A lot of Synthetic grasses have come onto the market in recent years, some of them so realistic looking that it is hard to pick the difference until you get up close.
Synthetic grass is made from plastic and cleverly woven into a rubber underlay with all sorts of different textures, lengths and subtle blends of colour.
You can still buy the cheap and nasty gear, but like many other things you get what you pay for.
There are some situations where synthetic is a good choice over natural; where you can not get natural lawn to grow such as roof tops, balconies and heavily shaded areas, indoor sports areas or areas you just can not get a mower to. Synthetic is pricy to install and even though they are called low maintenance they are not no maintenance, you will need to keep them clean from moss & animal excretes, weeds and leaves and dirt that blow in.
What are the major differences:
Temperature – Synthetic surface is 30+ degrees hotter on a hot day ie: on a 32˚day natural lawn will be 30˚ and synthetic surface will be 60˚. This makes using your lawn uncomfortable and risking burnt feet. The overall temperature around your home will also be impacted leading to increased air conditioning costs.
Environmental – Natural lawn is the choice for environmentally friendly as it is a natural filter for pollutants and an average backyard can produce enough oxygen for your family. Natural lawn is a carbon absorber greater than a rain forest area equivalent.
Kids and Pets – Natural lawn is the choice as it is soft to play on and is a natural filter to excrements washing through, also with so many allergies today it is low allergenic. Sports people report synthetic to cause ‘burns’ to skin or other sporting injuries when playing on it. There are also some concerns with Synthetic being carcinogenic.
When making the Natural vs. Synthetic choice ask the questions…
What is the environment/site like where I want to lay the lawn?
What do I want to use the lawn for?