In 1966, the groundskeepers of the one-year old Houston Astrodome - known at the time as “The Eighth Wonder of the World” - were having difficulty getting grass to grow in the domed stadium. They made a decision that would spawn an entire industry; installing artificial turf, which became known as “AstroTurf.” Sports fields would never be the same again.
After more than 50 years of commercial use, artificial turf has now caught on with residential landscapers. Homeowners - especially those who have upscale residences - have fallen in love with synthetic turf and its role in outdoor entertaining! One of the most popular brands of artificial turf - GrassTex - is now rolling out the doors of Acme Brick Tile & Stone stores.
Why Choose Turf Over Natural Grass
One word comes to mind: MAINTENANCE.
There is little to no maintenance associated with synthetic turf. While natural grass is priced at less than $2 a square foot for initial landscaping, it can require monthly mowing and maintenance plus large quantities of water that add thousands of dollars a year to the total cost, according to this report.
By comparison, high-end synthetic grass can cost from $11 to $19 per square foot which includes soil foundation preparation, but it can pay for itself in saved expenses. Lawns of “faux” grass can last up to15 years and maintenance often only involves removing the occasional weed growth and caring for heavy trafficked areas that may flatten out over time and require stepping stones.
In a recent article on the popularity of residential turf, Christopher Brandon, of Brandon Architects in Costa Mesa, says about 75 percent of the projects he does for modern-style homes in Southern California have faux grass. “Homeowners like it because there is almost no maintenance, it doesn’t need water, it always looks tidy and it can be used in areas where real grass won’t grow. It gives properties a clean, high-end feel, and is especially good for certain amenities, such as zero-edge pools that tend to kill the real grass around them with the water’s chlorine,” he says.
A secondary reason for laying this artificial turf is to reduce water consumption for lawns in drought stricken or arid areas.
Like Brick, Turf is Tough
Synthetic turf has never been tougher. According to Reggie Barnes of Acme Brick Tile & Stone, today’s synthetic products, which are usually a combination of nylon, polyethylene and polypropylene, are made specifically for the home. They have better drainage, are built from highly durable materials, stay cooler in the sun, and remain in good condition for years.
Additionally, products such as GrassTex, use plastic polymers for grass blades that are woven into a permeable backing system made from plastics that are better bonded, stitched and seamed. It also features infill materials to keep the blades in position. The longer blades feel softer, and multiple blades woven together have a more grass-like feel. In most cases, the lawn is installed with a slight crown in the middle, as would be the case with natural grass.