Artificial grass has witnessed a remarkable rise in popularity in recent years. As homeowners and businesses seek low-maintenance and environmentally friendly landscaping solutions, synthetic turf has emerged as an attractive option. According to recent industry reports, the artificial grass market (estimated at USD $76.6 billion in 2022) is projected to reach $114.3 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 6.5% from 2023 to 2028. This data reflects the increasing demand for artificial grass, which has grown significantly due to its myriad advantages. From reduced maintenance to water conservation and year-round greenery, it has become a preferred ground cover for many.
But, with various options available in the market, selecting the perfect artificial grass for your specific needs is crucial. Whether you plan on a DIY installation or working with a professional turf installer, choosing the right artificial grass for your space is essential. In this comprehensive buyer’s guide, we will delve into the intricate details of choosing the best artificial grass for your space. With the right knowledge and considerations, you can transform your outdoor area into a lush, green oasis that requires minimal upkeep.
Assessing Your Needs & The Importance of Choosing the Right Artificial Grass
Before you embark on your artificial grass journey, it’s essential to assess your unique requirements. Whether you’re looking to create a picturesque lawn, a pet-friendly play area, or an inviting commercial space, choosing the right turf is paramount to achieving your desired results.
In this buyer’s guide, we will break down the complex world of artificial grass. We’ll explore key terminology and factors to consider and provide practical tips for selecting the best synthetic turf. By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge needed to make an informed decision and enjoy the benefits of artificial grass tailored to your space.
Understanding Artificial Grass
To choose the best artificial grass, it’s crucial to have a solid understanding of its components and characteristics. Let’s start by defining what artificial grass is and then delve into important turf terminology.
What is Artificial Grass?
Artificial grass is a man-made surface of synthetic fibers designed to replicate the look and feel of natural grass. It’s also commonly referred to as turf, synthetic turf, artificial turf, fake grass, faux turf, manufactured grass, synthetic lawn, and astroturf to name a few. This novel ground cover offers consumers a lush, green, aesthetically pleasing lawn without the need for constant mowing, watering, or fertilizing. First introduced in 1965 in the Houston Astrodome, the first generation of artificial grass looked more like a cheap plastic rug. Since then advancements in the materials, manufacturing technology, and processes have transformed the industry.
Modern artificial grass, also known as “Third Generation” turf is pretty much indistinguishable from natural grass. The true-to-life look at feel of synthetic grass has led to rapid industry expansion and consumer adoption. That said, not all artificial grass is created equal, nor is every turf product universally applicable to every residential and commercial application.
Manufacturers of synthetic grass incorporate specific features, materials, and enhancements to suit specific applications. There is no one-size-fits-all turf product that will perform equally well in any environment. The “Best Artificial Grass” is impossible to identify because it’s situationally dependent. So, instead of pointing to a single turf product and saying “This is the best,” we prefer to help you understand the features and components of artificial grass and their relevance and importance to different applications.
Important Turf Terminology
In order for this post to make sense and not sound like a bunch of technical artificial turf jargon, it’s important to identify and define certain terms. There is a lot of terminology specific to artificial grass and familiarizing yourself with it now will help significantly when researching turf products. Understanding artificial grass terminology will help you interpret product specifications and find the best artificial grass for your project.
By taking the time to learn and understand these elements, you’ll be speaking the same language as your artificial turf supplier or installer. You’ll be able to hold up spec sheets for two different turf products and know exactly what everything means, better equipping you to compare and contrast the features. Below, we’ll provide an overview of the specific terminology you’ll encounter on product spec sheets to ensure that you know exactly what certain features are and why they’re important.
Yarn refers to the individual strands that make up the grass blades or turf fibers. The yarn is manufactured by melting down pellets of plastics like polypropylene, polyethylene, or nylon. Once melted, the yarn is extruded and placed on spools.
The process of extruding plastics is kind of like squeezing play-dough through different shapes. This enables manufacturers to create fibers in a variety of colors, thicknesses, and shapes. Each blade shape serves a different purpose and determines how the turf will perform in different situations. Variations in the fibers mimic natural grass and enhance the functionality of synthetic grass. Below is a brief overview of the materials used to create the yarn or fibers on artificial grass.
The least expensive of the three materials, polypropylene doesn’t make for very durable turf products. Polypropylene is the thinnest and the softest of the three materials, although it does have a relatively high melting point of 320° to 331° F. Being soft and flexible doesn’t make for the best turf fibers, however, it does work well to create the “Thatch” layer found on most turf products.
Polyethylene is an extremely popular choice for yarn material because of its amazing versatility. Not only does it offer the perfect balance between durability, softness, and aesthetics, but it also gives you very realistic-looking synthetic grass. The melting point for average low-density polyethylene is typically 221° to 239°F.
Highly resistant to water absorption, polyethylene won’t hold on to unpleasant pet odors. So, if you have furry friends at home and you’re worried about any unwanted smells, this is definitely the material for you to choose! Softer than nylon, yet more durable than polypropylene, it’s the perfect middle ground that suits a wide range of applications.
