Head-To-Head Comparison Guide of Fake Grass vs. Real Grass: Which One Should You Choose?

Fake grass vs. real grass is a common question for homeowners in Plano, TX.

Artificial grass can be a great time and money saver on your lawn care routine, but many people wonder if the savings are worth sacrificing natural beauty for convenience.

Fake grass doesn’t require the same level of upkeep to maintain its appearance as natural grass does.

It’s also more durable, which means it doesn’t wear out or die like real grass.

Homeowners should also be aware of the environmental implications of artificial grass vs. real grass when making this choice.

That doesn’t mean the choice of fake grass vs. real grass is always a clear-cut one.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of lawns.

And since fake grass is the proverbial new kid on the block, you doubtlessly have questions about artificial grass or whether an artificial lawn is all it’s cracked up to be.

  • Will it look weird compared to the neighbor’s lawns?
  • How much maintenance is required?
  • Will it need to be replaced?
  • How long will artificial grass last?
  • How much does it cost to install fake grass?

This article will give you a complete head-to-head comparison of the time, energy, cost, aesthetics, and maintenance involved in a natural grass lawn against an artificial one.

Our aim is to provide you with the information that you need to make the best decision for your Plano, TX property.

Fake Grass vs. Real Grass

Fake Grass vs. Real Grass

There are countless pros and cons to natural grass and fake grass lawns.

Depending on your situation and circumstances fake grass or real grass may be the best option.

You might be open to either and it simply comes down to your preferences on maintenance or aesthetics.

This guide will provide you with a detailed comparison of fake grass vs. real grass so that you can make an informed decision for your yard.

Artificial Grass

Fake Grass

The artificial grass of today has come a long way from the AstroTurf of yesteryear.

Improvements in the technology used in manufacturing artificial grass has resulted in turf products that look, feel, and act just like real grass.

Most artificial grass products are made out of one of the following:

  • Polypropylene
  • Polyethylene
  • Nylon

The different materials and their unique attributes customize artificial grass so it can be used in a wide range of residential and commercial applications, such as:

Fake Grass Benefits

Fake Grass Benefits

The benefits of artificial grass are numerous for homeowners, business owners, and the environment.

There are several benefits to artificial grass when compared to natural grass. Fake grass is:

Durable, with a life-span of 20-25 years, which can save homeowners thousands in the long run.

Fake grass also doesn’t need any watering, fertilizing or mowing, saving you time and money on expensive gas-powered lawn care equipment.

Fake grass is unaffected by rain or drought.

Synthetic lawns are also pet-friendly and pet urine doesn’t bother them, so you won’t have unsightly brown spots from dog urine.

Lastly, artificial grass doesn’t require water like real grass, so you’ll conserve water and save money too.

Natural Grass

Natural Grass

Natural grass is definitely the most common ground cover for residential properties throughout the US.

It comes in dozens of varieties with differing blade widths, colors, growing conditions, and water requirements.

Unlike artificial grass, you need to be certain to choose the right natural grass cultivar for your climate.

Maintaining a healthy green natural grass lawn often requires a lot of time, patience, and persistence.

Natural grass needs regular:

  • Mowing
  • Edging
  • Aerating
  • Fertilizing
  • Weeding
  • Watering
Natural Grass Benefits

Natural Grass Benefits

The main selling point of natural grass is the role it plays in the environment. Once established, natural grass reseeds itself, so as long as you maintain it, it will return year-after-year.

As a plant, grass participates in producing oxygen for the atmosphere and taking up CO2 and other pollutants.

Its roots hold the soil in place, preventing erosion.

Grass is also an important part of the microscopic ecosystem beneath your feet, providing food and a home for various birds, insects, rodents, and other organisms.

Natural grass improves soil chemistry and cools the air as well.

Environmental Impact

Environmental Impact

While this might seem like natural grass would be the clear-cut winner, the reality might surprise you.

Read on to find out more about the environmental concerns and impacts of natural grass and fake grass.

Environmental Impact of Fake Grass

Environmental Impact of Fake Grass

With water conservation concerns on the rise, fake grass makes more sense now than ever.

The environmental impact of artificial grass is mainly positive.

Fake grass doesn’t contribute to the depletion of our natural resources.

It also doesn’t require any pesticides and herbicides to maintain its appearance and health, sparing you and your family from toxic chemicals that might otherwise seep into your drinking water supply.

Because synthetic grass requires little to no water, it’s easy to keep your lawn green year-round, even during droughts.

One of the biggest advantages of artificial grass vs. real grass is that you no longer have to own or maintain expensive gas-powered lawn care equipment.

Not only does this save space in your shed or garage, but significantly cuts down on your carbon emissions.

Environmental Impact of Natural Grass

Environmental Impact of Natural Grass

Just because grass is a natural plant doesn’t make keeping a grass lawn an environmentally friendly idea.

Statistics show that the average natural grass lawn owner will spend 70 hours a year on lawn maintenance.

The EPA also reports that a push mower emits as much pollution in one hour as 11 cars and a riding mower emits as much as 34 cars.

