Pros and Cons of Artificial Grass

The pros and cons of artificial grass include conserving water and the costs involved with installing a new lawn. You may decide the benefits outweigh the downsides if you’re tired of mowing and caring for a lawn.

In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of installing artificial grass and why you should or shouldn’t consider it for your yard.


Pros of Artificial GrassCons of Artificial Grass
1. Conserves water1. Very warm on hot days
2. Long-lasting2. No contribution to the ecosystem
3. No lawn mowers or heavy equipment3. Doesn’t improve air or water quality
4. Artificial grass is safe4. Adds plastic to the environment
5. Artificial grass is pet-friendly5. Possible health risks
6. Fewer pests6. Must be replaced
7. Cost-effective over time7. High initial cost

7 Pros of Artificial Grass

Our lawns set the expectations for the rest of our property, and serve as a status symbol, so keeping them clean and green is essential. Depending on your location, income, and available time, synthetic grass may be the way to go.

1. Conserves water 

We use billions of gallons of water outdoors every day with about 50% used on the lawn! The Synthetic Turf Council estimates that every square foot of grass replaced with artificial turf saves 55 gallons of water per year. With that in mind, replacing an average-sized lawn of about 1800 square feet with fake grass saves 99,000 gallons of water every year. That cuts your water bill by about $500 a year.

2. Long-lasting 

Take care of your synthetic lawn, and it will be around for about 15 to 20 years. While you don’t need to water it, you’ll have to hose it down every week or so to get rid of dirt and debris. Sweeping or raking the turf regularly also keeps the blades standing upright for the years to come.

3. No need for a lawn mower, edger, or other expensive equipment 

Lawn mowers aren’t cheap, with the average cost at just over $1000. Consider breakdowns, repair of parts, and the price of gas, and you’re looking at even more. Add an edger, weed wacker, and a fertilizer and seed spreader, and the cost multiplies. Artificial turf is a no mow grass, so these costs disappear.

4. Artificial grass is safer 

Installing an artificial lawn removes the risks of yard work. It also eliminates the need for dangerous chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Not only will you save money, you won’t have to remember to do it!

5. Pet-friendly 

Even after a heavy rain, you won’t have to worry about mud puddles, muddy paws or fur, and extra baths for Rover. You won’t have stains or smells if you pick up poop daily and hose off dog pee regularly. Several companies also make artificial grass for dogs with antimicrobial and non-toxic properties. 

6. Fewer pests 

When you lay out the artificial turf, you’re saying goodbye to mosquitoes, grubs, moles, voles, and other critters that like to munch on lawns. You also don’t have to worry about the mold that triggers allergies. 

7. Cost-effective over time

The biggest expense with artificial grass is during installation. The average price is $12.33 per square foot, so the total cost depends on the size of your yard. But once that initial installation is done, you can look forward to 15 to 20 years of a low-maintenance, low-cost yard.

7 Cons of Artificial Grass

Fake grass isn’t for everyone. Some homeowners just don’t like it. Others may simply prefer other alternatives to a grass lawn. A few other reasons may turn some folks away from synthetic turf. 

1. Artificial lawns heat up 

Fake grass doesn’t have the ability to transpire water through openings on the blades. So, yes, it gets hotter than a natural grass lawn in the summer. Just how much hotter depends on your climate and what kind of artificial turf you have.

High-quality synthetic lawns have UV inhibitors that resist the absorption of sunlight and help keep them cooler. Certain infills may lower the lawn temps by up to 25%. If you live in a hot climate, you can help solve the problem by hosing it down for a few minutes and making sure there’s plenty of shade in your yard for kids or pets.

2. Fake grass doesn’t contribute to the ecosystem 

We need living plants, including natural grass, to survive. They are responsible for the air we breathe and the food we eat. Artificial grass also lowers your yard’s biodiversity since it doesn’t attract wildlife or pollinators.

3. Artificial turf doesn’t improve air or water quality 

Studies have shown fake grass to exhibit increased runoff, which can contribute to water pollution. Synthetic turf doesn’t cool the air or absorb carbon dioxide like natural grass.

4. Adds plastic to our planet

Artificial grass is made of plastic. While it does eliminate the need for gas-powered mowers that pollute, it eventually becomes part of the pollution problem. Synthetic turf can be recycled, but the equipment is expensive, and the process is difficult. There are no plants designed specifically to recycle fake grass, so it ends up in landfills and contributes to microplastic pollution. 

5. Possible health risks of artificial grass 

The debate over the seriousness of sports injuries on artificial turf vs. natural grass continues. Some NFL players insist artificial grass is harder on the body. Many homeowners groups in New Jersey and Connecticut have waged a turf war with their cities over concerns about the chemicals and recycled tires used in artificial grass for parks and playgrounds. The EPA is still researching these claims as it looks at the pros and cons of artificial grass. 

6. Synthetic turf must be replaced 

We touched on this in the pros of artificial grass, but no matter how well you care for it, artificial grass doesn’t last forever. Quality fake grass may hold up for as long as 20 years. More inferior products may start looking ratty after just five. 

Warranties on the synthetic grass range from 5 years to life, depending on the manufacturer. There are also several caveats on warranties, so if you aren’t meticulous with your maintenance, you’ll void the guarantee. Regardless of who pays or how long it lasts, you will eventually have to replace your artificial lawn.

7. High initial cost 

If you’ve got a lot of property, installing artificial turf may be out of your financial reach. Once again, the average cost of installation is more than $12 per square foot. Since the average lawn size is more than 10,000 square feet, laying artificial turf over that space can set you back as much as $123,000.

If you don’t want to break the bank but still want to replace some real grass, consider installing a putting green in your backyard or using a small patch of synthetic grass in your landscape design. 

FAQ About the Pros and Cons of Artificial Grass

1. Does artificial grass get damaged?  

Yes. Sharp objects may cut both the blades and the backing of the fake grass. Hot items falling from the barbecue can melt the turf. And petroleum-based products or harsh cleaning fluids can damage and discolor your artificial lawn. 

2. Can artificial grass be repaired?

Yes. You can remove the damaged area, replace the base, and install a fresh patch of artificial turf and add infill.

3. Can I install artificial grass myself?

Yes, in fact, installing artificial grass yourself will significantly reduce the cost. Expect the project to take three days.

Main photo credit: Petar Tonchev | Unsplash

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!