Nylon, the priciest and toughest yarn material out there, boasts a remarkable set of qualities. Its unrivaled strength, resilience, and ability to withstand heat make it a top choice. The meltin point of nylon varies by grade, but the most commonly used grade, “Nylon 6” has a melting temperature of 428°F. This makes it well-suited for high-traffic areas or sports that don’t involve tackling and sliding. Whether you’re looking to enhance the aesthetics of your rooftop deck or create a backyard putting green, nylon artificial grass is an excellent choice for both commercial and residential applications.
Thatch is a layer of fibers that sit between the grass blades and the backing of your artificial lawn. It’s like adding a touch of nature’s imperfections to make your turf even more lifelike. When it comes to thatch, it’s all about the details. This additional fiber adds variation in color, weight, and texture, perfectly mimicking the natural inconsistencies of real grass. You’ll find short, curly fibers in various shades of green and brown incorporated into the thatch, emulating the dying under-layer of grass beneath the vibrant green growing one.
Thatch isn’t just about appearances, though. It also has an important role in the density of your turf. You see, thatch is included in the face weight of the artificial grass product. Products without thatch tend to be more dense at the top of the pile, while those with thatch offer a more balanced density from top to bottom.
So, if you’re on the hunt for a synthetic grass that gives you the closest look and feel to the real thing, make sure it has thatch. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed!
The shape of the grass blades or fiber shapes varies quite a bit. The extrusion process is kind of like squeezing play-dough through different shapes. Synthetic grass blades are shaped in a similar process. Each blade shape serves a different purpose and determines how the turf will perform in different situations.
|Commonly found in landscape installationsSoft to the touch & durable
|“M” Shaped Fiber
High foot traffic areas
Ideal for playgrounds, sports fields, or landscapes
|Diamond De-Lustered Fiber
|Maintains a soft but sturdy feel
Ideal as a landscape grass for commercial and residential areas
|Flattened Oval With Spine Fiber
|Gives turf a realistic appearance
Creates a stronger blade core
|3D Curvy “W” Fiber
|Withstands pressure and helps the turf bounce back to its original state
Multiple support points allow for greater durability and a “memory” effect
|Shaped like the letter ‘V’
Creates a durable and strong feel
|Durable & strong
Popular on pet turf products
Works best with short pile height
|“W” Shaped Fiber
|DurableHigh foot traffic areas
Ideal for playgrounds, sports fields or landscapes
|“C” Shaped Fiber
|Natural look & soft to the touch
Most commonly found on residential and commercial property landscapes
|“U” Shaped Fiber
|Shape creates depth
Deflects light & heat, helping to cool turf
|“S” Blade Fiber
|Natural look & soft to the touch
Works best with light to medium foot traffic
|Durable, strong & highly resilient
Enhanced recovery & durability
Ideal for residential & commercial landscapes
Works best with moderate to heavy foot traffic
|Diamond Delustered & Mini Ultra Fibers
|Durable, strong & highly resilient
Withstands high foot traffic
Ideal for commercial applications
|3D Curvy “W” & Curvy Ribbed “C” Fibers
|Durable, strong & very resilient
Fiber shapes increase durability
Multiple support points create a “Memory” effect for better bounce back after footsteps
The density of a turf product refers to the number of yarn fibers or blades per square inch. Similar to the thread count on sheets, it is also referred to as “stitch count.” In general, the higher the density, the higher the quality of the artificial grass. Turf products with a high density are more durable and once installed offer a much more realistic artificial grass lawn.
The pile height of a turf product is the length of the grass blades measured from the backing to the end of the longest turf fibers. In the US, pile height is generally measured in inches. Pile height is one of many factors that you’ll want to consider when selecting the right artificial grass for your project.
Short Pile Height (0.5” to 1.5”): For high-traffic areas like commercial spaces, dog runs, putting greens, etc. a shorter pile height is ideal. Shorter fibers are less prone to matting and are more resilient to heavy foot traffic and constant use.
Tall Pile Height (1.5” to 3”+): For spaces where aesthetics are important, a taller pile height is best. In a front yard for example, it provides a true-to-life aesthetic that’s indistinguishable from a natural grass lawn.
The weight of the turf fibers and thatch (if present) per square yard, is expressed as ounces per square yard. Face weight is only a measurement of the turf fibers and does not include the backing. Some turf companies, in order to make their products seem more dense may provide a “Total Weight” (Face Weight + Backing Weight). Don’t be afraid to ask for clarity regarding this metric.
The face weight doesn’t dictate product quality but provides a baseline to understand a turf product’s overall density. Most turf products will have a face weight ranging from around 40 oz. to 90+ oz. per square yard.
The material beneath the turf blades, providing strength and stability is the backing, which has two parts: primary backing and secondary backing. Both the primary and secondary backings work together to provide dimensional stability to the entire system.
The primary backing is typically comprised of woven polypropylene fabrics that allow the artificial grass fibers to be tufted into the material in rows. In other words, it’s the durable material that the grass blades/fibers are stitched to. Most artificial grass uses two layers of 13-pic Polybac primary backing. However, some use a layer of 18-pic Polybac instead of one of the 13-pic layers. Additionally, some turf will use a mesh or “stability layer” of material in between the layers of Polybac for added tuft bind or to help the blades stand up better. Typically, the more layers, the better, so a triple or quad-layer backing will offer more stability than a backing with two layers.
