Both Xeriscaping and Artificial Turf have their own unique benefits.  For people considering one of these options its imperative to have a good understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of each option.  Many people in Southern California are turning to one of these 2 options as the drought continues to intensify.  We have covered the enormous list of benefits that artificial turf provides but in this post we will take a closer look at potential drawbacks of artificial turf installations.

What are the Drawbacks?

  • It’s not completely maintenance-free.
  • It can’t absorb and break down pet urine.
  • It heats up in direct sun.
  • It can’t be recycled.
  • Some HOAs and municipalities ban fake grass.
  • Upfront cost can be an issue especially when compared to normal sod.


A synthetic lawn is expensive to install. Costs include grass removal, ground preparation and materials. Artificial turf systems come with the option of drainage systems and irrigation to control the temperature of the grass, which can increase the cost. The artificial grass costs from $8 to $14 per square foot.


Real grass has a cooling effect when the air temperature is high. Artificial grass lacks this cooling quality. The grass itself may become hotter than the air and can make the surrounding air feel hotter. A hidden water system can keep the synthetic grass cooler to the touch so it feels more comfortable on your feet. The material used as padding beneath the synthetic grass affects the temperature. Special products in the padding keep grass temperatures lower. A light color in the artificial grass blades is another way to cool the lawn.


Real grass and natural landscaping materials allow rainwater to seep down into the soil. Synthetic turf is typically designed to allow water to soak through, but it may not allow all rainwater to seep down into the soil, especially if the soil underneath becomes compacted. The storm water runoff carries debris into the storm sewers, where water sources can become polluted.


You may have concerns about the material used to make synthetic grass. Real grass is a living ground cover that produces oxygen as it grows. The environmental impact of artificial grass varies. The padding is often made of recycled tires, which keeps them out of the landfill, but the petroleum-based artificial grass materials are far from natural. Research about the safety of using this artificial materials on the lawn is limited, so it’s up to you to decide for yourself if the grass is a healthy option for covering the yard.


You won’t have to mow anymore, but your synthetic grass still requires care to keep it looking attractive. You need to sweep or spray the grass to remove debris that falls onto the surface. Sanitation of the lawn is also a concern. Everything from blood to your dog’s poop contaminate the artificial grass. While contaminants rinse off real grass, synthetic grass doesn’t have the same trait. You will need to clean up any messes that could potentially be a health hazard.