How 'Green' Is Your Turf? - Page 2

Today's technology gives 'artificial grass' year-round advantages over the real thing
Fridays on the Homefront
Fridays on the Homefront
Sweeping replaces mowing.
Fridays on the Homefront

Synthetic turf will generally last 15 to 25 years if installed correctly and maintained, as turf needs occasional rinsing. Some manufacturers recommend regular chemical treatment to extend turf life.

Many homeowners opt for artificial turf to save on the considerable cost of water and the maintenance of lawn, but also for other uses, such as play areas, pool surrounds, dog runs, putting greens, decorative borders, and even rooftops.

Some homeowners with turf complain about retention of heat and pet odors, since it doesn't break down urine like soil does. It's also a product that can't be recycled. Still, others say the advantages outweigh the shortcomings.

Besides cutting your water bill by up to 70 percent, the crumb rubber used in making most brands of turf is credited with keeping some 20 million tires out of landfills each year. Scott said consumers can actually do better, though, than the ambient rubber used to make most turf.

"We use cryogenic rubber," he said of ingredients for the turf from Heavenly Greens' preferred manufacturers, "which is more expensive, but it's clean."

This cost is of course passed onto customers, but Scott says it's worth it for health reasons. Turf purchase and installation generally costs between $5 and $20 per square foot, and Scott pegged the cost to Heavenly Greens customers at between $12 and $15 per square foot. Some homeowners even choose to install it themselves, but Scott said it's "very common" for cut-rate installations to have wrinkles or highly visible seams.

"Yeah, it's an investment at first, but with the long-term value and the cost savings, it's worth it," he said of the decision to go with fake grass instead of real. Scott emphasized that the three inches of gravel placed under turf for adequate drainage and other aspects of installation without wrinkles are significant advantages of hiring a quality installer.

"It's not just rolling carpet out," he cautioned.

Beyond that, there are numerous options regarding color, texture, odor resistance, and in the case of putting greens, even 'speed' of the turf.

"It comes down to what kind of look you want the turf to have in your backyard," Scott said, directing homeowners to online resources from Heavenly Greens and the Synthetic Turf Council. "There are all kinds of different products, and it all comes down to what fits the personality of the person."