There’s no surprise many homeowners are switching over to artificial grass. You get many benefits for doing so, including low maintenance, a great look, and water bill reductions.
But here’s the thing: It’s a hefty investment and a permanent addition to your yard.
Before you make the big purchase, you need to pay attention to a couple of things, and choose a good artificial grass for your home.
After installing artificial lawns in hundreds of homes around the world, our team is here to help you out.
In today’s article, we’ll show you exactly what to look for when choosing an artificial grass. We’ll explain the different types of grass available, show you how to budget, and explain what type of turf is best for your needs.
Below are ten helpful tips with this complete artificial grass buyers guide. Follow these directions carefully, and you can pick the perfect lawn for your household.
In This Article:
The Complete Artificial Grass Buyers Guide – What To Look For When Buying Artificial Grass
When it comes to picking and installing artificial grass, the planning stage is the most important. Do this right, and you will save thousands of dollars and countless hours of maintenance in the future.
Here, you will learn the 10 key things to look for when buying artificial grass.
We will show you what separates the best and the worst artificial grass, and how to pick the perfect one for your home.
It’s important for you to take your time, and consider your options carefully before making a final decision.
Remember: Your artificial lawn can last up to 20 years or even longer! Making the right choice now will prevent damage and repair costs, and guarantee a beautiful lawn for many years to come.
There is no going back after the installation is complete. Once you know how to choose artificial grass, your investment will pay off handsomely!
1. Inspect Samples In Person
Often, the key difference between good and bad artificial grass is how it looks and feels. And no matter how hard you try, you will never really find out over the internet.
That’s why we always recommend inspecting samples in person, so you can find the best quality artificial grass for your situation.
Photos of products will never truly capture how it looks and feels. What’s more, everyone’s tastes are different: You need to hold it in your hands to get a good idea of its look and feel.
Take the time to travel to your local home improvement retailer, and inspect the samples in person. If this is not possible, you should be able to request samples online.
You should also strive to bring these samples back home to inspect in your yard. You want to see how the grass blends in with your yard, and how the colors look in the sun.
There are a few ways to spot bad-quality samples. For example, the product might look faded and bland in color, or the blades of grass may be particularly thin.
When you inspect your samples in person, pay attention to the shades of colors in the grass, along with the texture and feel of the grass blades.
And if you have any questions, always ask an expert or representative at the store. You should be completely informed about the product before any purchase.
When you return to your home, lay down the samples next to your turf. Check how it looks relative to the rest of your yard. Your yard’s natural lighting conditions may also affect the color of the artificial grass.
Don’t hesitate to check how it feels under your feet too, especially if you plan to be spending time on your lawn over the next few years.
Take a few days to compare and think about it before making your decision. Remember, samples look different from indoor lighting than they do outdoors.
2. Pile Height
Pile height is a term that describes the length of the longest grass blades within the turf.
In reality, a good artificial grass should have grass fibers of various lengths to maintain realism.
The taller the grass blades are, the less resilient they become. This is because the grass fibers will be heavier and longer, and therefore have a harder time standing up.
That’s why you should consider the foot traffic requirements for your lawn, and make sure your artificial grass can withstand the constant usage.
High foot traffic on your lawn will require shorter, more resilient grass. If you expect to have kids playing around or dogs going outside, your lawn should be prepared for plenty of daily usage and pressure.
Too short of a pile height, however, might result in a less realistic look. The right length of the grass blades can give you a realistic appearance while maintaining resilience.
For most households, we typically recommend a pile height of anywhere between 25 to 45 millimeters, or 1 to 1¾ inches.
A shorter pile height of 30 millimeters or less will give your grass a freshly cut look, while anything above that will give it a more natural, organic look.
We recommend households with kids and pets to go for a shorter grass. But while shorter pile heights can withstand more daily usage, it does not mean longer grass cannot do the same. The only difference is longer pile heights will require more brushing and maintenance to prevent flattening.
Ultimately, it depends on your personal taste and requirements. No matter what look you go for, take your time and think about it carefully before committing.
3. Grass Blade Material
Modern day artificial grass is made from special plastics, designed and engineered to be both durable and pleasant to the touch.
There are three common materials used in artificial grass: Nylon, polypropylene, and polyethylene.
Nylon is the most expensive, but it is the most resistant to wear and tear. The durable material is also heat resistant, which is especially useful for hot summers.
However, many users report a rougher, harder feel with nylon. While it springs back into shape quicker than other materials, it simply does not feel as pleasant and realistic.
Nonetheless, it remains a tough material that’s great for high usage applications.
Polypropylene, on the other hand, is the cheapest material to use. While good for those on a budget, or large scale applications, it severely lacks in realism.
While polypropylene is durable with its curled thatch fibers, it is also unpleasant to touch. Realistically, the only positive to using this material is how inexpensive it is.
Polyethylene comes with a price tag in between the two. You get straight vertical blades, in addition to durability and softness.
The material is also easy to clean, especially with stains. We believe polyethylene is the most realistic looking artificial grass, which gives it an advantage in aesthetic design.
Of the three materials to consider, nylon and polyethylene are optimal solutions for your artificial grass. Nylon is considerably tough, while polyethylene wins with realism. Both are great choices for any home, but you should take into account how much daily usage you are expecting.
4. Blade Design And Shape
Nowadays, artificial grass comes with all kinds of blade designs and shapes, each made for a different purpose.
For example, if you plan to play any sport on your grass, you want a short turf with thin and curly grass blades. This makes the grass fibers springy and tough to withstand heavy foot traffic.
Realistic artificial grass, on the other hand, uses blades with either an M-shape or a V-shape. This is closer to the shape of real grass.