Secondary Backing (a.k.a. Coating)
The secondary backing is often referred to as the ‘coating’ on the back of the turf. This coating gives synthetic turf its all-weather durability and most of its tuft bind. Without the secondary backing, most synthetic turf would not last very long under normal usage.
Commonly comprised of either latex or polyurethane. The coating is applied to the reverse side of the primary backing in order to permanently lock the tufted fibers in place. In the US most artificial turf is coated with polyurethane. In Europe and Asia, latex coating is more popular. The polyurethane coating is a little stronger and more durable. The latex coating is a little more environmentally friendly. The more ounces of secondary coating, the better. Standard is 20 ounces per square yard, although some turf will have 26 ounces for more tuft bind and durability.
The backing weight is the combined weight of the Primary and Secondary backings in ounces per square yard. On average, a turf has about 6-8 ounces of Primary backing and approximately 20 ounces of Secondary backing, adding up to 26-28 ounces per square yard. So, if someone tries to sell you a turf with only 14 ounces of total backing weight, it should raise a red flag! Keep in mind that a lower amount of Secondary backing, like 8 ounces instead of the average 20 ounces, means less durability and tuft bind for most applications.
Any artificial grass used outdoors will need to allow water to pass through the turf in order to drain into the sub-base and soil beneath. There are a few exceptions to this like on backyard putting greens and specialty applications. It’s essential that water and pet urine are able to pass through the turf and into the base below. That means that liquids will need to pass through the turf’s backing. There are two types of turf backings or turf drainage systems: fully permeable and hole-punched.
Hole-punched backing is the most common type of backing found on turf products. Having been around for decades, this is a tried and true turf drainage system. The turf backing consists of small holes punched into the turf’s backing every 4” to 6”. Water makes its way to the holes and passes through the turf and into the base below. This type of backing is not recommended for pet applications because the urine can pool in the areas between the holes, which can cause a buildup of odor and bacteria.
A fully permeable backing is just what it sounds like, a backing that allows water and pet urine to pass through any point in the turf. Fully permeable backings are most commonly found on pet turf products, but they’re also a good choice for areas that receive a lot of rain or are prone to flooding or pooling water.
This is the total weight of the Face Weight and Backing Weight measurements. Some companies may attempt to deceive customers by promoting an “84-ounce product” while making it seem superior to a competitor’s 64-ounce product. However, it’s important to note that the first company is referring to the total weight, while the latter’s 64 ounces represents the Face Weight. When considering that the 64-ounce product actually has a total weight of 90 ounces, a clearer comparison emerges. So, it’s always wise to inquire about the face weight, backing weight, and total weight from a sales representative to ensure an apples-to-apples comparison.
When it comes to synthetic turf, there are two commonly used widths: 15 feet and 12.5 feet. In general, turf made in the US tends to be 15 feet wide, while foreign-made turf is usually 12.5 feet wide. Sometimes, opting for a 15-foot wide roll can make installation a breeze and minimize waste. On the other hand, if you want to be mindful of dimensions and minimize waste, the 12.5-foot wide roll might be the smarter choice.
When selecting a vendor for your turf, it’s always a good idea to ask for a cutting and seaming diagram based on your measurements and the area you want to cover with artificial grass. A trusted synthetic turf vendor will be happy to provide this valuable service and help you make the best decision for your specific project.
Did you know that synthetic grass can come in a wide array of colors, just like natural grass? High-quality artificial grass is designed with multiple colors to mimic the look of real grass. You’ll find options like lime or field greens, olive, emerald green, beige, bi-color green, and many more shades that perfectly replicate the texture and variety of natural grass. When selecting artificial grass, it’s always a good idea to choose a color that closely matches the natural grass species in your area. By incorporating different colors into the fibers and thatch, artificial grass creates a stunningly realistic appearance that will enhance the beauty of any space.
Sub-Base / Base Material
A solid sub-base is the foundation for optimal drainage and stability. Don’t fall for the misconception that you can just lay the turf over dirt or an existing natural grass lawn – that’s a recipe for disaster!
A durable, stable, well-compacted, and permeable base is crucial for the performance, aesthetics, functionality, and durability of your synthetic grass. Two popular options for sub-base materials are Class II Road Base and Decomposed Granite (DG), both of which compact well and remain permeable. If you’re on a budget, Crushed Miscellaneous Base (CMB) and Crushed Aggregate Base are worth considering.
To ensure a solid foundation with good drainage, we recommend a compacted base material that’s about 3″ to 4″ thick. This will give you a solid foundation and help with drainage. Of course, the amount of base you need depends on your specific turf application and property characteristics.
So remember, a proper sub-base is crucial for a long-lasting and beautiful artificial grass installation. Don’t cut corners on this one!
One of the most important components of most artificial turf installations is the infill material. While there are a variety of materials used as infill, they basically all resemble sand. The infill material is added to turf using a drop spreader to distribute it evenly over the surface. To get the infill to settle against the backing and fill the spaces between turf fibers, it’s agitated with a power broom. provide stability, cushioning, and support.
