For all the changes in trends in landscape design through the years, one element has remained constant: a lush, green lawn. While flowers, water features, lighting, and other elements may come and go, this basic foundation of the outdoor environment continues to withstand the test of time.
While there is a single goal of achieving a green lawn, the methods to accomplish that goal continue to evolve. One appealing way to achieve this look is to use synthetic grass. This type of grass, also known as artificial turf, is often misunderstood by those who might otherwise be willing to install it on their property. With that in mind, here are ten myths about artificial turf that you probably still believe (and the truths to bust those myths, once and for all).
- Artificial grass gets too hot in the sun
The temperature of artificial grass is a common concern of people who enjoy walking on their lawns barefoot. Moreover, the comfort and safety of pets is a primary concern when choosing what to use to cover your property. Fortunately, artificial turf is designed to stay cool enough to walk on even on the hottest summer day. It achieves this by using special coatings that reflect the heat from the sun's rays rather than storing this heat, which would cause the temperature to rise. This heat resistance means you can enjoy a stroll across your yard even when the sun is beating down.
- Artificial turf can't drain properly
This myth results from a misunderstanding about artificial turf. Many people see artificial turf as merely a massive plastic sheet with little shoots to resemble blades of grass. Instead, artificial turf, especially high-quality turf, should be seen almost like an organism, with natural drainage capabilities inherent in the material used to construct the turf. Also crucial to good drainage is proper preparation of the site where the artificial turf is to be laid, similar to a traditional lawn.
- Artificial grass is only suitable for sports stadiums
Most people's exposure to artificial grass is through the sports world. More and more, stadiums of all shapes and sizes are switching to artificial turf to provide durability and to cut down on maintenance expenses. To be sure, artificial grass works well for these applications (and should be a hint as to the kinds of results you can expect on your property). Ultimately, though, as the artificial grass market has matured, companies have begun manufacturing turf specifically for residential applications, meaning the turf you select will be specifically designed to work well in your situation.
- Artificial turf contains harmful chemicals
If you've had any exposure to artificial turf of the past, you can likely smell that distinct smell in your nostrils even as you read this. If this is your impression of artificial turf, it's easy to understand why you might think artificial turf contains harmful chemicals. The truth is, however, that safety standards have become much more strict when it comes to the manufacture and installation of artificial turf, meaning you can rest easy knowing that you're not exposing yourself or your family to harmful chemicals. What's more, to achieve a perfect, weed-free traditional lawn, many toxic chemicals must be used, so you're likely to be exposed to harmful chemicals, anyway.
- Artificial turf must be laid on top of concrete
Let's take a moment to appreciate the people who still have their front porch covered in some type of artificial grass. In these applications, to be sure, artificial turf has as its foundation a hard slab of concrete. However, in modern turf installations, carefully distributed fill dirt is used as a foundation instead of concrete, meaning you can enjoy the natural feel of grass with much less maintenance.
- Artificial turf is expensive
As with any home improvement project, the purchase and installation of artificial turf come with a cost. However, so does natural grass. Plus, when you consider the expense of all the water, fertilizer, weed-killer, and grass seed that it takes to keep a traditional lawn healthy and green, you're likely to come out ahead. This is especially true considering that the costs associated with a conventional lawn are ongoing, year after year, while the acquisition and installation costs of artificial turf are a one-time expense.
- Artificial grass is maintenance-free
While it's true that artificial grass requires far less maintenance than its traditional counterpart, there is still some maintenance needed to keep your artificial grass looking its best. For one, debris such as sticks, acorns, leaves, and other items will not suddenly stop falling on your property after you have artificial grass installed. You must still remove these items to keep your lawn in great shape. As you are removing this debris, however, just smile as you think about how much time you're saving versus a traditional lawn.
- Windows can melt artificial turf
If you put in the time and money to have your lawn transformed by artificial turf, the last thing you want to happen is to have that turf melted by focused sun rays bouncing off your window. While it's true that this is a potential risk inherent in artificial turf, this is no reason to avoid using it at your home. Designers can take the time to notice where the sun's rays land on your lawn, allowing them to design the turf to avoid these areas. With some simple planning, you can have a beautiful yard that lasts for years.
- Artificial grass makes playtime less enjoyable
Another myth surrounding artificial grass involves its youngest users. The question: what if artificial grass prevents my kids from playing outside? After all, kids desperately need outside playtime, so anything that could potentially inhibit that is something that you should avoid. Fortunately, kids love to play on artificial grass. All those concerns about bugs and grass stains are eliminated with this option, plus the grass stays perfectly green and fun to play on, year-round.
- Artificial turf will make me the laughingstock of the neighborhood
Indeed, artificial turf isn't the most common choice when it comes to landscaping. Your neighbors may snicker when they notice you've replaced your traditional lawn with artificial turf. However, that snicker will quickly turn to envy when your neighbors see you don't have to water, fertilize, de-weed, trim or cut your lawn. You'll be the one that's laughing as you relax in the shade on your beautiful artificial lawn.