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Natural vs Fake

Cost Difference

Synthetic grass can be made of a few different materials, usually nylon, polyethylene, or polypropylene. These are crafted into grass-like blades and the turf is designed by threading filaments through a mesh backing which is permeable to water. Manufacturers of synthetic grass can even provide looks that mimic specific types of grass like Bermuda and Fescue. They can also include an artificial layer that resembles thatch to make the overall appearance seem more life like. 


      Decomposed Granite

Often used as a subbase for building construction, Decomposed Granite is a highly compactable aggregate of crushed rock. It is perfect for base applications such as landscaping projects including paver patios/driveways or artificial turf.



       Weed Fabric

Also known as weed barrier cloth, this is generally a burlap-like material. The weed barrier is stretched across the ground to act as a hindrance to weed growth by blocking light and nutrients to root systems. This fabric can be made of synthetic, organic, or recycled materials. Often this barrier is made of polypropylene or polyester, and sheets of these lightweight geotextiles are thatched making them water permeable. However, organic weed fabric can also be used. These products are biodegradable and treated to resist deterioration. This layer is secured with nails/stapes and comes in 60-300 foot rolls by 6-15 feet wide.



      Bender Board

A bender board is a synthetic edging material about 4 inches in height usually made from recycled plastics but crafted to resemble wood. It is installed around a lawn surface to control edges and keep them well defined. Because it is synthetic, it will be resistant to rot, splintering, or weathering. A bender board is sold in coils for easy transport and is easier to bend and manipulate than wood. Alternatively a mow-strip is generally a concrete barrier that provides the same kind of edging but surrounds the lawn in a 6-8” strip. This can be crafted with pavers or concrete slabs, but requires more labor.



      Seaming, and Staking Down the Turf

Seaming tape is a perfect adhesive for fibrous material like artificial turf and will effectively mask any edges or seams of turf rolls. Synthetic turf glue is an adhesive generally made of urethane and is designed to bond the turf to a variety of substrates. This glue can be non-toxic and eco-friendly. Heavy duty sod staples are large metal staples, about 6” long, driven into the ground to secure the turf. In addition, long gardening stakes and nails (also generally 6” in length) are used to make sure that the synthetic grass does not shift over time. Staples and stakes are hidden under the turf layer.



Infill

Infill is used to help weigh down the turf, assist with blade recovery, soften the feel under your feet, and depending on the actual infill you use, there may be other benefits (i.e. antimicrobial, prevents degradation, reduced heat consumption/overheating, odor control). It can be made from many materials including crumb rubber (mainly from ground recycled tires), flex sand or silica sand. Sand or rubber can be coated with non-toxic acrylic material that is antibacterial. Organic material, such as cork or coconut shell can also be used. You will need to determine the amount of infill to use in advance because you will want to leave 5/8″ (+/- 1/8″) of the blade of grass exposed. The amount of infill to install will depend on the specific synthetic lawn you choose. The metric will be pounds per sqft, in terms of how many pounds of infill you will need per sqft of artificial grass.



Dump fees

These fees are for truck loads of dirt and grass. A typical 1000 square foot lawn will require 5 trips to the dump when using 14 ft trailer. 



Professional installation by a highly skilled crew is essential for the long-term use of a synthetic lawn.


Less than a top-notch install can result in shifting of turf, undulations, bunching, and seam splitting that will add extra expenses to repair. An experienced and professional installer should be able to install 1000 feet of artificial lawn in about 3-5 days. This depends on the time of year and the amount of daylight that is available for working. While less expensive options are often available, make sure to hire a true professional that is proficient in the specific task of artificial turf installation. Not just general lawn or landscaping installation.



                         Estimated Project Ranges for an average 1000sqft area

LOW ESTIMATE. $7,525.        HIGH ESTIMATE. $21,650




The upfront costs of synthetic turf are higher than installing natural grass but overall savings can be astronomical. Well installed artificial turf should comfortably last over 20 years with little associated maintenance depending on the materials used and installation team. Considerations that kept people from choosing synthetics in the past, like eco-friendliness, have been addressed by modern turf companies. They now create non-toxic and organic products that have excellent results with a natural look and feel. Obviously there are many factors that can go into a synthetic grass installation and aspects of the job. Aspects such as the shape of your lawn, for example, may affect the price. 

 


               Natural  Grass


The cost to install natural grass sod is quite a bit less than artificial grass. There are a few things to be aware of before making that decision including the endless costs required to keep real grass looking good year after year. 


Sod Installation @ $1.00 - $2.00 per square foot  $1,000 - $2,000
Water @ $50 a month for 6 months  $300
Fertilizer @ $0.25 per square foot $250
Weed Killer - pesticide, herbicide, fungicide  $200-$300
Lawn Maintenance @ $25 per week for 26 weeks  $450-$650


Your looking at $2200-$3500 for the first year.


   If we take out the initial installation cost we come up with the following costs incurred every year for the average home owner with a 1,000 square foot natural grass lawn. Keep in mind we left out the cost of equipment, fuel and the time it takes to look after the lawn. It's estimated that the average home owner spends over 120 hours each year looking after their lawn in the form of watering, mowing, trimming, weeding, fertilizing and raking. 

The average annual cost to maintain 1,000 square feet of natural grass: $1,200 - $1,500.


   Artificial grass cost versus the cost to install natural grass is significantly different. If you are replacing a natural lawn that won't grow or has been destroyed by children or the family dog, you are likely tired of the never ending battle to keep natural looking good. The benefits of artificial grass are numerous and include the fact that it always looks good and requires little or no maintenance to keep it looking that way. Let's take a look at the cost comparison for a 1,000 square foot lawn in the first year and how many years it takes to pay for the investment.


Initial Investment
Watering
Fertilizer
Weed Treatment
Maintenance

Total


Artificial Grass

$6,790 - $18,840
$0
$0
$0
$0 - $150

$6,940 - $18,990


Natural Grass

$1,000 - $2,000
$300
$250
$200 - $300
$450 - $650

$2,200 - $3,500



We'll start with the average cost for a professional artificial grass installation of $8,000 and for natural grass, $1,500. Then we'll add the average annual maintenance cost for artificial grass of $75 and $1,350 for natural grass. When we add these expenses up over the years it's easy to see how artificial grass eventually pays for itself with the savings from the reduced maintenance costs.  

 


Initial Investment
1 Year
2 Years
3 Years
4 Years
5 Years
6 Years
7 Years
8 Years
9 Years
10 years
15 Years
20 Years


Artificial Grass

$8,000
$8,075
$8,150
$8,225

$8,300
$8,375
$8,450

$8,525
$8,600
$8,675
$8,750
$8,825
$8,900


Natural Grass

$1,500
$2,850
$4,200
$5,550
$6,900
$8,250
$9,600
$10,950
$12,300
$13,650
$15,000
$21,750
$28,500


  The artificial grass cost and initial investment starts to pay for itself around the 6 year mark. It's likely there will be years where your artificial grass requires no maintenance at all which will shorten the amount of time until you pay for the initial investment. We also didn't account for the cost of equipment and fuel required to maintain natural grass which can be substantial when you purchase a lawn mover, trimmer, spreader and other lawn maintenance equipment. 

  After 6 to 8 years you can count on enjoying your low maintenance, eco-friendly, drought resistant artificial grass lawn with no pesticides at virtually no cost. The money you save every year will be a bonus to the many years you'll get out of your new lawn. 


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