Once applied, the infill acts as ballast, keeping the turf in place and preventing it from shifting. It also surrounds the base of each individual turf fiber, helping to keep it upright and prevent matting. If you took a drinking glass and stuck a few straws in it, the straws would just lean against the upper rim of the glass. Fill the glass about ⅔ with sand and the straws will remain standing. That’s what infill does for turf fibers, just on a bigger scale.
Infill also creates a more realistic feel to the turf when you walk on it, mimicking the cushion of a natural grass lawn. It helps to protect the backing of artificial grass from the sun’s damaging UV rays, preventing premature product degradation.
As the turf industry has grown, the number of infill options has increased significantly. Some brands offer infill products tailored to specific applications like pets, golf, sports, playgrounds, etc. Below we’ll provide a brief overview of the infill options you’re likely to encounter while speaking with an artificial turf installer or supplier.
Silica Sand Infill
Silica sand is derived of quartz that has been eroded by wind and water. As the quartz erodes, it breaks down into small granules. This material is used in several commercial applications, including artificial grass infill. Silica sand infill is ideal for areas that don’t get a lot of traffic, such as hills, thick turfs, balconies, commercial spaces, or open fields that aren’t used a lot.
T°Cool® Infill is a newer type of artificial grass infill that cools artificial grass through a process of evaporative cooling. This is the best infill for pet-friendly turf applications as it keeps the turf cooler by as much as 30° – 50° F.
Envirofill infill is a silica sand-based infill that’s coated with green acrylic that provides antimicrobial properties to help prevent the buildup of odors and bacteria caused by pet urine. It’s basically the same thing as T°Cool® Infill but without the cooling feature.
HydroChill is a precoat that is applied to the sand infill. It is activated by adding moisture and can provide significant cooling for days, depending upon local conditions. As the synthetic lawn surface is heated by the sun, moisture stored in HydroChill is released slowly through evaporative cooling.
Putting Green Infill
This is also technically sand and comes as a finer mesh version of Durafill. It helps putts roll smoother and faster and has a blend of green and black Durafill, making the artificial turf appear greener. It is used for various applications and is one of the best all-around solutions.
ZeoFill is an organic infill made from volcanic ash minerals, considered the best for eliminating pet waste smells. Plus, it’s an absorbent surface that helps protect your turf from water damage. For this material, you should use a heavier infill, such as sand, as your base infill and then add a secondary layer of Zeolite on top.
Common Turf Applications
Artificial grass is versatile and can be used in various applications, including residential lawns, commercial landscapes, and recreational areas. Understanding these common applications will help you determine how to choose the best artificial grass for your specific project.
- Lawns & Landscapes
- Dogs & Pets
- Outdoor Living Spaces (Rooftops, Patios, Decks, Balconies, Pool Surrounds, Etc.)
- Golf & Backyard Putting Greens
- Playgrounds & Children’s Play Areas
How To Choose The Best Artificial Grass for Your Space
Now that you have a basic understanding of artificial grass and its terminology, let’s dive into the exciting process of selecting the perfect synthetic turf for your specific needs! We understand that shopping for artificial grass for the first time can feel a bit overwhelming, but fret not! We are here to guide you through it.
When it comes to artificial turf installation, the first step is to identify the purpose of the turf. Are you looking for a soft and safe playground surface, a pet-friendly dog run, a putting green, a lush front yard, or something else entirely? Once you have determined where the turf will be installed, we can explain how to choose the best artificial grass for your space. Let’s get started on this exciting journey!
Before making any decisions, embark on thorough research. This guide is a good starting point as it will help you understand the different elements of an artificial grass installation. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll learn about what makes a good artificial grass product and what to avoid. As we’ve established, artificial grass is not a one-size-fits-all type of product, nor is all artificial grass created equal. To help you hone in on the best artificial grass for your needs, we’ve outlined some questions below that you should strive to answer before committing to an artificial grass or a turf installer.
- Will your turf receive a lot of foot traffic?
- Are dogs or pets going to use the space?
- Will kids be using the space?
- Is the space in the sun or shade?
- How much rain does your area get?
- Is it prone to puddles or standing water?
Answering these questions will help you to identify the most important features to look for in a turf product. We also recommend looking into the different brands of artificial grass to make sure it’s coming from a reputable manufacturer. Don’t be afraid to ask turf installers or suppliers for specific information on the artificial grass products they offer. If you encounter someone unwilling to provide additional product info, find someone that will.
2. Order Samples
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, order samples of different artificial grass products. Most artificial grass suppliers will be happy to send you samples of whichever types of turf you want to try if you request them. Doing your online research is essential, but don’t buy artificial grass before you can feel it for yourself. By getting samples, you can examine the color, density, pile height, face weight, and overall quality before making a big purchase.
Seeing and feeling the turf in person will give you a better sense of its texture, color, and overall quality. It’s an essential step in ensuring that you choose the right product for your space. If you’ve checked out samples and settled on an artificial grass product, hold on to that sample. When installation day arrives, you’ll have the sample to compare to the artificial grass being delivered to your property. The colors may not be an exact match due to differences in die lots, but it should be close enough that you can easily confirm matching products.
