Over the recent years a lot of synthetic grasses have come onto the market and gone are the days of the cheap astro turf! Some of the new ‘species’ are so realistic looking that it’s hard to pick the difference until you get up close or walk across it in bare feet, especially if you’re a bit short-sighted or perhaps had a few too many drinks!
Synthetic grass is made in a similar way to short or long pile carpet; varying shades and lengths of green and brown plastic is cleverly woven into a rubber underlay to create the varying ‘look’ of real grass. Of course, you can still buy the cheap astro turf but in many cases, you get what you pay for and it will never be a good substitute for the real deal.
Real V Fake
There are some situations where synthetic grass can be a good choice, but only if you can’t get a natural grass to grow!
There are some excellent situations where synthetic grass can be a good choice, but only if you can’t get a natural grass to grow due to the location, application or even your own brown thumb! Areas like roof tops, courtyards, balconies and terraces and heavily shaded areas, kids play areas like day care centres, tennis courts and indoor sports centres just to name a few.
After the initial installation (which in terms of surface preparation can be much the same as regular turf, just minus the water) the long term maintenance may well be lower than a natural lawn. Obviously you won’t need to mow, water or fertilise! And if you get lawn grub you’re doing something wrong! But synthetics do require some maintenance, like keeping them clean and free from debris, moss and even weeds (if a weed can grow in asphalt, it can grow in your synthetic lawn!) as well as removing any sand that can be walked into the house or onto the driveway from the pile.
One of the biggest difference between natural and synthetic lawns is the temperature – synthetic grasses get a lot hotter than natural lawns and, if laid outside your house in direct sunlight, the temperature increase can have a big impact on the overall temperature of the inside of your house, leading to increased air conditioning use and power costs.
- In open situations where a natural lawn thrives, synthetic can get up to 20 degrees hotter than a real grass variety. Walking across in bare feet can be like boiling asphalt!
- Synthetic lawns, unlike their natural counterpart, do not act as a filter for the environment. Rather than stopping or filtering pollutants from reaching our ground water and streams they can in fact aid this process.
- Unlike a natural lawn, they do not absorb carbon dioxide or produce oxygen.
- Synthetic lawns do not act as a carbon sink like a real lawn.
While a synthetic lawn may have an application the bottom line is, there is no substitute for the real deal! So unless you have a brown thumb and no sun, give a REAL lawn a go!