The other day we did a This or That pitting Natural Grass vs. Artificial Grass and, though it was supposed to be just a fun proposition, we started to realize this can, indeed, be of interest to people like you, reading this article. Hey, you!
So, we decided to expand it and really dig into the grass dilemma homeowners go through regarding price, lawn maintenance and other things you’d never imagine would go into consideration when assigning points to the scorecard of the Natural Grass vs. Artificial Grass dispute.
To better assert the pros and cons of those products, there seem to be two axes: a pragmatic one that views the product through a financial prism and another more concerned with the enjoyment of benefits provided by the product. Cost-wise, it’s pretty clear the winner here: Artificial grass.
Artificial Grass Cost
While, at first, when looking to the square feet of fake grass and especially the artificial grass installation cost, it might seem like this is the more expensive route; this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Real grass is WAY more expensive in the long run. You have to buy lots of tools to manually work the ground, plus some more expensive tools like a lawn mower and monthly you’ll find yourself getting out of a Home Depot store with a whole plethora of garden products – if you’re all about organic lawn fertilizer; add more $$$ to the equation – plus eventual manpower to maintain it if you can’t afford sprinkler systems (again more $$$) and never-ending possibly more serious problems – like pests! – to take care of your precious natural grass.
The artificial grass installation cost can almost be erased from the equation if you do it yourself. It’s not the easiest of tasks – especially depending on the size and format of your garden – but it’s not rocket science either. What you’ll definitely need is to rent or buy some special tools and have an extra pair of hands and eyes to level everything nicely. Sill, the artificial grass cost basically ends when you finish installing the grass. Aside from minor law maintenance here and there, you have no additional artificial grass cost.
Meanwhile, if you’re thinking “how long does artificial grass last?”, the answer is around 10 to 15 years. Your artificial grass installation cost has to be extremely expensive not to be recovered in a decade and a half of no substantive lawn maintenance expenses.
So, yes, the artificial grass cost is EASY next to how much you’ll spend with real grass. And if you think about how time is money, you’ll realize how fake grass is actually saving you money.
- Results: One point to Artificial Grass!
Fake grass requires almost no lawn maintenance compared to the massive amount real grass demands. But hold your horses; this one is not as simple as it seems. Natural grass is a natural absorbent, so, when it rains, all you have to do is wait for the soil to drain the water; in a short while there might be some sparse puddles, but you’ll be able to walk through the ground. What happens when it’s fake grass? It’s true that nowadays it deals with water much better than it used to, with punctuated holes to drain the water. However, it’s still not as good, and you’ll end up spending some time with a squeegee trying to push water away so no one slides because of it or completely soaks their shoes/feet.
Lawn maintenance also comes into play regarding natural occurrences. Say you have a dog (but never discard neighbors’ dogs too) and it uses the grass (fake or not) as potty. First thing we feel obligated to say is that – contrary to a lot of (lazy) people’s belief – dog poop and pee are not good for real grass. Don’t use that as an excuse not to do your lawn maintenance! Dog’s waste is not good for anybody; actually. Dog poop can carry several harmful bacteria (to humans and to the lawn) and dog pee – while not harmful to humans – will leave a burnt spot on the grass. So neither the owners of fake grass or real grass should let their dog’s waste lying around. However, the amount of burden left on your shoulders is not equally divided in our lawn debate. Dog pee on an artificial grass is just gross. The smell will remain even when the water is drained, and the floor might get sticky too. You’ll have to water it to remove it.
When it comes to poop, natural grass also comes out on top. But barely. Like we said, you need to manually remove the poop, man! However, at least the visual aspect can be taken care of automatically. You won’t see that huge dookie lying around after a rain because it will get mixed with the soil, whereas with the fake grass, a rain will only make things worse: the poop (and its bacteria) turns into a paste permanently stuck in the fabric of the grass matt and it’s just a mess.
So, we don’t know… we guess it depends on what your neighborhood is like? If you have no dogs around and little rain, artificial is a no-brainer. If not, natural can be better.
- Results: It’s a draw! Half point to both.
You might be thinking “how in the world can artificial grass provide bigger ecological benefits than natural grass?! It’s in the name! Natural vs. Artificial!”. But bear with us.
Although, yes, artificial grass is made of plastic, natural grass requires lawn mower machines and they use petrol to fuel it, producing carbon emission with its use; plus, the need to use water in it is much less frequent than with natural grass. And what about the pests, so common with natural grass? Instead of a dirt base, fake grass has infill, which is not an inviting place for pests to live. Your dog benefits from this, as it becomes harder for it to get fleas and ticks. And, in the end, we’re back to the money aspect of it, as you’ll have to spend dollars on a veterinary and your best friend’s treatment…
But, of course, we’re not advocating that fake grass has as many ecological benefits as real grass; all we’re saying is that it’s just not that far behind. Obviously, natural grass is the winner here: it produces oxygen, thus improving the quality of the air you breathe. It’s said that a 2,500 square foot lawn can produce enough oxygen for a family of four! How about that? And, because it’s a living organism, it also traps and absorbs dust particles and other contaminants better.
Because of this single aspect brought by real grass, properties with a healthy lawn tend to have its home value increased by 20%! Suddenly that lawn maintenance doesn’t look so much like a waste of time but rather a great investment, right?
- Results: One point to Natural Grass!
Obviously, we didn’t have a clear winner. It will really depend on your house and your lifestyle, but, hopefully, we have given enough brain fertilizer to nurture your lawn decision!