3. Compare Features
Compare the features of the artificial grass products you’re considering. Pay close attention to factors such as pile height, density, face weight, and backing material. These characteristics directly impact the turf’s appearance, durability, and performance.
We spent a good amount of time at the beginning of this guide to outline the most important terminology and explain how and why each element impacts the quality and durability of artificial grass. By taking the time to learn and understand those elements, you’ll be speaking the same language as your artificial turf supplier or installer. You’ll be able to hold up spec sheets for two different turf products and know exactly what everything means, better enabling you to compare and contrast the features.
Here are a few specifications you’ll find on each synthetic turf product:
- Thatch Color
- Blade Shape
- Pile Height
- Face Weight
- Backing Weight
- Total Weight
The importance of features depends on the turf application. Turf products with a backing that drains liquids efficiently and fibers with antimicrobial protection is more important for pet applications. Natural-looking and realistic artificial grass with the right colors, pile height, and density is more important in a front yard.
4. Budget & Financing
Determine your budget for the artificial grass project. Artificial grass costs vary based on the product’s quality and the complexity of the installation. For the most part, a professional artificial grass installation isn’t cheap. Consider financing options if needed, and be sure to factor in long-term savings on maintenance and water costs. Besides the artificial grass itself, there are a number of other costs that should be considered when calculating your budget like:
- Site Preparation
- Sub-Base Material
- Infill Material
- Dumping & Removal Fees
- Installation Extras (Edging, Drainage Membrane, Etc)
The average cost of a professional artificial turf installation ranges from $6 to $18 per square foot. Typically, artificial turf pays for itself in just three to five years. There are also financial benefits to installing synthetic turf, such as less hassle for mowing/weeding/fertilizing, increased home value, and boosted curb appeal. And if you need help financing your artificial grass investment, many turf companies offer flexible options for homeowners like you.
5. Work With a Reputable Turf Installer
Selecting the best artificial grass for your space is a great first step, but now the turf needs to be properly installed. The rapid growth of the artificial grass industry in recent years has led to some less than reputable people entering the turf industry. Even with the best artificial grass, an installer that doesn’t know what they’re doing can result in a disastrous installation.
Before committing to working with a company, investigate their product offerings, customer reviews, certifications, and warranty. Also, look into their compliance record with the Better Business Bureau and local consumer affairs office. Visit some of their installations, particularly those that are several years old. Be sure to understand how customer questions, service issues, and warranty claims will be handled. Do business with companies that you believe are most likely to be in business to respond to a warranty claim throughout the warranty period.
Ask questions about the turf company’s products and installation processes. A reputable and trustworthy turf company should be happy to provide you with all the information you want. Be skeptical of installers that provide quotes that are significantly lower than other quotes you’ve received. They are likely skimping on materials to provide a lower quote. If the price you’re quoted sounds too good to be true… it probably is.
What Features & Characteristics Should You Look For?
When it comes to selecting the perfect artificial grass, there are a few key factors to consider. Keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution! The ideal turf will vary based on where you want to install it and its primary purpose.
For instance, the “best” artificial grass for dogs will be quite different from what you’d want for your front yard lawn. The front yard requires a turf that’s visually appealing and handles less foot and paw traffic. On the flip side, the “best” artificial grass for dogs should be robust, have efficient drainage, and a shorter pile height for easier waste removal.
These are just a couple of examples to illustrate the diversity of options. Now, let’s delve into the most vital characteristics of artificial grass. By understanding what to look out for, you’ll be well-equipped to find the perfect fit for your outdoor space.
1. Durability (Withstands Heavy Foot Traffic)
Investing in artificial grass is a smart choice to enhance your landscape, and you’ll want it to stand the test of time. When selecting a product, prioritize durability, longevity, and proven performance. Consider factors like strong backing, high-quality yarn, and excellent resistance to wear and tear. Typically, a higher density is indicative of a higher-quality product. With proper turf maintenance, an artificial grass lawn can easily last 15 to 25+ years, providing a reliable and cost-effective landscaping solution.
If your space is a bustling backyard or a commercial area with heavy foot traffic, you’ll want to choose artificial grass that can withstand the wear and tear. Look for high-density turf with a high face weight, and robust backing materials to ensure it can handle the load.
One of the most crucial features to consider is resilient and springy turf fibers that resist matting and lying flat. These fibers should slowly return to an upright position when walked upon. The durability of a turf product is greatly influenced by the fiber material, blade shape, and density. While you may invest a bit more for added durability, remember that artificial grass is a “buy it nice or buy it twice” kind of purchase. You don’t want to regret your decision a few years down the line when you realize that the cheaper turf you chose can’t withstand the foot traffic in your space.
2. Aesthetics (Lush & Full Appearance)
One of the primary advantages of choosing artificial turf is its irresistible lush and attractive appearance. To achieve that natural look, opt for products that offer a wide range of blade shapes, colors, and textures. With high blade density and varying blade shapes, your artificial grass will appear as lush and realistic as ever!
