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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Turf Wars: Rise of the Synthetics

Trends towards Artificial Grass in Residential Landscaping 

(also a possible title for summer sci-fi blockbuster pending a copyright investigation)

Small side yard designed to act as a dog run.

No watering, no mowing, no weeding, no maintenance, no fertilizing, no hassle. Designed to provide the look of natural grass but without the headache of actual nature. This does sound like the stuff of Science Fiction. However, no need to fear, synthetic alternatives to natural grass have made leaps and bounds from the dated turfs that could make the bravest among us cringe at the thought of walking barefoot across the scratchy green surface. 

In areas of high traffic such as pool surrounds and back yards, more and more homeowners are opting for synthetic ground cover that is accented by traditional planting. Small side yards that were previously an afterthought (or simply ignored) because of the increased responsibility of care-taking with limited return  can be utilized for circulation or even as pet friendly areas without having to worry about additional maintenance. You can have the benefit of a green and grassy back yard all year round, regardless of weather. 

Decomposed Granite  Base,
Color variation to simulate natural grass decay

The newer more refined manufactured turf products are designed down to the smallest detail to look and feel like natural grass. It takes a very close inspection to discover that this green grass isn't actually growing. Individual synthetic blades in varying shades of brown are sporadically placed throughout to mimic the decay of live grass. For drainage purposes, the turf is installed on a base layer of decomposed granite. The granitic rock also helps with the natural feel when walking on the turf. In the photos below, the pavers, stepper pads and the synthetic turf are set on a thin bed of decomposed granite. With the integration of pathways and natural planting, this synthetic material blends seamlessly into the design, creating a lush landscape all year round. No muss, no fuss, just enjoy!
Landscape: Jason Osterberger Designs, Groundcover: Synthetic Grass Pros