The look, feel and smell of fresh cut grass — one of your landscape’s irreplaceable features. When maintained properly, natural grass can be a beautiful thing. But sometimes heavy foot traffic or goals to reduce irrigation output on your commercial property can turn that beauty into more of a hassle.
That said, have you given any thought to going artificial? Artificial turf that is.
Long gone are the days when installing artificial turf meant you were giving up the right for a natural looking landscape. Today’s synthetic turf options resemble seamless, lush sod and come in a variety of lengths and shades to blend in “naturally” with the surroundings.
Due to its no water, minimal care requirements, HighGrove has commercial clients currently benefitting from the strategic use of artificial turf on their sites, but it is for everyone? Here’s a detailed look at the pros and cons of artificial grass for commercial properties.
What Is Artificial Turf?
“So exactly, what is artificial turf?” you ask. Well, one thing it’s not is AstroTurf — you know, that kelly green carpeting popular on indoor athletic fields.
Whether you call it artificial turf or synthetic grass or a mash-up of the two, this low-maintenance turf option is typically made of plastic (polyethylene or polypropylene) fibers that are quilted into a backing (which doubles as a weed barrier) and imitate the appearance of natural grass.
To ensure that natural turf appearance, infill is added. Infill is a topsoil generally made up of sand or recycled rubber tire granules. This addition is interspersed between the blades of grass; this helps keep the blades in place and upright. It also aids in shock absorption. Additional layers included beneath the turf improve leveling and drainage efforts.
7 Benefits Of Artificial Grass For Commercial Properties
Sure, yanking out natural grass for a synthetic replacement doesn’t sound all that, well, natural. But once you’re able to move past that fundamental difference and wrap your head around the following practical, eco- and budget-friendly benefits of artificial turf, we think your interest will be piqued.
No mowing necessary — reduces use of fossil fuels
Makes pesticide and fertilizer treatments unnecessary — removes potential for harmful runoff
Requires little, if any watering — reduces property’s water consumption
Potential of weed germination is greatly reduced
Drains and dries quickly (with drainage system in place)
Maintains manicured look year round
Resists wear and tear from foot traffic — can last up to 10 years, depending on use
6 Drawbacks Of Artificial Grass For Commercial Properties
For purists, artificial turf can be a tough sell and the following drawbacks are a few of the reasons why.
Initial installation cost is higher than sod
Turf can become very hot if exposed to hot summer sun
Doesn’t absorb pet urine
Not universally accepted by all HOAs
Not completely maintenance free — raking, blowing, weeding and hosing down turf may be necessary at times
May not absorb or slow down stormwater (if soil beneath it is compacted)
4 Commercial Applications For An Artificial Turf Landscape
Speaking from experience, the most attractive feature of artificial turf for our clients has been its ability to stand up to heavy foot traffic, showing minimal wear and tear year over year. Here are some common commercial applications of artificial turf.
Dog parks and dog islands outside of retail areas
Under large covered areas where rain and sunlight are not sufficient
Areas where mower access is difficult — raised planters, interior courtyards, amenity decks, rooftops and other elevated spaces
Road verges/sidewalk buffers
Maintenance Requirements For Artificial Turf
Yes, artificial turf is an extremely low maintenance addition to any landscape, but that doesn’t mean it can be neglected. Even though synthetic grass looks natural, it is easier to identify it as artificial if it’s not raked and fluffed from the traffic it receives.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to sweep or rake away any and all debris — leaves, pet waste, food, litter — that ends up on the turf. Debris buildup can result in rotting organic material. This can lead to an off-putting odor and even drain blockage.
During the winter months, like natural grass, algae or moss can develop and pose a slippery pedestrian hazard on the turf’s surface. If this occurs, your commercial landscaper may recommend treating your turf with an algaecide or moss killer.
Is The Grass Always Greener With Artificial Turf On Commercial Properties?
HighGrove’s experienced team of commercial landscape design professionals can help you answer that question today. Are there areas on your property that could benefit from the low-wear, low-water and low-maintenance needs of artificial grass?
Give HighGrove Partners a call at 678-298-0550 or use our simple contact form to set up a meeting with our design team.
And be sure to check out our 2015 Commercial Property Trends Report below. Strategic use of artificial grass on a commercial site is just one of eight timely, important trends to help your commercial property become more attractive, more accessible and more sustainable this year and for years to follow.
Last modified: February 20, 2015