But it’s not just about looks. A full turf product not only enhances aesthetics but also provides exceptional comfort for walking. For that luxurious feel, pay attention to important factors such as pile height, thatch, infill, and density. All of these elements work together to create a lush and natural-looking artificial lawn that feels amazing to walk on.
Maintaining artificial grass is a breeze! Don’t worry, it’s extremely simple and straightforward. Just grab a stiff bristle broom and gently fluff the turf fibers in high-traffic areas. This helps prevent matting and keeps your lawn looking lush and full all year round. So go ahead and enjoy the benefits of a lush and low-maintenance artificial grass!
3. Efficient Drainage System
When it comes to finding the perfect artificial grass for your space, one crucial factor to consider is drainage. We all know how important it is for water and pet urine to pass through the turf and into the base below. That’s where the type of turf backing or drainage system comes into play. Let’s explore two types of turf backings or drainage systems: fully permeable and hole-punched.
Fully permeable backing is like a superhero that allows water and pet urine to permeate any point in the turf. It does exactly what it sounds like, allowing water and pet urine to pass through any point in the turf. You’ll usually find this type of backing on pet turf products. But they’re also excellent for areas that receive lots of rain or are prone to flooding or pooling water.
Hole-punched backing is a tried and true drainage system that’s been around for decades. The turf backing has carefully placed holes every few inches, allowing water to find its way and pass through the turf, reaching the base below. However, this type of backing isn’t recommended for pet applications. Dog urine can accumulate in the areas between the holes, leading to odor and bacteria buildup.
Remember, choosing the right drainage system is key to maintaining a clean and fresh artificial grass experience. So, make sure to keep this in mind when selecting your turf.
4. Antimicrobial Protection
In areas where pets or children play, consider artificial grass with antimicrobial protection. This feature helps inhibit the growth of bacteria, mold, mildew, and odors promoting a cleaner and safer environment. It also helps to extend the lifespan of turf products by preventing premature product degradation. Artificial grass with antimicrobial properties has gained popularity due to increased hygiene awareness.
This feature is especially popular in combatting the buildup of odors from dog urine. How antimicrobial protection is applied to artificial grass makes a significant difference in its efficacy. To ensure the antimicrobial protection lasts the lifetime of your turf product, make sure it’s incorporated into the product via additives that are melted down with the plastics during manufacturing. Antimicrobial coatings added to a finished artificial grass product will not last very long.
For lasting protection, additives are incorporated into the turf products during the manufacturing process. This infuses antimicrobial protection into the materials, making them a part of the physical makeup of the fibers or backing. Using this method, the antimicrobial properties become a part of the turf product and not a coating that will wear out over time. Antimicrobial protection can be incorporated into the turf fibers, the backing, or both. If dogs or kids will be playing on your artificial grass, it’s worth considering products offering this added protection.
5. UV Protection
As with any material, prolonged exposure to the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays can cause artificial grass to fade or degrade over time. This process is known as “Photooxidative Degradation” occurs when radiation from the sun collapses the chemical bonds within a polymer. Choose turf with built-in UV protection to ensure that your synthetic lawn maintains its color and integrity, even in sunny climates.
UV protection is incorporated into artificial grass by integrating UV-resistant additives during the manufacturing process, making them part of the molecular structure of the turf fibers. Making these additives part of the physical structure of turf fibers, ensures that they remain effective throughout the lifespan of the turf and do not wear away or wash off.
The UV stabilizer additives consist of the following:
Blockers: Deflect UV rays
Absorbers: Absorb UV radiation and convert it into heat. Effective against UV-B and UV-A radiation.
Stabilizers: Hindered Amine Light Stabilizers (HALS) or “Stabilizers” scavenge free radicals, interrupting the chain reactions that lead to polymer breakdown. Effective against UV-A radiation.
6. Good Warranty
A solid warranty is extremely important, especially for a big investment like artificial grass. Strong warranties are a sign of confidence in the product’s quality. Federal law requires that warranties be available for you to read before you make your purchase. The majority of turf manufacturers here in the U.S. offer warranties ranging from 8 to 15 years.
Keep in mind that while your artificial grass may stay put, it will be exposed to the elements day in and day out. The length of the warranty is a valuable indicator of the manufacturer’s expectations for the turf’s lifespan. Remember, synthetic grass isn’t designed to last forever, so be cautious of offers claiming a “Lifetime Warranty” as these are unlikely to be upheld by the manufacturer.
Read the Fine Print & Ask Questions
Take time to read the fine print and ask questions about the warranty. To fully understand your coverages, ask questions such as:
- Is it a third-party warranty? If so, why doesn’t the turf company offer their own warranty?
- What is considered normal wear and tear?
- Who is responsible for honoring the warranty?
- Are the materials and installation covered?
- What isn’t covered under the warranty?
- What do you do if something is wrong with the turf?
- What maintenance is required to be covered?
- How will I know when my synthetic turf has reached its end of life?
Warranties are a way to assure the customer that your investment will do its duty. As the purchaser, it’s your job to make sure you understand the warranty and how it works.
