Real or Fake Grass?

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By an edhat reader

Curious on people's opinions and if they have any local experience doing so. We have area of our backyard that we'd like to have some grass, but we're contemplating whether laying real grass (drought tolerant of course) or fake grass. 

Has anyone else made this decision recently? What did you end up choosing and why? Any referrals would be welcomed.

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Babycakes Aug 15, 2022 11:34 AM
Real or Fake Grass?

We went with decomposed granite, no/low-water plants, and colorful pots. Be sure to remove top 10 inches of soil as it contains grass and weed seeds.

patrick Aug 15, 2022 12:20 PM
Real or Fake Grass?

We (as a population) need a new paradigm. A small patch of grass is fine, but not a whole lawn (unless watered from below via a gray water system). Fake grass is an environmental disaster, contributing to the heat island effect, general lack of recyclability, UV degradation, etc. Please think of mother earth and do something natural and considerate of our precious planet.

Grabber Aug 15, 2022 12:58 PM
Real or Fake Grass?

Dymondia is a nice alternative to grass and very drought tolerant after established. Needs full sun to thrive.

evered Aug 16, 2022 08:46 AM
Real or Fake Grass?

This is also known as "carpet grass". I love it! Question, once established is it something that you can walk on, or walk over it without damaging it too much? I've seen a few really beautiful spreads of well established and happy carpet grass. Dig it!

Grabber Aug 16, 2022 04:58 PM
Real or Fake Grass?

It tolerates “light foot traffic” very well. Not good for the kids to play on every day but mine was ok with a pedestrian or two.

oops Aug 15, 2022 12:58 PM
Real or Fake Grass?

You might get a more balanced response by asking your question on Next Door Neighbor...maybe not!

RHS Aug 15, 2022 01:09 PM
Real or Fake Grass?

Plastic "grass" is a disaster. If you are doing this to help the environment by reducing water usage it would seem to be a non-starter to install plastic that was produced from polluting industries and will certainly be worn out in a few years and sent to land fill. Used DG and native plants/grasses.

Ahchooo Aug 15, 2022 03:35 PM
Real or Fake Grass?

Artificial turf is hot. Might look okay from afar, but not so appealing up close, because you get none of the refreshing feel that comes with real plants. (It’s also bad for the environment, but others have already covered that.)

pstarSR Aug 15, 2022 03:46 PM
Real or Fake Grass?

yes, it is VERY hot. you have to hose it down before walking on it barefoot otherwise you will get burned.

NotReallyDave Aug 15, 2022 09:06 PM
Real or Fake Grass?

I like the landscaping company on East Haley Street near Nopal that installed fake grass! Think about that for a while.

banana Aug 15, 2022 10:16 PM
Real or Fake Grass?

Put in something similar to St. Augustine grass. It is a thick thatch that sequesters carbon nicely, cools, conserves water and takes traffic really well. It may have to be taken down to almost dirt level every few years. It's a challenge to mow with a hand mower but gasoline ones pollute. Real plants will help save our planet. More phony turf will not.

m2457 Aug 15, 2022 11:28 PM
Real or Fake Grass?

I put artificial turf in my backyard about 6 years ago. I love it and my dog loves it! Went with a more expensive one and it is expected to last +/-25 years. In part of my front yard, I have decomposed granite and large slabs of flagstone. The neighbors walk over it and kick the decomposed granite up all the time, plus weeds still come through.

LelandMont Aug 16, 2022 03:16 AM
Real or Fake Grass?

We are looking at doing the same on our property; the biggest factor is how your area is to be used - whether light or heavy foot traffic. Here’s an article with some interesting alternatives:
Dutch clover seems to offer a lot of advantages…

sbbeachguy Aug 16, 2022 09:36 AM
Real or Fake Grass?

We are planning to replace part of our lawn (it's all coming out) with Kurapia. OK in sun and shade, can walk on it. Irrigate from below, minimal water needs.

Lucky 777 Aug 16, 2022 09:47 AM
Real or Fake Grass?

My front yard has plants around the edges behind low fencing but the inside area is all covered in a thick layer of straw. I have sulcata tortoises who live there and rumble around happily and walk on the straw and also eat it. I highly recommend them! Their poo is good fertilizer for plants, they are amusing mobile boulders and come when you call them and like to be petted and eat carrots from your hand.

youemailme Aug 16, 2022 11:21 AM
Real or Fake Grass?

I'm heartened to see how many people are aware of what an environmental disaster artificial grass is. Besides the attributes already mentioned, that heat fries the soil below, so the soil ecology is just dead - no beneficial bugs or worms.

a-1660730878 Aug 17, 2022 03:07 AM
Real or Fake Grass?

That's the point I was going to post, thanks.

a-1660731001 Aug 17, 2022 03:10 AM
Real or Fake Grass?

Cons of Artificial Grass

Artificial grass may seem like a simple alternative to sowing, mowing and watering a real lawn, but it has various drawbacks. From human health concerns to its effect on the planet, artificial grass, or artificial turf, has several cons. Additionally, extensive work with the underlying soil is necessary to return to real grass after artificial turf is used.

Toxicity Exposure
Unlike real grass, artificial turf contains toxins known to have deleterious effects on human health. According to the New Jersey Work Environment Council, artificial grass often contains toxic metals, such as cadmium, lead and arsenic, in addition to phthalates, which may negatively affect some organs, including reproductive organs. Various substances, including old tires and silica sand, are used to make artificial grass, however; so levels of toxins in artificial turf differ from one manufacturer to the next manufacturer.

Environmental Issues
Artificial grass can negatively affect the environment in many ways. Hosing down artificial turf creates runoff, transferring its elements, such as chromium, to the ground and water supply. When it's time to dispose of artificial turf, it can take decades to break down fully in a landfill. Habitat erosion is another side effect of artificial grass because it does not provide a home or food for insects, birds and other animals.

While real grass stays relatively cool to the touch on hot days, artificial turf may become too hot to handle. A study at Brigham Young University revealed that synthetic turf's surface was 37 degrees hotter than the air temperature. So artificial turf's surface temperature may climb to more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit in hot, sunny weather. Although artificial turf can be hosed down with cool water, its temperature will creep back up quickly.

Other Concerns
The rough texture of artificial grass can result in a condition called "turf burn," a painful, open lesion resulting from abrasive contact with human skin, which can happen when playing sports. Also, bacteria can survive on artificial turf for lengthy periods, creating an increased risk of infection. About 6 percent of the general population is allergic to substances in latex, according to the New York State Department of Health, and those people may have adverse reactions to artificial turf.

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