A lush green outdoor space in your backyard has always been part of the Australian dream.
But in an age where most people are time poor many people are asking whether synthetic grass or artificial grass is a better lawn option for their home and garden.
So, just what are the Pros and Cons of artificial grass vs real grass?
To answer these questions you need to think about what a lawn means to you. For many people a lawn is an area where their kids or dogs can play at home and it’s the perfect setting for a barbeque.
For others a green lawn represents an aesthetic landscaping ideal and a significant factor in increasing the real-term property value of their home.
While for other people the question revolves around which lawn option has a smaller environmental impact.
This is something that only you can answer. There are lots of reasons for choosing one or the other.
But to help you we’ve decided to take an in-depth look at the pros and cons of a natural grass lawn versus synthetic turf.
We’ll explore the following factors:
Is artificial grass better than real grass? Is artificial grass worth the money?
By the end of this article we hope you’ll be able to answer those questions for yourself.
Artificial turf or synthetic grass has improved in leaps and bounds over recent years.
The look and (some would say) feel of artificial grass is now much closer to a real grass lawn.
Artificial lawn can even come in a range of blade heights, sizes and colours. It’s a popular choice for those who are time-poor but who still want the green lawn look in their backyard.
Modern artificial grass can look and feel close enough to real grass to fool many people.
Naturally, it will maintain its lush green appearance throughout the seasons with minimal maintenance and upkeep.
Good quality artificial grass will last up to 15 years or so before it needs to be replaced.
During the life of your synthetic grass you will have almost no cost of maintenance; that’s right no more mowing, watering or fertiliser application. This also lowers the carbon footprint of your artificial turf.
Artificial grass is not subject to insect damage and there’s no need to apply spray, fertilisers or other lawn care products.
The durable nature of artificial turf also means you can walk or play on it all year round in rain, hail or shine.
This can be a real plus if you have children or animals or for sports fields where year-round access is important.
Artificial turf can be laid in any climate and an artificial lawn will look beautifully green even in the harshest zones including deep shade, full sun and coastal sand and salt. It’s perfect for either your front lawn or your back yard.
At the end of the day artificial grass is still plastic. To be fair, it’s actually a nylon or polypropylene threaded onto a rubber mat but you get the point.
You will soon notice the difference between artificial grass and real grass when you walk, play or roll around in it.
Artificial grass can heat up to a very high temperature on hot summer days. This can contribute to nasty burn injuries if your children are playing rough and tumble games.
Although modern fake turf or synthetic turf is tough if it does sustain severe damage it can look very tatty and ugly and be costly to repair.
It can also burn your pets’ feet if it not hosed down regularly on hot days
This may mean it’s not going to be a good choice if you have highly active dogs that like to dig.
Cat and dog urine will usually seep through drainage holes in the rubber matting but you’ll need to clean up all the animal waste and wash it down regularly to reduce odours.
And because there is no natural decomposition process you’ll want to sanitise the fake grass from time to time.
Artificial grass may not work well on steep slopes. Artificial grass installation will cost between $75 and $100 per square metre.
This is a significantly higher upfront cost compared to the cost of installing natural turf.
On the environmental side, artificial grass places a seal over the soil beneath and leads to excessive heating a little like sealing a driveway with bitumen. Artificial turf produces no oxygen nor does it remove any carbon dioxide.
Furthermore, artificial turf is, for the most part, not recyclable and so will simply add to our landfills at the end of its life.
And as for the carbon footprint left during the artificial grass manufacturing process?
Well, you are dealing with petroleum-based products: rubber, polypropylene, polythene etc.
Plus, you have the obscenely high carbon footprint produced by the transport of these materials most of which are imported.
Natural grass varieties have also improved over the years with in-depth research and intensive breeding programs creating a range of real grass varieties to suit the Australian climate.
You can now choose modern natural turf types that are hardier, insect and disease resistant, drought and shade tolerant and lower maintenance and require less water.
That’s even better news for the environment. And of course, natural grass lawns are deliciously soft and green and can last for a lifetime.
