Artificial grass is becoming an increasingly popular choice among homeowners. The fake counterpart offers a simple, yet affordable, solution for creating a stunning and (almost) maintenance-free yard. And fortunately, it’s come a long way since the early days of artificial turf that looked a little too, well, artificial. Today, it can be tough to tell the fake turf apart from real grass, and it’s as common on sprawling suburban lawns as it is on the sports fields.
Whether you’re considering buying artificial grass for your home or you’re just interested in learning a bit more about it, we’ve put together this quick explainer on all of the basics you need to know—including what it is, why it’s a good choice for homeowners, and the different factors that you should consider when buying it.
What is Artificial Grass and What is it Made Of?
Like its name suggests, artificial grass is faux turf that’s made to look just like the real thing. It’s been around since about the 1960s, though the idea of finding an artificial alternative for grass lawns has been around since at least a decade prior to that.
Artificial grass is made from a synthetic blend of materials that is designed to give off the appearance of natural grass without requiring the same level of upkeep or care. In most cases, this synthetic blend includes three primary materials:
- Polyethylene – A light and flexible plastic that’s also highly durable.
- Polypropylene – A thermoplastic material that is extremely versatile and can be found in everything from food containers to rugs.
- Nylon – A type of silky thermoplastic material that is mixed with other additives (like those above) to achieve a huge range of fibers and shapes.
All of these plastic or plastic-adjacent materials are highly common in commercial products and manufacturing, and all are considered to be safe for use by and around humans and animals.
Good Reasons for Getting Synthetic Grass
Why pay for a lawn when you can just work with the one that grows out of the ground?
Well, for starters, not all climates, soils, or environments are conducive to the growth of natural grass. And for a lot of homeowners, choosing synthetic grass is preferable to dealing with the headache of trying to get natural grass to grow and thrive on their lawn—especially if they’re dealing with issues like too much sun or shade.
There are a lot of other benefits, too. This includes the fact that artificial turf requires very little maintenance, which cuts back on the time and expense that goes into keeping a real lawn looking its best. It’s also quite environmentally friendly, since you don’t need to water it or treat it with harmful chemical fertilizers.
Other big advantages: synthetic turf is great for pets and pet parents, as well as for kids – and it’s safe for everyone to be on, too.
Factors to Consider When Buying Artificial Grass
If you’ve decided that artificial grass is right for your home, then your next step is going to be narrowing down your options based on the various factors that are available to choose from.
Things that you will want to consider include:
- Traffic: How much traffic is the grass going to get? If you use your lawn for recreational activities like sports – or if you simply have pets or kids who love to run around outside – you’ll want to choose an extra durable turf.
- Pile height: This refers to the length of each blade of grass. Go for a shorter pile if you plan to put furniture on your lawn, and opt for a bit longer for a more natural look.
- Quality: There are lots of quality factors to choose from, including UV protection, softness of the material, and the exact color of your turf. Look at all of your options and decide what’s important to you and what’s in your budget.
- Weight: If your plan is to install artificial grass on a balcony or rooftop then you will need to consider its overall weight, however this won’t apply if you’re simply buying it for your yard.
- Infill: The infill of artificial grass is what keeps it springy and looking lush. You’ll have a variety of infill options based on your budget and preferences, including sand and rubber crumb.
- Maintenance: You don’t need to commit nearly the amount of time and money to maintenance with artificial grass as you do with real grass, but it’s not quite maintenance free either. Keep in mind that cheaper turf may require more maintenance, so it’s probably worth spending more at the outset to save more later on.
Your best bet is usually going to be finding a reputable artificial grass manufacturer and then working out the details from there. Let them know what your budget is and what needs and preferences you have, including how you intend to use your turf and where you’re going to have it installed. They’ll be able to walk you through your options from there.