DIY vs. Professional Turf Installer
As established multiple times throughout this rather extensive guide, not all artificial grass is the same. Different manufacturers have their own standards of quality, which isn’t a bad thing! If you’ve spent some time researching artificial grass online, you’re probably familiar with the volume of contradictory and conflicting information that’s out there.
When it comes to installing artificial grass, the temptation to buy online and attempt a DIY installation can be alluring due to the potential cost savings. However, it’s essential to understand that buying online and DIY installing artificial turf is not as simple or straightforward as it sounds. Here are some crucial considerations when deciding between a DIY approach and hiring a professional artificial turf company:
|Proper Tools & Equipment
|Properly installing synthetic grass requires special tools and equipment that you might not have readily available. Professionals come equipped with the right gear, ensuring a smooth and efficient installation process. Attempting a DIY installation without the necessary tools can lead to frustration and subpar results.
|Landscaping Knowledge & Skills
|Installing artificial grass involves more than just rolling out the turf. It requires extensive landscaping knowledge and skills to prepare the sub-base, ensure proper drainage, and create a seamless finish. Professionals have the expertise to address these critical aspects, while DIYers may struggle to achieve the same level of precision.
|Longevity & Quality
|DIY artificial grass installations aren’t likely to last as long as a professional installation. The quality of the installation directly impacts the longevity of your synthetic turf. A professionally installed lawn will endure for years, providing a lasting and attractive outdoor space. In contrast, a poorly executed DIY project may require frequent repairs and replacements, costing you more in the long run.
|Risk of Mistakes
|DIY installations come with the risk of making mistakes that can be costly to rectify. If you mess up the installation, you may end up needing to hire a professional turf installer to fix your errors. This can ultimately cost you more than if you had chosen to work with a professional from the beginning.
|Buying turf online runs the risk of being sold Overruns, Closeouts, or Factory Seconds, as opposed to First-Quality Turf. Professional artificial turf companies typically offer high-quality products with guarantees, ensuring that you receive the best turf for your investment. They can also provide warranties on both the product and installation, giving you peace of mind.
While the idea of purchasing artificial grass online and attempting a DIY installation may seem like a cost-effective approach, it often comes with hidden challenges and risks. To ensure a successful, long-lasting installation, it’s highly recommended to work with a professional artificial turf company. Their expertise, proper equipment, and commitment to quality will ensure that your investment in artificial grass yields the best results for your space.
What is the Best Artificial Grass for Different Applications?
Not all artificial grass is created equal, and different applications require specific features. As we’ve hopefully established by now, there is no “best” artificial grass product. Each turf product is equipped with different features or made with materials that make it suited to different applications. To help you hone in on the best artificial grass for your project, we’ll provide recommendations for each of the most common artificial turf applications.
Landscape Turf (Lawns & Yards)
For many homeowners is a lush, green lawn is a source of pride. Most quickly discover how difficult, prohibitively expensive, and time-consuming maintaining natural grass is. Recognizing the futility in their efforts, more and more homeowners recognize the benefits of replacing natural grass with an artificial grass lawn. For residential lawns and yards, opt for turf with a realistic appearance, soft texture, and good drainage to create an inviting outdoor space.
Below are some guidelines for selecting the best artificial grass for landscaping needs:
- Long Pile Height (1.5″ – 2″)
- Hole-Punch Backing
If you see a lot of heavy rain in your area, you should look for turf products with a fully permeable backing to allow for maximum drainage. Explore the installation cost of synthetic grass with our artificial turf cost calculator.
Outdoor Living Spaces (Roofs, Decks & Patios)
For most people, artificial grass is just a replacement for natural grass, and installing it in places where natural grass doesn’t grow never even crosses their minds. An increasingly popular application is artificial grass roofs, decks, patios, and outdoor living spaces. Rooftops, decks and patios require turf that can withstand constant exposure to the elements. Drab and boring spaces can be transformed into lush, green, and inviting spaces.
Below are some guidelines for selecting the best artificial grass for outdoor living spaces like roofs, decks, and patios:
- W-Shaped Blades
- Hole-Punched Backing
- Drainage Tile (Facilitates drainage & circulates air)
- Moderate Pile Height (1.5″ to 1.75″)
Pet Turf (Dog Runs, Pet Areas & Fake Grass for Dogs)
Dogs are notoriously hard on grass. Trying to maintain a natural grass lawn with dogs is pretty much impossible. Artificial grass eliminates the dead patches of grass that are often seen at pet owners homes and also increases the safety and cleanliness of your pet. Backyards, boarding facilities, doggy daycares, veterinary offices, and dog parks have all started installing fake grass for dogs due to the many advantages it has over natural grass. Some choose to replace their entire lawn with fake grass, while others build a dog run or designated pet area with artificial grass.
Below are some guidelines for selecting the best artificial grass for dogs:
- Fully-Permeable Backing
- Antimicrobial Protection
- Shorter Pile Height (1″ – 1.25″)
- T°Cool Infill
Swimming Pools (Pool Decks, Pool Areas & Pool Surrounds)
An increasingly popular area to install artificial grass is around swimming pools. Artificial grass around swimming pools should provide a safe, slip-resistant surface and excellent drainage to prevent puddles. Faux grass makes a much better ground cover than concrete to have around your swimming pool. This is especially true if you have children, who you’re probably aware cannot resist running on the concrete surrounding the pool. Slips and falls are all too common, which is why synthetic grass has become the go-to ground cover for pool areas.
