Lately, our landscape construction clients have been inquiring more and more about installing artificial grass on their properties, and we can understand why. It has a number of benefits, including looking great year-round (when not covered with snow). Artificial grass provides that perfect carpet-like appearance that live turf owners – and landscape professionals such as us at Mirage – work very hard to attain each summer. Many feel as though it could be a good choice for them due to its obvious low-maintenance qualities. Artificial grass does not need watering, mowing, and feeding, just the occasional sweeping or raking to remove dust, dirt, and leaves to keep it looking tidy. And it has a very long life expectancy — if taken care of, artificial grass can last for 25 years or more.
More pros to artificial grass include:
- Less water use. Using less water is not only good for your budget, it is also good for the environment.
- Bye-bye allergies. Many people suffer from seasonal allergies, which grass (especially freshly mown) can exacerbate.
- Forget about weeding forever. Properly installed artificial grass should keep weeds away from your property permanently.
- Extreme durability. Artificial grass can also help keep gophers, voles and varmints away.
- Safer. Many artificial grass options also include soft padding underneath to prevent injuries when falling.
- Smoother. Golf nuts love artificial grass for the option to install faux putting greens, and soccer players think it’s great for never messing with their shot’s line.
Business owners are also becoming more aware of the benefits of artificial grass. It can help lower maintenance costs dramatically while looking practically flawless.
Drawbacks of artificial grass
Gardenista.com warns that there are a few drawbacks to artificial grass that may not be readily apparent at first. Some say that even though it purports to be environmentally friendly, you are still covering up living and breathing earth with something that is man-made. Others say it gets very hot in the summer, enough so that it’s not pleasant to sit on. And even with regular sweeping and vacuuming, many report that it is difficult to keep clean.
Pet owners also are divided on the benefits of artificial grass. Liquid waste will permeate through to the ground below, but solid waste sits there. There can be a tendency for odors to build up. You can rinse off your artificial grass all you want, but it’s often hard to know if it’s really clean unless you give it a good pressure wash a few times a summer using an approved cleaner. And because artificial grass gets hot, pets do not seem to enjoy their time in the yard as much as with real grass.
But the biggest drawback to artificial grass is the fact that it a petroleum product that will not biodegrade. Even after its very long life, it will most likely simply end up in a garbage dump. In addition, even though artificial grass manufacturers purport their products to be completely safe, there are concerns about run-off ― what it may contain, and its potential to harm the environment.
More artificial grass questions answered
BobVila.com covers the basics of artificial grass in a series done in partnership with Artificial Turf Supply of the U.S. Artificial grass is made with polyethylene that is shaped into soft and flexible blades. The material is infused with UV protectors to stop it from drying out and becoming brittle.
Properly installed artificial grass will not accumulate water on the surface. It should sink to the bottom and then drain into the ground.
Many types of artificial grass also offer long-term warranties against material defects.
- Surrounding your fake turf with a living border of shrubs and perennials
- Getting creative with pavement patterns, interspersing green and tile
- Using artificial grass on a patio for extra foot comfort
- Lining the edge of a pool for extra safety from slip and falls
What’s our opinion?
We’re sure it’s not a surprise when we admit that we prefer living grass over artificial. Living grass is beautiful and multi-functional — it can be both rigorously played on and comfortably lounged on. Living grass gives back to the environment by preventing soil erosion, filtering dust and pollutants from the air, and providing habitat for helpful yard dwellers like worms and ladybugs. The amount of water that is saved (which could be easily partially mitigated with an underground irrigation system), does not make up for what is given back to the earth with more natural areas.
Mirage Landscaping is flexible and creative
Whatever your vision is for your property, Mirage Landscaping’s three generations’ of experience in the landscape design and construction business can help bring them to fruition. We will work with you to see the very best result for your ideas. Our commitment to individualized customer service has made us a leader in our industry, which is something we take great pride in. View our portfolio here, and contact us for a quote on your next outdoor project.