering, fertilizing or mowing. There are no pesticides needed either. With creative designs, artificial turf installations can complement gardens and hardscapes for a seamless look. The newest turf technologies ensure greater durability and drainage too.
Overall, incorporating artificial turf allows homeowners to achieve the lawn of their dreams with modern convenience. To explore how synthetic grass can re-imagine your landscape, contact the experts at Waterloo Turf today for a free quote in Austin or San Antonio.