Natural vs Synthetic Lawns

A lawn that always looks good and never has to be mowed?  Tempting, isn’t it.  But before tearing up your natural turf and replacing it with synthetic, here are a few pros and cons to consider.

Water conservation:  Of particular concern in drought-ridden Texas is water conservation.  A 2012 Texas Water Development Board report estimates that approximately 31 percent of residential annual water consumption is dedicated to outdoor purposes.  Although artificial grass does require period cleaning with a garden hose to remove accumulated dust and pollen, there’s no question that the water consumption is significantly less.

Cost:  Synthetic grass isn’t cheap!  The price can range from $7.50 to $11.60 per square foot, depending on factors such as the grade of the synthetic grass selected, site preparation, cutting, and clean-up.  Compare this to $1 – $2 per square foot for professionally installed sod.

Susceptibility:  Those with artificial grass have fewer lawn pest invasions to contend with.  Pests such as chinch bugs, grubs, fire ants, mole crickets and gophers are commonly found in natural turf.  There are remedies for lawn pests, of course, but many of them involve the use of toxic chemicals.

Heat absorption:  Some of the synthetic grass is made of plastic and the infill material has black crumb rubber as one of the components.  The result is that the synthetic turf will absorb and retain heat to a much greater degree than natural turf.  Turfgrass Producers International claims that some artificial turfs can be as much as  86.5 degrees hotter than natural grass under identical conditions.  This is due to the cooling effect of the water naturally occurring in real grass which is, of course, not the case with man-made turf.  So unless the synthetic grass is made with infill other than black crumb rubber particles or unless it has some kind of heat blocking materials, it may not be the best place to send your kids and dogs to play on a hot summer day.

Environmental factors:  Proponents of synthetic grass cite the elimination of gas-powered lawn mowers and fertilizers as being environmentally friendly.  Natural grass has the benefit of absorbing carbon dioxide and converting it to carbon and oxygen, although on a smaller scale than trees, although much of this benefit is offset by the carbon dioxide generated by fertilizer and gasoline from the law mower.

Appearance:  Many of the early versions of synthetic grass were … well … tacky looking and most folks could spot this artificial grass  at a glance.  Today’s versions, though, are a different story.  The higher end lines, particularly, are all but indistinguishable from natural grass.

Low maintenance does not mean no maintenance:  Synthetic lawns do have to be maintained to keep them looking good.  Accumulated dust and debris can be removed with a blower, a flexible garden rake, a stiff-bristled broom, or a garden hose.  Synthetic lawns require periodic sweeping with a broom to keep the bristles upright.  And, of course, dog poop can be removed with a poop scooper and then the spot disinfected and hosed down.

Sunshine Sunrooms can design and build your perfect sunroom from which to enjoy the view of your yard.  Call us today at (972) 243-5390 and let’s get started on making your dream home a reality.

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