Below are some guidelines for selecting the best artificial grass for around swimming pools:
- Fully Permeable Backing
- Moderate Pile Height (1.25″ to 1.5″)
- Drainage Tile (Facilitates drainage & circulates air)
Golf (Backyard Putting Greens)
Choose artificial grass designed for golf applications, featuring a smooth, fast surface and realistic putting experience. Maintaining a natural grass putting green is notoriously difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Fortunately, artificial grass has progressed to the point that it’s indistinguishable from natural grass, making it perfect for backyard putting greens. Homeowners can enjoy working on their short game in the comfort of their backyard. No more driving to the nearest golf course, or paying fees to get a little practice in.
Below are some guidelines for selecting the best artificial grass for putting greens:
- Short Pile Height (0.5″ – 0.75”)
- Nylon Fibers
- UV Protection
Drainage isn’t a major concern with putting green turf, so some products may have a solid rubber backing. Explore the installation costs of a home golf green with our putting green cost calculator.
Playgrounds (Children’s Play Areas)
Playgrounds require turf that offers cushioning and safety, with efficient drainage to keep play areas dry. Just like dogs, kids and natural grass don’t really mix. A children’s play area with natural grass can quickly become a muddy disaster that kids inevitably track through the house. Artificial grass play areas and playgrounds offer a simple, safe, and long-lasting solution. Replacing the natural grass with artificial grass will eliminate the mud, dirt, and pests found in natural grass. It’s also a softer surface that will help to reduce injuries from falls.
Below are some guidelines for selecting the best artificial grass for playgrounds and play areas:
- Fully-Permeable Backing
- Antimicrobial Protection
- Long Pile Height (2″ – 2.5″+)
- Foam Padding (Optional)
Sports (Athletic Fields)
Sports arenas were what the original ‘Astroturf’ was invented for and it is still highly popular today. Artificial grass is engineered to meet the high demands of every sports team. It offers player protection, durability, resilience, and picturesque beauty. Much like the artificial turf used for golf courses, the grass used for sports and athletic fields is much more cost-effective than natural grass.
Below are some guidelines for selecting the best artificial grass for sports and athletic fields:
- Long Pile Height (1.5″ – 2.5”+)
- Nylon Fibers (Non-Contact Sports)
- Polyethylene Fibers (Contact Sports)
- UV Protection
Key Takeaways From How to Choose The Best Artificial Grass for Your Space
As we conclude this buyer’s guide, it’s essential to emphasize the significance of selecting the right artificial grass for your space. By understanding the terminology, features, and characteristics of synthetic turf, you can make an informed choice that enhances the aesthetics and functionality of your outdoor space. Whether you’re creating a lush lawn, a pet-friendly play area, or a relaxing rooftop retreat, the right artificial grass will transform your space into a beautiful, low-maintenance oasis.
Remember that choosing artificial grass is an investment in the long-term beauty and functionality of your space. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can make an informed decision and enjoy the benefits of synthetic turf tailored to your requirements.
If you’re interested in learning more about artificial grass, then you’ve come to the right place. The Turf Network is not only a directory of artificial turf companies in the U.S., but an artificial turf information hub. We’re proudly 100% independent and are not beholden to any artificial turf installer, turf supplier, or turf manufacturer. Our aim is to educate consumers about all things artificial grass. We want to empower you with the information needed to make the best and most informed decision for you, your family, and pets.
Now, let’s address some common questions that homeowners and businesses often have about artificial grass.
Is Artificial Grass Safe for Kids & Pets?
Yes! Most artificial grass on the market today is safe for both kids and pets. In fact, many manufacturers specifically design their products to be pet-friendly. Synthetic turf is made from non-toxic materials, and it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals or fertilizers, making it safer and healthier for children and furry friends. Plus, artificial grass eliminates the need for pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides, ensuring that your outdoor environment remains free from potentially dangerous chemicals. So, go ahead and enjoy a lush, green lawn without any worries!
Is Artificial Grass Eco-Friendly?
While the answer isn’t black and white, there are many reasons why artificial grass is better for the environment than traditional lawns. For instance, artificial grass requires no watering which helps conserve water resources, and it eliminates the need for toxic pesticides which are harmful to both the environment and humans. Additionally, it also reduces air pollution since there are no gas-powered lawnmowers or trimmers necessary to maintain it. In short, artificial grass is a good eco-friendly choice for those who want a lovely lawn without the harmful consequences of traditional grass.
How Long Does Artificial Grass Last?
Generally, high-quality artificial grass can last 15-25 years with proper maintenance. However, things like the amount of foot traffic and exposure to sunlight can affect its lifespan. To get the most out of your investment, it’s recommended to brush and clean your artificial grass regularly and avoid using harsh chemicals on it. With the right care, your artificial grass can provide a lush, low-maintenance lawn for many years to come.