What’s the difference between artificial grass and real grass?

Artificial grass is made up of synthetic fibres (namely, polyethylene, nylon and polypropylene) that, when clumped together, are made to look like natural grass. There are many varieties of artificial grass options on the market, with some offering a lifespan of up to 25 years.

‘Real’ grass (otherwise known as natural turf or lawn) is grass that has been grown with the planting or grass seeds or sod, which is a rug-shaped roll of grass with its own soil layer that can be unravelled and grown into a lawn. There are a range of natural grass varieties to choose from, including some that are insect resistant, shade tolerant, lower maintenance or more water-efficient (requiring less watering).

Artificial grass: Pros and cons

Pros:

  • It doesn’t take any effort to maintain. Artificial grass stays green year-round, and stays at the same height. You won’t need to apply any fertiliser or pesticides.
    • Additionally, if you’re going on holidays or won’t have access to your garden for long periods of time, you won’t need to be on-hand for upkeep.
  • It’s great to use under backyard furniture or items like trampolines where grass doesn’t get much exposure to sunlight.
  • Depending on the type of artificial grass you install, it can have excellent drainage properties. Some varieties will dry quicker than real grass.

Cons:

  • The grass can get quite hot and uncomfortable to walk on on hot summer days.
  • It can be expensive to install if you purchase a high-quality varietal.
    • On the other hand, low quality synthetic turf can easily look like unnatural plastic. Low quality fake grass is quite thin, and will easily wear down from foot traffic and therefore negatively impact its lifespan.
  • If any damage is incurred (i.e. from pets or overuse), synthetic turf can be difficult and expensive to repair.

Real grass: Pros and cons

Pros

  • Real grass or turf is relatively easy to install.
  • It’s great for the environment as it produces oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide and other pollutants.
  • It’s naturally cooler in heat than synthetic turf.
  • Many grass lawns are able to self-clean through absorption. For example, if your dog slobbers on it, a healthy lawn will absorb this liquid over time.
  • Installation costs for natural grass are considerably lower than artificial turf installation costs.
    • Depending on the state of the rest of your property, natural grass (when maintained effectively) can also add value to your property overall.

Cons

  • Real grass takes a lot of effort (and water) to maintain. This includes lawnmowing, applying fertiliser, trimming and watering.
    • If you don’t put a lot of continuous effort into maintaining your lawn, it’s likely to look quite average and patchy in the long run.
  • Foot traffic (from pets and humans) can easily cause a scattering of worn, muddy or discoloured areas on your lawn.