Comparing the Costs of Natural Lawn to Synthetic Turf Installation

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by Matthew Martin

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11.19.2020

When choosing between natural grass and artificial grass, residents have many factors to consider. While the look and feel are significant factors to consider, cost is also an important consideration.

However, comparing the cost of artificial grass to natural grass requires homeowners to look at the whole picture and not just the cost of lawn or synthetic turf installation. In the long-run, synthetic grass costs much less and will save you money that you would otherwise spend on maintaining a natural lawn. Here are three factors to consider when comparing the cost of natural grass and synthetic grass:

Installation

The cost of installing natural grass will depend on the installation technique.

Most homeowners install sod because it provides a lawn immediately. However, a sod lawn is usually not as healthy as a hand seeded lawn because some of the grass plants will die during transplantation and pests are transported to your yard with the sod.

Synthetic turf installation will often be more expensive than installing a sod lawn. Much of the cost associated with synthetic turf installation is due to the preparation of the bed. Due to the durability of artificial grass, the bed must be stable.

Water

Although lawns might grow without watering in some cooler, wetter states, natural grass requires regular watering in Texas. In summer, a 1,000 square foot lawn needs about 125 gallons of water per week and during the winter, the same lawn needs about 10 gallons of water per week. This averages out to about $8 of water per week or about $416 per year to water a natural lawn.

Synthetic grass, on the other hand, does not require water. Thus, the cost per year is $0.

Maintenance

Natural lawns need a lot of maintenance. Mowing, fertilizing, and aerating a lawn cost a lot of money.

  • Depending on the size of your lawn, you may pay $40 to $60 a week for professional mowing and trimming of your lawn. If you have a teenager or neighbor mow, you may pay $20 a week. During the winter, your lawn only needs mowing every couple of weeks. This adds up to about $780 per year on the low end and $2,340 per year on the high end for mowing.
  • Fertilizing a lawn costs about $100 per application and most lawns need two applications per year for a total of $200.
  • Aerating a lawn is usually done once a year and costs about $75.

So, on average, a lawn costs anywhere from $1,055 to $2,615 per year to maintain.

By contrast, artificial turf has no annual maintenance cost. Most manufacturers guarantee synthetic grass to last about eight years with normal wear and tear. However, high quality synthetic grass can last 10 to 15 years. Compared to natural grass, this means you can save anywhere from $8,000 to $45,000 over its lifetime with synthetic grass.

Although synthetic turf installation is costlier than natural grass installation, over the life of your lawn, synthetic grass is several thousand dollars cheaper than natural grass for your yard.

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