To Turf or Not to Turf

//To Turf or Not to Turf

To Turf or Not to Turf

…that is the question.  Whether ’tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of grubs and mosquitoes and fertilizer and watering and mowing — or to take arms against this sea of troubles, and by doing so, end them.

And by that, of course, we mean to replace your lawn with low-maintenance artificial turf.  Is artificial turf the right choice for you?  Let’s see how the two choices perform when they go head-to-head in a turf war!

Sensory experience:

Let’s be honest: there’s something very attractive about a natural lawn done right.  The softness, the smell of fresh-cut grass, and the vibrant color are all huge selling points for natural grass.  Today’s artificial turf has come a long way, and gives every impression of being natural grass; but it still can’t replace the grass-smell or special sound of wind cutting through live plants.

The winner: Natural grass, by a landslide

Environmental impact:

While grass gives the impression of existing in a state of orderly but natural beauty, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  Grass requires a constant stream of natural resources to keep it looking as though it sprouted up so effortlessly: an inch of water a week, fertilizing in the spring and fall, and the gas required to run that mower to keep it looking well-tended.  While artificial turf requires resources for its initial creation and installation, afterwards watering, pesticides, fertilizers, and gasoline are not required for its upkeep.

In this light, growing and maintaining a natural lawn in an area with low rainfall or that is prone to drought or pests begins to look downright irresponsible.

It’s important to be aware of the chemicals used to create your artificial turf, however: older and repurposed artificial turf might contain lead or arsenic, and even some newer brands only provide lead-free turf if the customer specifically requests it.  Be aware of the quality and nature of the material you are purchasing!

The winner: Artificial turf, with caveats

Effort:

Natural grass requires frequent cutting, watering, pest control, and weed-pulling, whereas artificial turf requires initial installation and replacement every 10 years or so, depending on climate and degree of use, and occasional vacuuming or wetting-down if you want to ensure it looks tidy.  This is one of the best selling-points of artificial turf!

The winner: Artificial turf by a fair margin

Cost:

Here we have a bit of a debate.

Artificial turf has a higher cost initially than laying down fresh sod.  However, it requires less upkeep over time, and it can be argued that the costs more than balance out.  It all depends on how hard you are on your turf: if you plan on using artificial turf on a playing field, for example, chances are your turf will develop holes that need to be repaired, whereas natural grass will grow over any tears in the field over time.  If you plan on using your artificial turf in lower-trafficked areas such as your front lawn, then it is likely that it will be more cost-effective than natural grass.  If your artificial turf is used heavily and needs frequent repairs, it may end up being more expensive.

The winner: a tie!

Injury:

Artificial turf is less likely to become slippery and hazardous than natural grass and mud. That said, if someone is running around on artificial turf, and they slip and fall, artificial turf is more likely to cause injury than natural grass, for the very same reason.  The friction that allows a runner to gain traction and keep his feet under him is the same friction that will cause a ‘turf burn’ if he falls.

The winner: Natural grass

Temperature:

Artificial turf absorbs heat more readily than natural grass, and can grow to be very warm on hot days.  If you live in a cooler climate, this is less of a concern, however.

The winner: Natural grass

Noise:

There’s nothing like being woken up at some unearthly hour on a Saturday morning by someone who thinks that 6:30am is the perfect time for cutting his grass.  There’s nothing like settling into some paperwork at home only to be interrupted by the Doppler-sound of a mower scooting back and forth on your neighbor’s front lawn.  And there’s nothing like just having gotten the baby to sleep only for one’s neighbor to rev up his ancient mower with its popping motor and go to town on his grass just next door.

If you get artificial turf, you will avoid contributing to noise pollution, and will bother your neighbors (and family!) not at all… except during installation, which can be noisy!

The winner: Artificial turf, by a fair margin

So, who’s the overall winner in your books?  Click here to learn more about both artificial turf and natural grass, or consult the experts at Bur-Han for a free quote on installation!

2017-03-06T18:36:20+00:00

About the Author:

Tim Bourke is one our co-founders and is our Chief Operations Manager. He is amazing leader and mentor to our employees. His technical and people skills make him an awesome "ninja" for all thing BUR-HAN Garden and Lawn Care. These articles are written by Tim or by the BH Team member or writer.