What kind of grass is best for your landscape?

Fake grass comes in different textures and color tintsCredit: Photo by Jane Gates

So you want a lawn but you aren’t sure what’s the best method to use – fake grass or planted sod? For many years the only synthetic lawn available looked like plastic grass. But as fake grass had become popular there are now choices in impressively realistic artificial lawns, some designed for sports areas, some for putting greens and yet others that will fool anyone to thinking you have the perfect green sward without having to pay the 'mower-and-blowers'.

There has been a lot of discussion going back and forth about the benefits and liabilities of each kind of lawn. Some people opt for lawn replacement altogether. Others want a lawn. So which one is better, the real stuff or the artificial? Here is pretty much how the reviews for fake grass or planting sod are turning out.

  • Planting sod will give you a living grass that will help balance out air pollution. Artificial lawn does not help with air pollution at all. This would be a factor only if larger tracts of lawn are being considered.

  • Real lawn is less expensive to buy and is, undoubtedly more natural. It does, however, need to be cut, fed, watered, aerated and treated if attacked by fungus infections or insect pests. It will also burn from chemical spills or dog urine.

  • Natural grass is softer and less likely to cause any abrasions if fallen on.

  • Fake grass does not need to be watered so it will lower water use and waste considerably. I does need to be washed regularly, though, to keep it clean so it is not totally water-free.

  • Synthetic lawn will require much lower maintenance care and will not be marred by ugly die-out, bald spots or damage from fungus, rodents, insects or spills. It has to be properly laid if you want it to look good over time.

  • Artificial lawn is more expensive to install, but will pay back over the years with its lack of upkeep.

  • There have been a lot of health concerns and testing regarding lead, cadmium and other toxic ingredients in fake lawn. But if you buy a quality synthetic lawn produced by a reputable manufacturer, these issues should not be a factor. There are many certified producers of artificial grass offering perfectly safe products.

So you see there are pros and cons for both kinds of grass. What it comes down to is what is right for your needs. Smaller areas, particularly fussy spaces like a backyard putting-green, may benefit more from fake lawn. A sunny spot for child play might do better with real grass. Weigh the benefits and liabilities of price, looks, feel, upkeep, eco-friendliness and your own lifestyle needs to see which is right for your own garden.