Natural green grass is, well, real; cool and soft underfoot. It’s natural, it’s alive. Artificial turf will never feel or look like real grass.
Your children and pets will love playing on it and there won’t be the nasty burns that children often experience playing on artificial turf play areas.
And for garden lovers you can’t go past the unforgettable smell of freshly cut grass. Plus it provides food for your compost and mulch for your garden.
Modern natural grasses are really hardy and will self-repair even when there is quite significant damage.
With modern drought resistant grasses a natural grass lawn can thrive in almost any part of Australia.
Modern natural turf types will also be quite happy in shadier areas too. Natural grass is ideal for the front lawn or the back yard and can function well on steep slopes where you need some erosion control.
Natural turf can last a lifetime when looked after and the cost of installing natural turf is considerably lower than for artificial grass.
Natural turf will cost from $7 to $12 per square metre if you install it yourself and around $35 per square metre supplied and installed by the professionals (depending on ground preparation).
And natural lawn can add as much as 18% to your property’s value too—a real bonus that easily offsets the cost of installation and maintenance.
Natural grass is great for the environment because it produces oxygen.
Natural grass or instant turf also absorbs carbon dioxide and other pollutants and aids in the decomposition of animal waste as well as filtering rainwater.
And it’s offering this environmental benefit throughout its life, even while it’s growing at the turf farm.
Natural turf also attracts and sustains beneficial insects. Natural turf absorbs heat and this cooling effect keeps the soil temperature down as well helping lower the general ambient temperature around your home.
The cost of ongoing repairs and maintenance for a real lawn are much higher.
This cost includes regular mowing with noisy and smelly (if using petrol-power) mowers and trimmers and the frequent application of potentially toxic chemicals to control insects and fertilizer to sustain grass health.
You can reduce the impact of these lawn care products by using readily available organic alternatives.
A natural lawn will require regular watering, which may be an unacceptable cost in the face of increasing drought periods and water restrictions.
However, a well designed and closely monitored sprinkler system can reduce your watering requirements.
And there are new varieties of couch grass also known as Bermuda grass which use up to 38% less water than other couch varieties and now have Smart Approved Water Mark status
And a natural lawn can’t take endless hammering from children and pets.
This is particularly true in winter when grass growth slows down and the lack of sunlight hours really inhibits grass regrowth.
You may have problems identifying the correct grass for your needs if you have a wide variety of soil types or shade/ sun exposure levels.
Dog urine can cause brown patches if you haven’t chosen a dog friendly grass variety. But you can avoid this too by ensuring that your dog is drinking plenty of water.
Weed control may cost considerable time and money over the years especially if you neglect the health your lawns and allow dead patches to go unrepaired.
However there are new fertiliser / herbicide options available such as Oxafert which do both fertilising and pre emergent weed control at the same time which save time and money.
When you consider the sheer pleasure that a natural lawn evokes, the enhanced property value combined with the environmental benefits of real grass vs artificial lawn we believe that natural grass comes out the overall winner for most people in most Australian settings.
If the installation cost of artificial / fake grass and the environmental impact of yet another plastic product isn’t an issue for you then installing artificial grass might be the best solution for you.
But if you value the cooling effect and the green vitality of living natural grass and the higher maintenance cost isn’t an issue then natural lawn is the obvious solution.
If you are still not sure about which one is for you or you would like to see and feel the living freshness of one of premium quality turf varieties then give our friendly team a call.
One of our team members will be happy to show you the real difference and we supply and install Sydney, NSW and surrounding areas.
More and more often there are community groups, residents, sporting groups, local government and planners looking for information and research on the benefits of natural grass.
Below are a number of documents, links, research articles to assist in the decision making process.
Grechs Turf will continue to update this information as new resources are available.
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I would like to just take the time to thank you all for the great service. From the sales team on the phone all the way through to the delivery driver. The turf was also the freshest turf I have ever had delivered and we had a 100% perfect roll condition, I have never had a delivery with no waste rolls and perfect thickness growing bed attached so thank you. Even though I may not be very big currently I will be using GTS as my supplier from now on.
