If you live in a low-water area, or if you’re just tired of constant lawn maintenance, you’re in good company. More homeowners are saving time, water — and their backs — by switching from real grass to artificial turf. Synthetic grass for landscaping and recreation is growing 10% to 15% a year in the U.S.
Faking It is Right for You If:
- You’re tired of watering, weeding, fertilizing, and cutting real grass.
- Your summer water bills are too high.
- You don’t want to use chemical fertilizers and herbicides.
- You believe artificial grass looks as good as real grass — maybe better.
What Exactly is Artificial Grass?
Fake grass consists of filaments threaded into a backing that lets water through. The backing is laid on a drainage layer, usually compacted gravel, and fastened along the perimeter. Then it’s filled with recycled crumb rubber or sand to keep it from blowing away in a stiff breeze. Today’s synthetic grass is made of nylon, polyethylene, or polypropylene that’s colored to look like various species.
Artificial grass comes with a big upfront cost — $5 to $20 per square foot, installed. Once it’s down, it’s free for the next 15 to 25 years. Professionally laid sod, on the other hand, costs only 14 to 60 cents per square foot. But that’s where expenditures (and upkeep) begin. You’ve got to water, mow, fertilize — all of which cost money and take time.
Let’s crunch some numbers on a hypothetical 500-square-foot yard. Assuming a cost of $12.50/sq foot installed it would take about seven years for maintenance-free artificial grass to recoup its initial cost. If you’re planning on staying put for longer than that, you’ll begin to save money each year. This does not take into account he rebates and cash back offers that our local governments are providing which could cut the upfront cost in half. For example The Southern Nevada Water Authority says a home owner saves 55 gallons of water per year for every square foot of natural grass replaced with synthetic. Plus, some water companies in drought-prone areas will offer a cash rebate for artificial grass, up to $1-$2 per square foot.
So how does this cost compair to xeriscaping? Unfortunatly there is no cut and dry formula for comparing the 2 options. Ultimatly it will come down to a case by case basis and potential customers should get quotes from both xeriscape designers as well as artificial turf installation consultants to determine which option will be most cost effective for their unique situation.