By Kym Preslar
When it comes to growing a lush, attractive-looking lawn, there are all sorts of things you can do to increase your chances of success.
Water it often. Use an organic lawn fertilizer. Be sure to mow at the appropriate height.
That all sounds like a lot of work—which is what leads some people to choosing artificial turf over natural grass. No mowing, no fertilizing, no watering—what’s not to love?
It turns out, there’s a lot not to love. In fact, natural grass has numerous advantages over artificial options.
In this post we’ll tell you about the five main reasons why natural grass is better than artificial turf. Let’s get started!
What is the Difference Between Artificial Grass and Natural Grass?
Before deciding whether natural grass or artificial turf is better, it’s important to take a close look at what each grass type actually is.
Natural grass is, of course, actual grass! It is a plant that is living, breathing, and functioning just as any other plant would. There are all kinds of grass types you can choose for your lawn, depending on where you live and what your climate is like.
Artificial grass, on the other hand, is a material that is made out of synthetic fibers. These manmade fibers look just like real grass, but are not. Usually, artificial grass is made out of a fiber known as polyethylene, which is a common form of plastic also found in everyday items like plastic bags and soft drink bottles.
This kind of grass was first invented in the mid-1900s when it was first installed in sports turfs. Although it’s very common on sports turfs today, it’s also widely used in residential lawns.
Pros and Cons of Artificial Grass vs. Natural Grass
Here are a few pros and cons of artificial grass versus natural grass.
The biggest benefit of artificial turf? You don’t have to mow it, of course.
Mowing your lawn is a cumbersome task that many homeowners hate—and of course, it’s not the best for the planet, either, even if you’re using an electric mower. It’s still using up energy!
However, there’s nothing quite like the smell of fresh-cut grass—so natural grass might still win out there.
This is the one other area where artificial turf wins out over natural grass. Obviously, you don’t have to water artificial turf. For some people, particularly those who live in drought-prone areas of the country, not needing water is a huge benefit of artificial turf.
However, some homeowners do still spritz their artificial lawns every now and then—particularly when it’s hot outside and they need to cool things down (more on this below).
Some people will make the argument that with artificial turf, you never have to use any harmful chemicals. However, this really isn’t the case with natural grass either—there are plenty of organic lawn fertilizers you can choose from that are completely safe to use.
Plus, since artificial turf is made out of chemicals, it’s really a trade-off.
Why Natural Grass is a Better Option for Lawns
Here are a few reasons to consider natural grass for your lawn.
1. It Stays Cooler
Reason number one to choose natural grass? It stays a lot cooler in the summer.
Artificial grass can get extremely hot in the sun while natural grass is up to 15 degrees cooler than the ambient temperature. That’s why lying on your lawn on a scorching hot day feels so soothing—the grass is cooling you down!
Not only is natural grass cooler to the touch, but surrounding your home with it can reduce your cooling costs in the summer, too.
2. It’s More Eco-Friendly
A common misconception about artificial turf is that, since it requires no water or fertilizer, it’s better for the environment. That’s not necessarily the case.
There is a significant carbon footprint involved in the manufacturing of artificial turf. It’s made out of plastics that contain petrochemicals—which, as we all know, are resources that are in short supply.
Natural grass has no manufacturing costs involved and actually helps to clean the air of carbon dioxide on an ongoing basis.
3. Natural Grass is Better for Your Health
Some people report that artificial turf is not nearly as comfortable to walk or play on as natural grass. It goes without saying that you’re less likely to injure yourself on a natural lawn than on an artificial one.
Not only that, but there are ongoing studies into the health impacts of the fibers used in the creation of artificial turf. Since they contain petroleum products, they could be detrimental to your health just as other plastics are.
4. It’s Less Expensive to Install
Cost will be one of the biggest factors to consider when deciding between natural grass and artificial turf. Artificial grass can cost up to $100 per square meter to install, while natural turf only costs around $25 per square meter—and that’s if you’re paying someone to install it for you. Installing natural turf yourself can save a ton of money.
5. Replacing it is Not Costly at All
Finally, although a natural lawn will require more maintenance, you’ll find that it’s not that much work if you stick to a routine. When maintained properly, it will last forever.
Artificial turf, however, will break down over time even with the best of care. It only lasts for 10 to 15 years before it needs to be replaced.
Choose Natural Grass—and Enjoy Your Lawn to the Fullest
So, what will it be—natural grass or artificial turf? For most people, natural grass will make the most sense. It contains no harmful chemicals, is inexpensive to install, and is inexpensive to maintain. And if you’re concerned about water usage, there are plenty of drought tolerant grasses you can grow that use minimal water.
Although a natural lawn will generally use more water, there are plenty of ways to cut down on your expenses and environmental impact—and to make a lawn of natural grass the natural choice for any homeowner.
Kym Preslar is a bit of a gardening and home improvement fanatic. She’s been working on her garden for over 5 years and loves writing about everything landscape-related. Whether it’s keeping care of sod or the greenhouse, she’s been there and done it all. Currently, she’s enjoying her time working at SodLawn as their Content Manager.