Everyone wants a picture-perfect lawn, but lawns require maintenance. Maintaining a lawn requires time and effort, as well as money for watering, weeding, and fertilizing.
Sometimes, though, keeping your lawn looking its best is made borderline impossible by water shortages and limits on how much water you can devote to your turf.
With droughts becoming more and more frequent in large parts of the country thanks to climate change, some homeowners have begun to look for alternative ways to keep their yards looking green and verdant, even when the sun is beaming down 100 Fahrenheit temperatures and there hasn’t been a drop of rain for weeks.
Whether you’re fed up with lawn maintenance or happen to live in an area plagued by water shortages, there is a solution- artificial grass! In this article, we’re going to tell you all you need to know about replacing your lawn with artificial turf.
What Is Artificial Grass?
Artificial grass consists of synthetic, man-made fibers that are made to look like real blades of grass. The ‘blades’ are different heights and brown blades are also added to mimic the look of dead grass that you would find on a real grass lawn.
Artificial turf is constructed in much the same way as carpet. It consists of a solid yet permeable backing to allow water to drain through, to which the individual ‘blades’ are then machine stitched on.
It is usually laid on top of a drainage layer, often compacted gravel, to prevent the artificial turf from becoming sodden.
There are three main types of artificial grass made today. The first type is polypropylene, which is the least durable of the three types. Its appearance is significantly affected by high temperatures and heavy foot traffic.
The second variety is polyethylene, which is the most ‘natural’ looking and feeling of the three types, and also drains well. The final and most durable type of artificial turf is Nylon.
Nylon turf will withstand high temperatures and heavy foot traffic without changing its appearance, although it is comparatively rigid.
How Much Does Artificial Grass Cost?
There’s no getting around the fact that artificial grass is expensive. It will cost you anywhere between $2 and $20 per square foot to have professionally installed for you, compared to just 14 to 60 cents per square foot for professionally laid sod.
You may also need to buy your artificial grass by the roll, which will drive up the cost per square foot.
That means over a hypothetical 1,000 square foot yard, the cost of laying artificial grass across it will be anywhere from $2000 to $2000. Of course, the cost will vary depending on a number of factors.
The first factor is which material you choose for your artificial lawn. The cheapest and least durable option, polypropylene, will cost you somewhere in the region of $1.90 to $6.75 per square foot to have laid.
The most durable option, nylon, will set you back something like $5 to $6 per square foot. Polyethylene, which we would recommend for lawn use as it looks and feels the most like real grass, will cost you between $2.55 to $3.85 per square foot.
On top of different materials, you’ll also find that some brands are more expensive than others. EasyTurf runs at about $1.50 to $2 for a square foot, whilst ProGreen will cost you anywhere from $4.25 to $ 11.25 per square foot.
Of course, you’ll also incur labor costs. These will vary depending on the area you want to lay the artificial grass on.
A small, flat, rectangular lawn is going to cost less in terms of labor than a large lawn with curved edges or on a slope, which will be more expensive due to the increased difficulty of the job.
Is Artificial Grass Cheaper Than Real Grass Over Time?
One of the main arguments made in favor of artificial grass is that whilst it may be significantly more expensive up front, it will require no further outlay for the rest of its lifespan of ten years or more. Real turf, on the other hand, requires monetary upkeep.
There’s no way to provide exact figures since they will vary for everyone, but there is a very strong chance that by the ten-year mark the initial outlay on the artificial grass will be outstripped by the yearly maintenance cost of a grass lawn, particularly if you employ a gardener.
Why Consider Artificial Grass?
One of the main benefits of using artificial grass on your lawn is that you will save water. This is of course good for your pocket, since water isn’t free!
It’s worth also considering the wider societal and environmental benefits of saving water, particularly if you live in a drought-hit area and saving water is a necessity.
Outdoor use makes up one of the largest percentages of residential water use, and some estimates suggest that switching to artificial turf could reduce household water use by 55 gallons per year.
Water shortages in some parts of the U.S. have become so acute that some water companies are prepared to subsidize people looking to switch to artificial grass to the tune of $1 per square foot.
Real grass will die if it doesn’t get enough water, and just 10-20 minutes of watering the lawn can use the same amount of water as the average person does in a single day!
Artificial grass, on the other hand, will remain a beautiful verdant green even if it doesn’t get a drop of water.
In addition to saving water, artificial grass will save you time, effort, and money on lawn maintenance. You won’t have to worry about hiring someone to look after your lawn for you.
If you look after your lawn yourself, you won’t need to weed, mow, and fertilize your lawn in your spare time to keep it healthy.
Artificial grass isn’t perfect, and certainly isn’t all that cheap, but it’s a great alternative to the real thing for people living in drought-prone areas that want to keep their lawns looking evergreen.
You’ll save water, you’ll save yourself the hassle of lawn maintenance, and you may well save money overall when compared to a grass lawn, over time.