Is Synthetic Turf Right For Me? And If Yes, Then How Do I Take Care Of It?
Maintaining a real lawn is hard work. Grass is a living, growing thing and it requires nutrients and water to stay green and healthy. And when grass is growing you need to mow the lawn every week or so to keep it from getting too tall. So not only do lawns require time, but they also require resources in the form of water, fertilizer, lawnmower fuel, and sometimes pesticides. And that can become expensive. Plus, water shortages and chemical run-off mean that maintaining a lawn isn't always be good for the environment.
There are ways to make lawns more low-maintenance. But you can only do so much. At the bare minimum, a lawn still needs enough water to keep it alive and you'll have to mow when the grass is growing. And if you want really nice green grass that means more work. Unless you opt for a lawn that's not made from grass at all.
Synthetic turf isn't for everyone. But if you're looking for a low-maintenance alternative to grass that'll stay green and "grows" anywhere, artificial grass might be a good option for you.
What Is Synthetic Turf?
Artificial grass is made from synthetic fibers designed to look like grass. Older turfs were commonly made from nylon, which wasn't very soft and faded in sunlight. Today, synthetic turf is made from materials like polyethylene and other polymers that feel more like real grass. They include additives that give the turf a green color and increase its resistance to UV light and help it hold up to everyday wear-and-tear. These artificial grass fibers are attached to a sturdy fabric backing that includes holes for drainage. Synthetic turf usually comes in rolls like carpet.
Why Use Synthetic Grass?
The most obvious advantage of synthetic grass is that you don't have to mow, water, or fertilize it. Here are a few other reasons to consider synthetic turf:
- It'll stay green all year
- Unlike real grass, it doesn't require sunlight
- Good quality artificial turf looks just like real grass
- Animal waste won't discolor or damage your lawn
- You can choose color and grass length
There are a few potential downsides to consider as well:
- Artificial grass does feel different than real grass and it makes a plastic rustling sound when you touch it
- The initial expense can be fairly high (about $1.50 to $5+ per square foot for the grass, depending on the quality)
- Putting artificial grass in correctly isn't easy, so you'll probably want to pay for professional installation (typically an extra $3 to $5 per square foot)
How Do I Care For Artificial Grass?
Once artificial turf has been installed it's pretty easy to take care of. Occasionally hosing the turf off with water will help wash away dirt and dust when there isn't much rain. And if you have pets and kids playing on the lawn you'll probably want to clean it more often. Just be careful about which cleaners you apply to the artificial lawn.
Harsh chemicals can damage the polymer used in the grass blades, so use gentle cleaners. You can buy cleaners designed for artificial turf or use a diluted solution of vinegar and water. Synthetic turf can absorb smells the same way carpet does, so if you have pets make sure you clean the spots where the they poop and/or urinate. Sprinkle the spot with baking soda, then rinse with a diluted solution of vinegar and water to keep the lawn from stinking.
You'll also want to brush the turf about once a week to keep it from matting-down, especially in high-traffic spots. The bristle broom attachment for Stihl's Yard Boss or Kombi Motors is the perfect tool for this job. You'll also need to make sure you remove trash, leaves and twigs, and other debris that fall on your lawn. A plastic-tine lawn rake or a leaf blower works well for this. With leaf blowers, the more powerful models make this job easy and give you a better cleaning. You can pick up all the tools you need to take care of your artificial turf here at Richardson Saw & Lawnmower.