Updated original post from 9.01.2014
Are You Considering Artificial Grass for Your New Home?
A Custom Builder’s Opinion - Pro’s and Con’s
“Several homebuilding clients have asked me about the newest artificial grass, its pros and cons, and how I feel about using it as a custom home builder. In short, I believe there are specific places and circumstances for using it. Let's look at the benefits and drawbacks,” said Greg Alford, President of Alford Homes.
Artificial grass has come a long way and doesn’t resemble the Astroturf, or fake grass, we all remember from the past. Now, the very best of these synthetic grass products is extremely difficult to tell from the real thing, unless closely inspected. Artificial grass can be useful for several areas of outdoor living spaces, including under trees that are too shady to grow grass (and also too dry due to tree roots competing for water), the use in backyard putting greens, and a place for pet dogs to relieve themselves (no more burned out grass spots in the lawn). Also, a pool surrounded by synthetic grass is a softer surface than concrete.
Photo Caption- A new custom Alford Home - with a putting green made of artificial grass
Benefits of Artificial Grass
- Long Term Cost Savings – While the installation of artificial grass on your property seems expensive at first, it’s an actual investment that can improve the value of your home. The amount of money and time saved for never having to mow or fertilize your lawn again, the turf will eventually pay for itself in several years.
- Low Maintenance – Minimal maintenance is one of the key benefits of artificial turf. The time and money that would normally be spent mowing, watering or fertilizing the lawn can now be used for family and relaxation.
- Environmental Impact - Artificial turf helps our environment with water conservation, elimination of toxic pesticides and fertilizers that harm humans and animals as well as the environment, reduction of air pollution caused by noxious emissions from the fumes of mowing and trimming equipment, and grass trimmings. These grass trimmings are the third largest component in landfills -according to the US EPA. Also, children and pets can play on artificial turf without fear of being exposed to harmful pesticides, fertilizers or other toxic chemicals used in maintaining a natural grass lawn. Also, ask about the new brands of artificial turf that contain an anti-bacterial that helps to prevent the spread of germs.
- Shade isn’t an Issue – Natural grass can fade and die in shaded areas; artificial turf requires no direct sunlight. Artificial grass works well in shade because it will maintain its color and size with or without sunlight. So, now you can have perfect green grass under that beautiful shade tree.
- All Seasons – Weather doesn’t affect synthetic grass, no matter how hot or cold the climate is, your artificial lawn will always look its best. A synthetic lawn will be green 12 months of the year. This is also important to golfers who’d like to play golf on a year-round basis.
Drawbacks of Artificial Grass
Synthetic grass can be expensive for large expanses, even considering the savings on lawn services and watering. It requires extensive prep work and must be installed by a certified and skilled provider. For example, artificial turf can heat up quickly, which is a problem in our hot Dallas summers; however, professionals can install a special top layer of infill that will keep the grass much cooler in the summer heat. In many cases for luxury custom homes, residents choose the artificial grass in the backyard and leave the front yard with natural grass. The faux grass must be hosed off several times a year to keep it clean. When purchasing artificial turf, you generally get what you pay for, and the most natural looking grasses are the most expensive. In addition, I have clients choosing artificial turf for their back yards but still don’t see many residents choosing it for their front yards.
A custom putting green made of synthetic grass and delivered with their new Alford Home
Drawbacks of Artificial Grass
- Investment Price –How much does it cost to install fake or artificial grass? It’s expensive; the price depends on several items like – the size of the area covered, your home location, your choice of type of grass, installation and more. HomeAdvisor says most artificial turf projects are around $3,000 and up. If you’re building a new custom home, installing the grass during the construction process makes the most sense and sometimes can lead to a savings. Additionally, you might consider rolling the cost of the artificial grass into your new home loan.
- Low Maintenance, not no Maintenance – Mowing will no longer be required. However, your artificial grass will need to be cleared of leaves and debris if you have trees nearby; and even if you don’t, synthetic grass wants to be raked occasionally to look its best. The bright green color may last for approx. 10 years- which is usually covered by the manufacturer but ask about warranties and what happens if the grass fades? Is grass fading covered on the warranty and how long is the warranty?
- Homeowners Associations – some homeowner’s associations don’t allow artificial grass and others only allow it in the backyard. You may want to ask your HOA and then get something in writing – before starting your artificial grass project.
- Overall Image and Brand Acceptance - Artificial grass is now being used for children’s playgrounds, golf courses and for some recreational purposes like city parks. Artificial grass is still not being used in most resident’s front lawns. Why? With greater awareness about artificial grass along with the latest products that simulate real grass with texture and color, it will be interesting to see the future of artificial grass - especially with residential construction.
You can “Go Green” with Artificial Grass
“As a green homebuilder, I’m also interested in the artificial grass that can be recycled, to reduce your carbon footprint. Artificial grass or turf does add a green component to your yard by reducing watering, less maintenance from mowing and fewer pesticides. At Alford Homes, we have extensive knowledge about artificial grass and have used it in many backyards of luxury custom homes and courtyards” says Greg Alford. In addition to green artificial lawns, we’ve designed a personal backyard putting green (golf course) using artificial turf. (as seen in photos).
Alford Homes Knows Artificial Turf
“With thirty nine years of experience and as one of Dallas’ top green home builders, (as well as being a Certified Green Professional and Green Built Texas Builder), we use natural building materials, engage in environmentally friendly building practices along with building luxury homes that are high performing and energy efficient” says Greg Alford. If you have any questions about artificial grass and including it with your new custom home, please don’t hesitate to call Alford Homes.
Alford Homes builds green custom homes across DFW, including University Park, Highland Park (the Park Cities) and Preston Hollow. If you would like more information about our custom homes, please visit AlfordHomes.com or call 972-429-1074. We look forward to working together to create the green custom home of your dreams – and considering using artificial grass.