So even if only half the maintenance time is spent mowing, that’s akin to the pollution of a car running for 7.5 hours every week—just to cut the grass!

The EPA also states that grass clippings are the third largest component of municipal solid waste in landfills.

So unless you’re using a completely manual mower and composting your lawn clippings, your “natural” lawn is a substantial source of pollution.

The environmental impacts of what happens in your lawn are as much of a problem as what happens on your lawn.

Lawn fertilizers and pesticides are responsible for problems such as algal blooms, fish deaths, and pet and child cancer.

So while a traditional grass lawn may seem like the nature-friendly choice, the environmental costs to having one are sizable.

Aesthetics

Aesthetics

Most people want a smooth, green, beautiful lawn to walk, play, and relax on.

Let’s take a look at the aesthetics of fake grass vs. natural grass and the work it takes to achieve a lovely lawn of each type.

Fake Grass Aesthetics

Fake Grass Aesthetics

Artificial grass is available in a variety of colors, lengths, densities, etc., which means homeowners can have a synthetic grass lawn that always looks perfect and matches their neighbors’ lawns.

Synthetic grass has come a long way since the stiff, plastic AstroTurf of the 60’s.

Artificial grass now looks and feels exactly like the real thing.

It also eliminates dead patches and bare spots from shade or pet urine, and it improves curb appeal.

Natural Grass Aesthetics

Natural Grass Aesthetics

A lush and full natural grass lawn is a thing of beauty that improves the look of pretty much every outdoor space.

That said, achieving and maintaining a lush and full natural grass lawn requires a lot of weekend hours or a full-time gardener.

Maintaining an aesthetically pleasing natural grass lawn is almost impossible without expending significant amounts of time and energy.

This is doubly so here in Texas, where the summer sun dries out everything in sight.

Safety & Cleanliness

Safety & Cleanliness

While you may not mind that your lawn isn’t picture-perfect, if you have children or pets, ensuring that they’re safe and clean when playing in your yard is a top priority.

Below we’ll provide an overview of the safety and cleanliness of fake grass vs. real grass.

Fake Grass Safety & Cleanliness

Fake Grass Safety & Cleanliness

The rumors, myths, and misconceptions about the safety of artificial grass are constantly growing.

For example, a lot of people believe that the crumb rubber infill, made from recycled tires is dangerous or harmful to children.

This is not true—unless your child is ingesting significant amounts of the infill material.

Crumb rubber infill is not used in residential turf installations.

Artificial grass is actually safer and cleaner than real grass for both children and pets.

The advantages of fake grass regarding safety and cleanliness are numerous:

  • Helps to prevent injuries from falls by providing a smooth and even surface to play on
  • Keeps mud and dirt to a minimum, which means clean kids and pets
  • Allows water and pet urine to flow right through the turf backing
  • Antimicrobial additives introduced during the manufacturing process prevents the build-up of bacteria and odors

This combination of features results in cleaner, safer children and furry friends.

Natural Grass Safety & Cleanliness

Real Grass Safety & Cleanliness

Everyone loves the feeling of natural grass between their toes, but natural grass has the potential to compromise the safety of children and pets.

Kids love to run and play and are usually unaware of the potential tripping hazards that are posed the dead spots and clumps of grass that are found on natural grass lawns.

The biggest risk to your children and pets safety is from the chemicals like fertilizers and pesticides that are used to grow and maintain natural grass lawns.

Unsuspecting toddlers, cats, or dogs can ingest them by accident.

Grass lawns also tend to attract puddles and mud when it rains and dirt and dust when it’s dry, all of which spells more laundry and mud prints to clean when the kids and dogs come inside.

Natural grass also leaves stains on children’s clothes.

Installation Costs

Installation Costs

The cost of installation varies quite a bit between artificial grass and natural grass.

In order to give you an apples-to-apples comparison of a fake grass installation vs. a real grass one, we’ll use a 1,000 sq. ft. yard as an example.

Fake Grass Price Per Square Foot

Fake Grass Installation Costs

The main difference between the cost of a fake grass lawn and a natural grass lawn is that with artificial grass the brunt of the cost is upfront.

Fake grass costs between $8.00 – $16.00 per sq. ft. for installation and materials.

While the initial cost of artificial grass is high, it should be considered an investment that pays for itself over time.

The break-even point between a fake grass installation and a natural grass one is usually between 4 and 6 years.

You can expect to pay between $8 – $16 per square foot for a quality artificial grass installation.

For a 1,000 square foot area, the installation cost would start around $8,000 – $16,000.

Fake Grass Installation Costs

The factors that influence the cost of a fake grass installation are outlined below:

  • Square Footage of Project
  • Type of Artificial Grass
  • Materials
  • Operation Fees
  • Labor
  • Company Overhead
  • Site Prep Required
Natural Grass Installation Costs

Natural Grass Installation Costs

If you want to grow a natural grass lawn, you can either install sod or plant grass seeds.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

For this example, we’ll assume the lawn needs the installation of an irrigation or sprinkler system.

Laying Sod Installation Cost

Sod — Laying Sod Installation Cost

Installing sod on the same 1,000 square-foot area, it will cost between $900 and $1,800.

