From the Football Field to your Front Lawn
Part of the quintessential American dream seems to always include an expansive green lawn where our kids and pets can play out in the sunshine and fresh air. It sounds idyllic, but as homeowners quickly realize, maintenance of a lawn can be costly, time-consuming and even frustrating. While outsourcing the lawn maintenance is sometimes an option, many homeowners prefer to do it themselves to avoid the extra expense. With the inherent costs of watering and fertilizing, (especially in drought-prone areas of the country), that dream lawn ends up draining our house maintenance budget and a lot of our precious free time.
Not just AstroTurf anymore.
While artificial turf has been used in commercial and institutional athletic spaces for decades, you might have noticed that its use in residential spaces is becoming more common. As a viable option for homeowners who seek low-maintenance, artificial turf is an always-green lawn. What has changed to make it more appealing for residential use, and not just for athletic arenas?
One change is price. Prices for artificial turf have come down while the quality has gone up. Especially for residential artificial grass, prices have become more reasonable — some quotes are as low as $2.50 per square foot for DIYers. The professional installation of synthetic grass will have a higher upfront cost but according to Jay Johnston, owner of Synlawn Georgia, investing in a professional installation is well worth the extra investment. "With every new customer, we come to the property to assess their lawn and help them choose the best product for their site, based on its location, size, usage and amount of shade. Then there’s a four-step preparation process that can be labor intensive for a DIYer. Having a professional installation from a company like Synlawn ensures the job is going to be done right the first time, and the lawn is going to look great for a long time."
But does it look real?
Ready to stop mowing forever?
Does it make sense for my lawn?
How will it affect the environment?
While the use of artificial turf does conserve on costs of irrigation and maintenance (saving precious water resources and cutting down on noise and air pollution from mowers and weed-eaters), the synthetic material becomes an inorganic barrier between the soil underneath and the air above. That means birds like robins cannot access potential food like insects and worms that live in the soil. And let’s not forget what we learned about photosynthesis in ninth-grade biology: live plants like grasses pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere where it converts it into two gases; releasing oxygen into the air and carbon that becomes part of the plant and enriches the soil. It’s worth noting that in the areas where artificial turf is laid, that life cycle is not happening. Areas where synthetic grass is laid can take years of soil remediation to "bring it back to life." So if you’re the type who likes to renovate and change things up every few years, artificial turf might not be a worthy investment. That said, if the idea of a virtually maintenance-free, eternally green lawn sounds appealing to you, perhaps it’s time to consider "going artificial."