Blade shape also determines how your grass will reflect light. Often, low quality artificial grass looks “fake” because it appears way too shiny under sunlight.
For example, the M-shaped and V-shaped blades reflect light in multiple directions. It allows the grass to avoid blanket reflection and retain a natural look.
These shapes also help the grass to remain standing in a vertical position. Even with high foot traffic, they remain stiff and bouncy.
In addition to durability, the design also determines the overall temperature of your artificial lawn. Hollow blades keep temperatures down since they retain moisture.
At the end of the day, blade design and shape depends on what you want to use the artificial grass for. Always think about your long-term needs when choosing an artificial grass design.
5. Color and Thatch
As we’ve already mentioned, grass with a mixed variety of different colors and shades provides a more realistic look.
With real grass, you find various shades of green. Good artificial grass should simulate that effect, while match with its surrounding environment, and look good under natural lighting conditions.
If you live in a neighborhood with yellow-green lawns, you should consider matching the color. Alternatively, you can choose a light color if you live in an area with little sunlight.
In addition to green grass blades, a good artificial grass should also emulate the brown thatch found in natural lawns.
But you might be wondering: What exactly is “thatch”?
Thatch refers to the brown layer just above the roots in natural grass. It is a layer of dry organic matter, responsible for the “springy” underfoot feel of a natural lawn.
That’s why a good artificial grass will have a layer of synthetic thatching woven into its blades. It provides both a natural feel and look, adding color variations to your lawn.
Thatch also insulates the soil and locks in moisture, keeping your lawn cool. It provides a cushioning effect to your whole lawn, making it a joy to be on!
The finish used in your artificial grass will determine not just how it looks, but also how it holds up to harsh weather and wear-and-tear in the many years to come.
During hot summer days, sunlight hits the surface of the earth at its strongest point. It is common for the light to reflect off several objects, which include artificial blades of grass.
Reflective finishes result in an unrealistic look due to the amount of shine. You want to avoid plastic-looking grass for a better look. A good finish will also help regulate temperatures on your lawn.
Always ask your store representative about UV-stability – This refers to how well it will resist damage from sunlight. The best brands will use a finish that will withstand years of intense sunlight and heat, while keeping the grass durable and protected.
Make sure your artificial grass minimizes glare from the sunlight. Your blades of grass should look natural from every possible angle, so inspect your samples carefully in the sun.
7. Weight And Density
The overall weight of your artificial grass is typically measured with backing weight and face weight.
Face weight measures the ounces for grass fibers per square yard of turf. In other words, it indicates the durability and density of the grass.
For example, higher face weight gives you thick artificial grass. Since there are more strands of grass, it provides a richer look and a dense, bouncy feel.
On the flip side, this does come with a higher price tag. In fact, some homeowners prefer the look of a less dense artificial grass.
No matter how careful you are with your artificial lawn, accidents happen. Any reputable supplier of artificial grass will protect your lawn with a warranty, so you are secured against unforeseen circumstances in the future.
Modern artificial grass can last around 20 years. Most suppliers will provide at least a 10 year warranty, and sometimes even longer depending on the manufacturer.
When you look for samples in a store, ask the representatives about warranties. Also, figure out what exactly is covered by the warranty, and what is not.
For example, exposure to sunlight can lead to UV degradation. In other words, the color of artificial grass can fade under the sunlight over time.
Ideally, you’d want a warranty that protects against UV degredation and fiber loss. If your grass does not maintain a natural color, or if the grass fibers start falling out, you will need to spend a lot of time and effort repairing it down the road.
Repairs and reinstallation can be expensive and time-consuming. With a warranty in place, you can have your damaged artificial grass replaced with a new one, and enjoy your lawn without worries.
9. Quality And Price
As the old adage goes: “You get what you pay for”. And artificial grass is certainly not an exception.
The truth is, your artificial lawn will not be a cheap purchase. But we always recommend spending more and getting a high quality artificial grass.
The reason for this is simple: Your lawn is a one-time investment. Once you choose a high quality grass, you will save a lot of money and effort from maintenance, watering, and repairs.
It’s a no brainer: The higher the quality of your grass, the fewer worries you will have for the next 20 years.
Price is a good indicator of what to look for when buying artificial grass. Different materials have different costs – The cheaper it is, the less likely your grass will be colorful, durable, or resilient.
Cheaper brands from China tend to use recycled materials which are sensitive to higher temperatures. This means the grass becomes unstable in direct sunlight, losing its shape and color.
In summary, do not cheap out! You will only be paying more for repairs and reinstallations in the future.
Last but not least, infill is a very important part of the health and longevity of your artificial grass.
In the artificial grass world, infill is its equivalent for sand. It helps the grass fibers stand upright, resist damage, and keeps your lawn cool too.
As we’ve already covered, a good artificial grass should have a soft realistic feel to it. Your choice of infill will affect how your lawn feels too.
The infill is also there to weigh down the lawn, preventing creases and damages. It also promotes drainage in between the grass blades, preventing puddles and flooding.
When it comes to choosing your infill, silica sand is a great all-around choice. If you have pets, however, opt for an organic infill – They are antimicrobial and can easily absorb stains and odors.
Avoid black crumb rubber infill, especially if you live in a warmer climate. This is an outdated infill techology that traps heat, and is associated with a number of health hazards too.
We understand – Choosing an artificial grass can be a daunting task.
It’s definitely a big investment, and once you install it, there’s no going back.
Over the years, the AlmostGrass team has installed, maintained and repaired hundreds of artificial lawns worldwide.
But as long as you follow this buyer’s guide, and look out for the 10 things we’ve outlined above, you’ll be able to enjoy an artificial grass lawn for many years to come, stress-free!