Which should I choose: Natural or Synthetic Grass?
A lush green front lawn can be the perfect place for families to relax and enjoy the good weather. Well-maintained lawns also increase the property value and make the house more appealing to buyers. But if you do not want the maintenance associated with having a natural lawn, artificial grass might be a good choice for you. Here are some factors to consider when deciding which lawn to choose for your home:
Appearance: Though some of the artificial grass options available look very realistic from a distance, the difference is perceptible due to the shine of the artificial variety. But the even green of synthetic grass cannot be matched by natural grass, unless you take a lot of care in maintenance and do regular trimming. Personal preferences also have to be taken into account; some people want a totally natural look.
Maintenance: This is the biggest advantage of artificial grass – it requires very less maintenance, is not affected by insect damage and do not have worn or dead spots. Natural grass requires regular mowing, weed control and fertilising. The watering required for natural grass is also problematic in drought-prone areas. Artificial grass works well if you have pets or small children running around. The only maintenance required is a twice-a-year brushing and refilling so that the blades remain upright.
Feel: The feel of natural and artificial grass is different, though there are some varieties which are quite soft and similar to natural grass. On warm days, the artificial grass can heat up while natural grass remains cool and comfortable. Watered lawns also help to cool down the house in summer, another plus for natural grass.
Cost: When you compare the initial cost, natural grass is definitely cheaper. If cared for properly, natural grass lasts forever, whereas synthetic grass usually has a life of 12-15 years. Of course, when you compare the long-term maintenance costs, most of this evens out.
Environmental impact: Natural grass helps in reducing greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and allows rain to seep into the soil, enriching our ground water reserves. But well-maintained lawns require fertilisers and regular watering. Artificial grass does not require fertilisers or watering, and newer varieties do allow rain water percolation. But they are made from plastic which has environmental implications.
The final decision must be made based on all these factors. If you are only putting in a lawn to increase your property value for selling, natural lawn is the best choice, since you do not have any maintenance costs. But if you are planning to stay in the house in the foreseeable future, artificial grass is a good investment. You can simply have the lawn put in, and forget about it. The biannual cleaning can be done by the installers themselves, so that you don’t have to do any maintenance.
Personal preferences play into the final choice – whether you have the time and interest for maintaining natural grass, which one you like to look at and walk through, which one suits your environmental outlook etc. If you have insect or grass allergy sufferers in your family, artificial grass might be the better choice.