Since the 60s, artificial turf has come a long way from purely being applied in highgrade sports fields to now being widely used in residential and commercial outdoor spaces all over the world. So, is artificial turf a trend you should be adopting or avoiding? No need to speculate, we have put together some information to help you navigate the pros and cons of artificial turf.
Pros of using artificial turf
When it comes to artificial turf, the first thing that comes to mind is that there is little to no maintenance required. Once it has been professionally installed, there is literally no mowing, no watering, no fertilising and no weeding. All that is needed is a little brushing and sand infilling once a year to keep the grass blades standing upright. On the other hand, a natural lawn has ongoing maintenance costs by way of regular mowing, fertilising, watering and weed control. Not only will an artificial lawn help you have a reduced water bill and a brilliant looking lawn all year round, you’ll also enjoy more time to muddle that 5pm cocktail – Sounds perfect right?
Hardwearing and Versatile
Artificial turf is extremely versatile, durable, soft and non-abrasive and can be used for a number of different outdoor environments – from school grounds, childcare centres, playgrounds, to family backyards, courtyards and rooftop gardens. These days, there is a wide range of artificial turf colours and textures available, with many designed to tolerate even the most active of pets! No more unwanted holes or mud tracks through the house!
Suitable for the Aussie Climate
There are a number of Australian made artificial turf varieties that are manufactured from safe pigments that are toxin, metal-free and created specifically to withstand the Aussie climate.
Cons of using artificial turf
Not so Eco-Friendly
There is quite a bit of contention in the landscaping and horticultural industry with regards to the environmental impacts of using artificial turf instead of a natural one. Many artificial turfs are made from non recycled plastics which in turn result in creating more waste that will eventually end up in landfill. Not ideal! The best idea is to invest in an artificial turf that is made from recycled plastics or one that is ‘cradle-to-cradle’ (meaning after it has finished it’s lifecycle, it can be reused and recycled back into artificial turf).
On the nose
When it comes to artificial turf, there is one thing that you will need to keep in mind: odor. Unfortunately if you are a pet owner, pet waste does not break down into the soil (compared to natural turf) as artificial turf is typically laid onto a compacted sub base or sometimes even concrete. Any nasty surprises your pet is likely to leave behind must be removed or rinsed over with water and vinegar solution to eliminate residuals or lingering smells.
Turning up the heat
In full sun positions, artificial turf has been known to heat up and can often be unbearable to touch – ouch! This is caused because the sub-base cannot absorb heat from the sun. If possible, keep large areas of artificial turf out of direct sun and install in shaded spaces.
High up-front cost
The upfront cost to install artificial turf is much greater compared to natural turf. In some cases, the cost to supply and install artificial turf can be almost 4 times greater. Wowee! Not a great solution for the budget conscious.
Won’t last a lifetime
Unfortunately not all things last forever and artificial turf is no exception. Exactly how long your grass will last depends on the product you choose and how you use it. Artificial turf has a lifespan of upwards of 10 years however, real lawn can last forever if properly cared for.
So as far as what’s better for you – think about what you like the look and feel of, your environmental preferences, how much money you want to spend and how much time you have to give to maintenance and most importantly which one better suits your personal needs.
Backyard with artificial turf. Header image Credit: Pinterest