Artificial Grass and Grass FAQ
An IBISWorld industry report projects that Americans will spend $2.7 billion on artificial grass, an uptick of 1.9% since 2020 but below the highs of nearly $3 billion in 2018 and 2019. While the COVID-19 pandemic has interfered with demand for new grass installations, just as it has reduced demand for goods in many other industries, the market for artificial grass is likely to rebound as the economy recovers.
Artificial grass is made from plastic polymers. The choice of material influences how realistic the grass looks, how durable it is, how thick it is, and how much it costs. The most common materials are nylon, polyethylene, and polypropylene. Each has its advantages and limitations, which can make one more suitable than the others for any particular project.
Nylon has been used to make consumer goods since the 1930s. Nylon grass is durable and long-lasting, but its stiffness makes it feel different from natural grass. It is the most expensive of the three main options but also the most durable. The Houston Astros professional baseball team chose nylon to create the iconic AstroTurf in the Houston Astrodome.
Polyethylene has been in production since World War II, when it was used to make insulation for radar equipment. Since then, it has become one of the world’s most common plastics, used for everything from plastic bottles to piping and medical equipment. Polyethylene is a popular material for artificial grass because of its durability and its natural feel and appearance.
Polypropylene, like polyethylene, has been a commercially available plastic since the 1950s and is used to make bottles, furniture, and other molded shapes. Polypropylene is less expensive but is thinner and likely to wear out faster.
Artificial grass might feel a little different from natural grass to the fingertips, just as an artificial holiday wreath feels a little different from a natural one. However, polyethylene and polypropylene grass feel like natural grass. Nylon grass tends to be a bit stiffer.
The answer to this question is complicated. Artificial grass can save water compared to a lawn that needs watering. However, since it is not a living plant, it does not perform photosynthesis or contribute to the water cycle. Artificial grass will wear out eventually, which will add to your local landfill. When considering the environmental impact of artificial grass, consider the local climate.
Although artificial grass is not generally recyclable at this time, there are ways to repurpose used artificial grass materials as decorations, rugs, coasters, and more. The utility of some of these repurposing options depends on how much you want an indoor décor that looks like grass.
Installation time depends on the size of the lawn, whether or not the lawn needs to be leveled, and whether any drainage issues need fixing. In general, the installation should take no more than a few days, and in some cases, the installation could take as little as one day.
Artificial grass is easy to maintain compared to natural grass, but it still needs some care to keep it looking its best:
- Clean any stained areas with soapy water.
- Brush leaves and other debris off of the lawn.
- Replace sections of grass that are damaged.
A leaf blower or professional turf brush is a good alternative to a broom for keeping your artificial grass tidy.
Artificial grass is safe for pets and children. The plastics found in artificial grass are found in many consumer products. Advocacy groups have raised concerns about the safety of polyethylene, but polypropylene is generally safe.
Artificial grass can be safer than natural grass to the extent that it is more even and less likely to cause injuries from falls or twisted ankles.
Pet urine will drain through artificial grass as it does with natural grass, so pets can use the lawn in the same way as a natural lawn.
Individual potential buyers will inevitably have their preferences for natural or artificial grass. However, artificial grass looks attractive and neat, which is likely to make a good first impression at showings. Artificial grass has many advantages over natural grass that can be part of your pitch to prospective buyers. This leads naturally to our next question on the list.
When professional artificial grass technicians install your grass, they will check for water lines, gas lines, or anything else that could be disrupted by the installation process. They will then remove the natural grass and the top-most layer of soil. To make a clear boundary between the lawn and the sidewalk, driveway, and other surrounding areas, they will add an edge restraint or bender board at the grass boundary. They might also add a barrier layer above the soil to prevent weeds from poking up through the grass.
On top of the soil, they will add a few inches of sub-base material, which is essentially sand and gravel, to provide stability to the artificial grass layer. The sub-base needs to be compacted before the grass can rest on top of it.
The next step is rolling out the grass and nailing it into place. If the grass has seams, they must line up so that they are not visible when installation is done. A technician will nail the grass into place and trim the edges to match the border.
It is possible to install artificial grass as a do-it-yourself project. However, the installation process can be complicated and requires careful planning to ensure that the result is attractive, long-lasting, and functional.
Keep in mind that every artificial grass project is different, and you’ll need to make many choices such as grass and sub-base materials along the way. Anyone thinking of installing artificial grass themselves should have enough experience with the equipment and materials to know what is likely to work best for each specific situation.
The installer should have experience with drainage and must understand how water naturally drains in the area where the installation will take place. Inadequate drainage or mistakes in installation can lead to water pooling and other drainage problems.
It is important to create a level, smooth surface for yards and other areas where people will be walking. Artificial grass is safe and convenient, but installation problems could produce bumps, gaps, or other safety hazards.
For homeowners who are not highly experienced with lawn projects, particularly projects that involve drainage, it is better to have a professional install the grass. If flaws become apparent later, redoing an installation could be costly.
The Austin Turf Company provides professional installation of high-quality artificial grass for a variety of home and commercial applications. Whether you’re creating a low-maintenance backyard, a putting green, or a welcoming entrance to a hotel or office park, we will find the perfect solution for you.
We provide top-quality materials to experienced do-it-yourselfers and offer whatever level of guidance you need if you want to tackle the installation yourself. We’ll do what it takes to make sure that your project is a success.