It would appear at a cursory glance that synthetic grass is a very expensive replacement for natural grass, but the high cost is only up front. When measured over the life of the grass you will find that synthetic grass is actually a cheaper alternative to the real stuff and the savings may not simply be the cost of maintaining the grass.
So, that higher upfront cost of a synthetic grass surface is pretty quickly recouped by the lower maintenance requirements. Time, energy and the possibility of greater usage gives you a surface that will pay for itself over its lifetime.
Benefits Of Artificial Grass
There has been much controversy about artificial turf surfaces and its relation to heat, the sun, and hotter temperatures. There have been claims that artificial turf and its lack of watering makes it that much more susceptible to heat and heat absorbency. Studies have shown that there are evident possibilities of artificial grass surfaces rising in temperature during hot seasons. However, evidence of these studies do not completely rule this heat as an imminent danger to people or animals that come in contact with it, as there are ways of cooling turf and making it safe and hazard-free for all.
Synthetic grass fields and surfaces only rose to high numbers when under direct sunlight during studies. Thus, common sunny areas that have occasional clouds, overcast, or showers rarely reach extreme highs. The areas that do reach triple-digit temperatures usually fluctuate greatly throughout the day, depending on sun exposure. A study on heat and synthetic grass revealed that solar radiation, not air temperature, was the cause of high fluctuation in temperature. Another significant factor includes the type of infill used beneath the synthetic grass. It was noted that there is a possible lack of heat transfer from artificial grass fibers to the infill of the product. Thus, different materials used to engineer the turf could be significant factors in retaining heat. Though this study poses a risk to those who are concerned about surface heat, it should also be noted that this study was only done on one turf product, and therefore cannot be generalized for all artificial grass products on the market today.
Many modern turf products are coated with UV protection that withstands heat, sun, and other damaging effects. These products are designed to deflect heat and sun reflection that may cause discomfort to people and animals on the turf. There are different types of infill that help combat heat. The black crumbled rubber infill usually tends to absorb heat more than other types of infill. Other light-colored granulated infill, like Durafill, deflect heat better than infill that is composed primarily of dark crumbled rubber.
There are also ways to maintain cooler temperatures for synthetic grass.
In order to greatly reduce the high temperature of synthetic grass, it is as simple as dousing the surface with water for a few minutes. Other studies have shown that entire football fields with synthetic grass surfaces can reduced as much as fifty percent in temperature when sprinklers or hoses were used. This can total up to 60 degrees cooler in temperature. When the temperature is decreased and the surface is cooled, it can maintain a cooler temperature for a few hours after coming in contact with cool water. If possible, keeping synthetic grass in the shade can also help to keep it cool because as mentioned before, direct sun is a strong factor in increasing surface temperature. Though there have been past concerns about heat hazards and synthetic grass, many of the modern products on the market today have been designed to deflect heat and are much better than their older counterparts that absorb heat and increase temperatures dramatically. These newer synthetic grass options are easily cooled down and are both pet and family friendly, even on warmer days.
Studies on Synthetic Grass Safety
As pleasant-looking and – feeling as natural grass is, it nevertheless possesses a series of characteristics which make it less than ideal in certain situations. Not only does it require considerable maintenance in order to maintain its vivid look, but it may also not be suited to certain climates or soils.
These particularities are a major factor behind the rise in popularity of artificial grass. Much more durable than natural grass, not to mention weather-proof and requiring a minimum of upkeep, this material has slowly but surely been catching up to, and oftentimes replacing, its natural partner. There are certain circumstances where turf, as it is also called, can definitely constitute the better option, and even in situations where either choice would work, synthetic turf can still hold a number of advantages over natural grass. The lines below provide a few examples to illustrate this point.
Advantages of Artificial Grass
As noted above, artificial grass is significantly more weather-resistant than natural grass. Rolls of turf also tend to be durable, enduring a fair amount of wear and tear, and require very little by way of trimming or tending once they have been laid down. The majority of artificial turf options are also excellent for homes with pets and children, as, unlike real grass, they cannot be dug up or through and do not generate mud – a parent’s dream!
When To Go With Artificial Grass
The characteristics outlined above make artificial turf suitable for a variety of situations. Elderly people, who are no longer able to tend after a real lawn, will find turf carpets to be an excellent, alternative for their back garden, which requires no upkeep and will stay permanently verdant, smooth and even. Holiday home-owners may also find it an excellent option for their summer or winter homes, as unlike real grass it does not require them to be physically present to tend after it regularly. Finally, as noted above, homes with children and pets may also benefit from this type of lawn, as opposed to a natural and easily damageable one.
Despite its growing popularity among private home-owners, however, it is for its role in public spaces that artificial grass continues to be best known. While parks continue to go with natural grass as a general rule, almost every other public space has opted for artificial turf, or astro-turf, as the perfect lining for their floors. Swimming pools, for example, often employ it, as it allows for safe barefoot padding without creating muddy footprints as a result.
Similarly, roof gardens where the covering is too light to support natural grass often go with substitute, as do dog runs and kennels, to prevent the pooches from digging holes or otherwise damaging the ground beneath them. Finally, areas of heavy public use, such as playgrounds or event grounds, also often resort to artificial grass to cover their floors. This is due to the fact that, as noted above, this material is capable of withstanding significant wear and tear, which makes it the perfect surface for children to play on or partygoers to tramp over. Perhaps if they forwent the usual meadows for astro-turf expanses, festival organisers would not have such woes once the event is over and they are forced to repair damages to the grass!
It is clear, then, that there are a number of situations in which artificial grass is more suitable than its natural counterpart. While many continue to dismiss this material as looking phony or tacky, or to regard it as a poor man’s substitute for a real lawn, the truth is, using it instead of natural grass can often make a home or land owner’s life much simpler and more hassle-free. Fortunately, more and more people have been catching on to that fact, and artificial lawns are enjoying a resurgence the world over!