2012 is reportedly the hottest year on record in many parts of the country. Combine this with widespread drought, and the consequence is that many homeowners are rethinking their home’s landscape plant choices. One option is replacing water-hungry turf grass with synthetic grass.
Synthetic turf has obvious self-evident benefits, but it has disadvantages that must be considered as well. In hot climates, synthetic turf can generate significant heat, so limited how much and where it’s laid in hot climates is both a function of design and usability. Texas A&M Agrilife Extension turfgrass specialist Dr. James McAfee estimated artificial turf in landscapes can reach 140 degrees.
While synthetic grass will reduce the water bill, it may not have a similar lowering effect on the electric bill. Synthetic lawns can produce an additional heat load on the home, but a well-designed installation plan can minimize this. Also, continuing advancements in new coating designs to lower heat output may soon take such disadvantages off the table.
Design principles being taught to landscape architects nationwide include the use of smaller turf areas for lower resource input, to which synthetic turf may play a part.
Tips For Synthetic Grass Installation
Good compaction is required to ensure the synthetic material doesn't develop ruts as the fill material responds to equipment and foot traffic over the life of the product.
Install synthetic grass brands that offer good drainage, especially if trees are planted nearby.
Limit the area of installed synthetic grass. Stick to small areas such as utility corridors, putting greens or small shaded strips between beds that otherwise would be planted in real turf.