Turf Lawn vs Natural Grass
A turf lawn may be a viable option for someone looking for an alternative to a traditional natural grass lawn. There are pros and cons to both options.
Turf Lawn Pros
Easier to Maintain
Turf lawns require no maintenance. Once they have been installed they can be left alone.
Better for Environment
Most types of pesticides and fertilizers are harmful to animals and even humans. They can also cause damage to soil. Turf lawns do not require any of these chemicals so they have a lower impact on the environment.
Work in Any Environment
Certain breeds of grass don't require as much as others, but all types of grass require a great deal of water to grow properly. This makes grass a difficult option in areas where rain is not common. Turf requires no water.
Turf Lawn Cons
Turf offers a lower friction than natural grass which means it is easier to slip and fall.
Turf lawn has been improved in the past 20 years considerably but it still does not offer the same texture and feel as natural grass.
Turf lawns cost as much as six times what a traditional grass lawn would cost. Typically this is made up for by the lack of maintenance over the course of time but for many the high initial investment cost can be a put off.
Natural Grass Lawn Pros
Natural grass in the proper environment requires little or no fertilizer or pesticides. It has the environmental benefit of providing oxygen. Turf grass is not capable of producing oxygen. It is also a common food source for several species of small animals.
Properly maintained natural grass will last almost indefinitely. This does require a certain degree of care, such as periodic watering during dry periods, but overall this maintenance is relatively easy and inexpensive. Turf grass is coated to protect it from UV radiation but overtime it will degrade and need to be replaced.
Turf is not widely accepted in deed restricted communities and even in some cities. Grass is acceptable in all locations. If you are considering turf, verify that there are no policies within your city or community which prohibit turf.
Natural Grass Lawn Cons
Natural grass does grow. This means that it needs to be cut periodically. Typically, during a rainy season this will occur around once a week. In a dryer season it may only be necessary once every two to three months. It also requires water so if it is in a dry period then you will need to supply it with water using other means.
Cost of Ownership
As a direct result of the added maintenance required for natural grass, it has a higher cost of ownership than turf grass. Over the course of several years the overall cost of natural grass including the maintenance expenses can outweigh the initial investment for purchasing turf.