The sprinkler system will cost between $0.46 and $0.79 per square foot.

New sod will need a good inch of water on the day it’s planted, as well as daily ¼-inch waterings for at least two weeks, or until it is well-rooted.

This works out to be around 2,804 gallons of water for a 1,000-square-foot yard, or $10.50.

If you assume middle-of-the-road pricing, the installation costs will look something like this:

$1,350 for sod + $600 for sprinkler system +$10.50 for water = $1,960.50 total

This is a very general estimate.

The total cost will vary depending on:

  • Type of sod you use
  • How hot it is when you install
  • Whether or not you prep the site and install the sod yourself
  • How advanced your sprinkler system is
  • Grade of your lawn
Growing Seeds Cost

Seed — Growing Natural Grass From Seeds

Planting grass seeds will cost between $0.09 and $0.18 per square foot.

For this example, we’ll assume the same $660 irrigation system will be installed.

Growing a natural grass lawn by planting seeds will require a lot of watering for the first 8-weeks.

623 gallons of water or rain is equivalent to one inch of water for a 1,000 square foot area.

The total amount of water needed for grass seed germination is about 40 inches of water or 24,920 gallons.

This accounts for the 8 inches of moist soil needed before planting, 4 inches of moist soil immediately after planting, and 2 inches of moist soil twice a day until the seeds sprout.

One inch of water soaks about 6 inches of soil.

Factoring in the cost of water for a single-family customer in Texas, the cost of water based on the usage above will equal about $197 dollars (base fee of $5.38).

To break down the price of planting grass seeds and growing a natural grass lawn, you’re looking at:

$135 for seed + $660 for sprinkler system + $197 for water = $992 total

The above costs include the water to get the seeds to germinate.

While the grass is established, you will also have the ongoing expense of keeping your lawn moist for the remainder of the season.

Care & Maintenance Costs

Care & Maintenance Costs [25 Year Lifespan of Turf]

The cost people often overlook when comparing fake grass vs. real grass is the ongoing maintenance.

Below you’ll find an overview of the costs associated with caring for and maintaining fake grass vs. real grass over the 25-year lifetime of artificial turf as the timeframe.

Fake Grass Care & Maintenance Costs

Fake Grass Care & Maintenance Costs

The difference in the amount of maintenance required for fake grass vs. natural grass is significant.

When compared to natural grass, artificial grass is nearly maintenance-free.

This is where you’ll see the return on your initial investment in artificial grass.

Here’s a brief schedule of the care and maintenance requirements of fake grass, as well as the associated costs.

  • Spraying w/ Hose: $6 a month (0.25 inches bi-weekly)
  • Power Brushing: $175 (annually)
  • Replenishing Infill: $100 minimum (annually)

The total cost of maintaining a 1,000 sq. ft. artificial grass lawn is around $281 annually or $7,025 over 25 years.

Natural Grass Care & Maintenance Costs

Natural Grass Care & Maintenance Costs

Installing natural grass sod or planting grass seeds is much less expensive than fake grass.

It’s the ongoing requirements of natural grass lawns that are high and continual.

Most lawns require weekly cutting for at least 6 months out of the year, with a few extra, intermittent chores like leaf blowing, edging, and weeding.

Lawn care prices range from $25 to $50 per visit for mowing and edging.

Assuming a price of $35 per visit, mowing and edging alone will cost $840.

Below we’ve outlined the expenses you can expect for a natural grass lawn each year.

This is assuming a 1,000-square-foot lawn, so these numbers are on the low end of the spectrum.

  • Mowing/edging – $840 annually ($35 per week for 6 months)
  • Spring/fall clean up – $100
  • Fertilizing – $80
  • Aeration – $70
  • Weed abatement – $35
  • Sprinkler repair – $180
  • Leaf cleanup – $190
  • Watering – $567 (623 gallons per week for 1,000 square feet for 6 months)

All this adds up to $2,062 per year.

Using the 25-year lifespan of artificial grass, you’ll spend $51,550 maintaining a natural grass lawn!

Mowing, edging and weeding the lawn yourself will save you some of those expenses, but you’ll also be responsible for the costs of buying, storing, fueling, maintaining, and repairing that equipment.

25-Year Cost Comparison-Fake Grass vs. Real Grass

Fake Grass vs. Real Grass: Which Should You Choose for Your Lawn?

If you’re bent on the cool, springy feeling of grass between your toes, nothing will beat natural grass.

But you’ll pay a hefty price in water, money, and maintenance to get it.

If, however, you’re open to the idea of free weekends, more cash in your pocket, and a set-it-and-forget-it landscaping option, artificial grass is the lawn for you.

It’s also a great choice if you’re in a drought-prone area of Texas, since synthetic turf stays beautiful and green year-round.

If you’re interested in an artificial grass installation in Plano, Texas, please contact Plano Turf Installers today to get your FREE Artificial Grass Design & Installation Estimate.

To get started simply click the “GET A QUOTE” button, or feel free to give us a call at 469-817-7566.

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