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Having a lawn doesn’t always mean you can grow grass. Some places are simply too shady or too wet for any variety of grass—except the artificial kind.
Turf products have come a long way since ‘AstroTurf’ debuted at the Houston Astrodome in 1966. Today, companies specializing in artificial grass (e.g., NewGrass or Everlast Turf) even offer options for finding a product that matches and nearly blends in with the natural grass you do have.
Made from plastic fibers woven into a rubber backing, turf isn’t just a last resort—there are some very good reasons to make the switch. The product doesn’t require mowing, pesticides or fertilizer; it doesn’t aggravate allergies; and it looks great year round. One of the most compelling arguments for turf is that it doesn’t require water, making it a natural choice for drought-prone regions. In fact, many states offer a tax rebate to homeowners who implement turf.
If artificial seems right for your landscape, pick a product that has a high ‘face weight’, an indicator for how dense the completed turf installation will appear. While you can install turf yourself, make sure that doing so will not compromise the manufacturer warranty. Proper installation calls for compacting the landscape before laying the turf and covering with infill to keep blades pointing upwards. If you decide to have a contractor do the job, pick one recommended by the Association of Synthetic Grass Installers.
Once in place, turf does require some attention. It can be rinsed with water and needs to be kept free of debris. Turf helps control weed growth but doesn’t prevent it; before the growing season begins, spray artificial grass with a pre-emergent weed killer. Finally, clean up after your pets!
It’s not for everyone, but artificial grass certainly doesn’t carry the stigma it did when it first hit the market, and it could even be considered an environmentally friendly choice in certain regions.
For more on lawns, consider: