Investing resources (and money) in irrigation is an unavoidable fact of life for many Bay Area homeowners. While drought-resistant landscaping has helped some in the region reduce their water bills, many families need grassy areas for their kids to play or to engage in their hobbies. If your family makes regular use of the lawn, investing in artificial turf may be a great way to cut down on water and maintenance, allowing you to spend more time enjoying your yard.
What is artificial grass?
Artificial grass has changed a lot since AstroTurf came out in the 1960s. Today, artificial grass comes in many variations designed specifically for stadium, commercial or residential use.
The construction of artificial grass is similar to that of carpeting. Synthetic blades, usually composed of polyethylene and polypropylene, are gathered together into piles and sewn into the backing material and cushioning (which is often made of recycled tires). The color, height and density of the blades will differ depending on the desired visual effect or use.
The installers will prepare the yard by removing any remaining grass and creating a three-inch base of fine, clean gravel between the soil and the synthetic turf. The backing and cushioning material is perforated to allow water to filter through the turf and gravel and reach the soil below. As with wall-to-wall carpeting, the segments will be cut specifically for the yard. The pieces are either sewn or glued together to create a seamless look.
Here are eight reasons why artificial grass may be right for you:
- You want a low-maintenance yard. Time is precious for the typical Bay Area household. With artificial turf in place, you can get rid of your lawnmower and sprinklers. Low maintenance doesn’t mean no maintenance—you’ll occasionally need to blow or rake away leaves and spray the surface with a garden hose to clean dirt and residues that accumulate over time.
- You want to reduce your water use. Roughly 30 percent of household water use goes toward irrigation. With drought an ever-present possibility in California, it makes sense to find landscaping solutions that keep water use to a minimum. Other than the occasional washing, artificial grass doesn’t require water.
- Your yard won’t support grass. If your yard (or part of your yard) is located in an area that’s fully exposed to sunlight, it can be hard to keep the grass healthy, even with the aid of regular irrigation. Conversely, if your yard is too shaded, you may not be able to grow grass in the first place. Keep in mind that artificial grass can retain heat, so if your yard receives a lot of sunlight, be sure to choose a heat-resistant product.
- You want to reduce your expenses (eventually). Installing artificial grass is an investment, but with proper care, the surface can last for decades. In the meantime, you’ll be saving time and money on watering, mowing, and fertilizing your lawn.
- You have a unique design idea. With a greater range of artificial grass products available, people are finding new ways to incorporate this material in their landscaping ideas, such as using it on roof decks or wall gardens. If your home has a vestibule area or a three-season porch, adding artificial grass can anchor the area as a transitional space between the outdoors and indoors. It can even be used as indoor carpeting to create a children’s play space or a cushioned exercise area.
- You have a pool. Tile, concrete, and wood easily turn slippery as people get in and out of the swimming pool. Synthetic turf can help make the area surrounding your pool safer. Water splashed on the surface drains away quickly, and the variable texture of the manufactured grass is easier for bare feet to grip.
- You’re concerned about fire season. Artificial turf is a great alternative to using mulch around your home. Mulch dries out quickly in the Bay Area and is highly flammable, so safety experts advise against placing mulch next to your home. Synthetic grass will melt when exposed to extreme heat, but it won’t catch on fire.
- You suffer from allergies. Grass pollen is a major source of springtime allergies. Installing artificial grass can help reduce the amount of pollen in your immediate environment. During allergy season, regularly wash down the synthetic turf to clear away pollen from other sources.