A lawn is usually a great addition to any type of landscape. It can be aesthetically pleasing and highly functional. But, it can also be a challenge to maintain a lawn in its pristine state without constant monitoring, weeding and trimming. While most people prefer natural grass for their lawns, an increasing number of people are opting for synthetic lawns.
Here are some pros and cons of each to help you decide which one you prefer to use for your garden.
Natural grass lawns are available in a variety of types, each giving its own distinctive look to your landscape. Apart from being organic, they play host to numerous animals and insects in the food chain, and can be an effective means of controlling soil erosion. Natural grass also feels comfortable when walking or sitting, although certain types of synthetic grass are manufactured to feel natural. However, the difference is usually obvious when you walk barefoot on the grass.
Natural grass can last perpetually because it is a collection of continually growing and rejuvenating organisms. Proper care – meaning, regularly mowing, fertilizing, weeding and watering – can make your lawn last indefinitely. There are even ways to ensure its health in the winter months or during a drought season. Natural grass is also much cooler in the summer months, and it can be as much as 5-15 degrees cooler than your concrete walkway, contributing to the cooling of the whole area around it.
The cons of having a natural lawn are: you will need to maintain it on a regular basis, with special attention to colder months; it needs watering on a regular basis so if you’re trying to conserve water at the same time you may have to invest in sprinklers; it is highly susceptible to harm from weeds and insects, and needs to be checked periodically; in addition, you may need to re-do the lawn every few years depending on the type of grass you choose.
Artificial or Synthetic Grass
Synthetic grass was originally designed for sports surfaces as a low-maintenance alternative to natural grass. Over the years, the technology behind artificial grass has enhanced the quality to a level where the comfort and feel are very close to natural grass. Some of the advantages are obvious; the others less so.
The biggest advantage is freedom from maintenance. Because it’s made of plastic, a little rain is all it takes to get it back into spruce condition. You don’t have to water it or mow it, and there’s no risk of damage from insects or weeds. In fact, if anyone in your family has insect or grass allergies, a synthetic lawn would be the best option.
A synthetic lawn also has a particular shine to it, which some people tend to like. It also does not attract bees – again, something to think about if you have allergic reactions to bee stings.
The biggest advantage is that an artificial lawn can be installed practically anywhere, with no concerns for sunlight, shade, water or soil requirements.
On the downside, artificial lawns tend to heat up considerably during warmer months. If you have children playing on the lawn in summer, it may not be such a good option to put in a synthetic lawn. Artificial turf is also more expensive than natural grass, and it takes about 5 to 10 years to compensate for the cost difference. Some people don’t like the feel of artificial grass, but that may be more of a psychological factor – today’s Astroturf comes in a variety of feels, many of which are quite realistic until you look closely.
When you have the right kind of landscape lighting at night, a synthetic lawn can look even more aesthetically pleasing than a natural one – its inherent shine will give it the moist, healthy look of a freshly watered lawn. Both types of grass have their pluses and minuses; the only deciding factor will be your specific preference.