Hayden Mann – Dosman Lawns & Maintenance
Grechs Turf I have found over the past 8 years is the Best quality turf , the drivers delivering always help And are on time, placing orders with the next day Delivery is excellent. Keep up the good work
Jim – Superb Concreting
We pride ourselves at Eclipse Landscapes on our high level of standards and attention to detail, and with this in mind we have found that every aspect of Grech’s Turf over the past 20 years have always exceeded our expectations. They are most reliable, courteous and will always go that extra mile to ensure that their clients are well looked after and the best service is provided. They will always try their best to accommodate our deadlines and are extremely flexible in their approach. We would highly recommend the services of Grech’s Turf & their product.
Michelle – Eclipse Landscapes
The Other Side Landscapes Pty Ltd uses Grech's Turf for all our Turf Supplies. We undertook a trial process with turf suppliers and found their quality to be excellent, which is what our clients expect.
Adrian – Other Side Landscapes
You guys are great to deal with, deliveries are always on time and easy to organise, your quality of turf is great, I use the sapphire buffalo a lot, this is always in good nick and at a good price.
Mike – Vivid Scapes
I have been using the turf supplied from Grech's for over a decade simply because I know the turf delivered is the best quality every time.
Chris – Chris Chominsky Landscapes
Grech's Turf has been supplying our turf needs for over 20 years. Their quality of turf is superior. Their deliveries are always on time and delivered when scheduled and the staff always friendly and helpful. The grass is never greener anywhere else.
E. T. Landscapes & Plant Hire
Waratah Lawn Care & Garden Management have been using the professional services of GTS for over 6 years now, and over this time they have proven to be a reliable supplier of good quality turf to meet our range of clients needs. Sometimes our orders range from large orders of hundreds of square meters and other times just 10-20 meters, but no matter the order and where it's going GTS is always willing to get the order cut and delivered within our required timeframe. I have found the office staff to be helpful and professional with service, as well as the delivery drivers who are always friendly and keen to make sure they help out our staff by delivering and unloading the turf in the right position on site.
Greg – Waratah Lawn Care & Garden Management
“Thank you for the help over the Christmas break.
We had an order booked in with them of the Wednesday just before Christmas 2015 but due to the weather they were not able to cut, which is understandable. The guys kept me informed and were really helpful in organising a time and day for delivery once they went back to work and the ground dried enough so they could start cutting turf again.
The turf is always top quality and my customers are always happy with the turf.”
Shannon – Ponds-on-Pipeline
“Turf has been great every time. Look forward to next delivery”
Steven – Goodwill Landscaping
"Fine Edge Landscapes have been using Grech's Turf Supplies for the past 15 years. The quality of turf is always 100%, they deliver on time and their prices are very competitive. You can count on Grech's Turf Supplies to be the best every single time!"
Marcus – Fine Edge Landscapes
“BNE Lawn & Garden Maintenance has been using Grech's Turf for some 10 years. We have found their turf to be first quality and never had an issue with any turf. Grech’s is easy to deal with, the turf is always on time and when requested – especially at short notice.”
Bryan – BNE Lawn & Garden Maintenance
“Thank you to Kathy and Peter of Grech's Turf. Great Staff all very helpful. Love my new lawn”
Allan – Charlestown
“Ordered some turf form Grech’s Turf recently to cover an area around a new home. Well it has just finished our home off beautifully. Can not wait to mow it over the summer period, as it come up tops.
I would like to thank Grech’s Turf for their prompt service and top quality product, but even more importantly, their willingness to offer advice to get the most out of our investment.”
Scott – Sydney
“Just a quick note to thank Kerrie and her team for their advice and service – our new Sir Walter lawn was delivered and is looking fantastic. Everyone at GTS was friendly, knowledgeable and made sure everything was done properly to ensure our lawn would be the envy of our neighbours!”
Nick – Holroyd
The turf that arrived today was the best I have seen! As always, you guys provide a prompt and professional service, which makes me look good to my clients. Thanks again!
Joe – Windsor