Whether you own a home or manage your own property, you’re likely aware of the ongoing costs of grass care. In 2020 alone, we spent $105 billion keeping our lawns green, a figure that’s bad for both our wallets and the environment.
Fortunately, there are modern alternatives to keeping your sprinklers running: pick a synthetic grass instead! Options like turf and artificial grass are great ways to mimic the look of natural grass without the price tag or upkeep.
Wondering which one to choose? When it comes to artificial grass vs turf, there are plenty of ways to get the verdant look you want for your space. Here’s a quick rundown of these two options and their similarities and differences.
What Is Artificial Grass?
Before we get started, let’s dig into a quick artificial grass guide to help you understand this product.
As you might expect from the name, artificial grass is designed to look and feel similar to its more organic counterpart. It tends to be longer and softer than synthetic turf as well. It also has a soft, cushion-like feel when you walk across it.
To create a natural look, this product comes with a few different layers, though they may differ between artificial grass producers and installers.
In general, the cushioned base uses rubber, recycled plastic, or polyester foam compounds, all of which can help balls to bounce more naturally across the surface. Polyester tie cord holds the thatch layer in place, adding support and softness.
Last are the nylon or polyethylene grass blades, which look and feel like grass fibers. Often, these grass blades have durable spines that help them stand tall even with repeated wear and tear from foot traffic. They also come treated with UV-resistant sprays to keep their lush green color from fading.
What Is Turf?
Next up, let’s run through a quick turf guide to bring you up to speed on what to expect from this type of artificial ground.
Where artificial grass looks and feels soft, artificial turf is meant to be durable and tough. Perfect for areas with high traffic—like sports arenas, golf courses, and playgrounds—turf can withstand a huge volume of foot traffic.
Don’t be fooled by its toughness: synthetic turf is green and natural-looking at a glance, though it tends to be shorter than artificial grass. In terms of texture, turf offers a stiffer surface with less cushioning overall and a more abrasive feel.
Like artificial grass, turf is often made of a polyethylene blend, though it also uses silica sand and rubber granules to increase durability.
Artificial Grass vs. Turf: Similarities
If you’re wondering which of these two options to spring for, it pays to know that there are a few things both have in common.
When compared to natural grass, both artificial grass and turf involve almost no maintenance or water waste for the upkeep. This varies based on what you use the space for, of course: dog-friendly parks might need to hose down the area more often than a home lawn, though rainfall can help keep the area clean.
In addition, there’s no need to worry about brown grass or replacing expensive sod over time. With no natural plants to speak of, they’re allergy-friendly for anyone spending time in the area.
Though early generations of turf and artificial grass had harmful chemicals, modern options from reputable sources come without these harmful residues.
Artificial Grass vs. Turf: Differences
Now that we’ve covered what to expect from both of these products, what sets them apart? Your choice will depend on the applications you have in mind for your space.
The cost of installing a turf or artificial grass lawn will vary based on the materials used in the product, the quality of the labor, and the size of the area to be covered. As mentioned above, you can expect to save on maintenance and watering costs regardless of which option you choose.
The pricing for artificial grass and turf are often similar, though you can expect to pay slightly less for synthetic turf. In general, the materials used in the grass will drive the pricing, with more durable materials like nylon raising the price tag.
In general, expect to spend anywhere from $6 to $13 per square foot for an installation of either product.
Though both artificial grass and turf need far less maintenance than natural grass, there’s one main difference between them. In between rinsings of artificial grass, many property owners choose to groom their grass using a broom to keep flat blades standing upright. Turf, which is shorter, won’t need this special treatment.
As mentioned above, both turf and artificial grass mimic the look of natural grass, but it’s clear that artificial grass does a better job of it. This option even comes in more colors than turf, allowing you to match the exact shade to your preferences.
If a realistic-looking lawn is key to the appearance of your space, choosing artificial grass will always be the better option. If realism isn’t as crucial, turf can often be a less expensive choice.
While both products are durable, even the softer materials of artificial grass, turf tends to be the better option for areas with high foot traffic. Its stiff strands won’t degrade as fast with wear and tear.
Artificial grass is the clear winner when it comes to cushioning. Though turf offers some light cushioning, it’s also more abrasive, meaning that a bad fall across the area is more likely to sting than a fall on artificial grass.
Create the Green Space of Your Dreams
Even if you’re ready to move away from the cost and upkeep of natural grass, you don’t have to miss out on a verdant green space for your home or property! Choosing between artificial grass vs turf can be a great way to create a lush, cushioned lawn that’s perfect for anything you have in mind.
As you work to improve the outdoor spaces of your home or real estate, don’t hesitate to check out our other posts.