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Jason Cameron talks artificial grass

When people think of synthetic grass, they probably imagine old-school, bright green turf carpeting. Ugh. Right? But anyone with a lot of shade in the yard, or a yen for something easier to maintain than thirsty fescue, will be pleased to know that yesterday’s green turf carpets don’t hold a candle to today’s lush synthetic grass – which is realistic, beautiful and very well made.

Synthetic grass is becoming more popular and for good reason. It’s great for people with shady yards who have a hard time growing grass, people with pets, and those who want a nice looking, low-maintenance groundcover that’s eco-friendly. I’ve got it in my backyard, so I know that it works really well in small urban settings. And it’s a dream to walk on – think of very dense, very plush carpeting. Dogs love it too – most companies make a special, extra-durable product specifically designed for pets – and they can’t destroy it the way they do real grass.

There are lots of great products out there. I like ForeverLawn’s great selection of grasses for a variety of needs: landscaping grass, canine grass and different grasses for various sports.

If you’re thinking about synthetic grass for your landscaping project, you’ll be making choices about the type of grass you want, the weight of blades and the thickness of the pile.

When it comes to cost, depending on the grade and density, you’re looking at between $4-$8 per square foot for the product and another $2-$3 per square foot for installation. So overall costs are in the ballpark of $6-$11 per square foot.

Installation for landscaping applications involves five inches of crush and run, and an inch of stone dust or 89-10. That gets packed down and the turf goes on top. This means that the turf drains much better than real grass and you don’t have to worry about puddling. The turf is nailed at the edges, but it floats across its sub-base (the crushed rock) and is weighted down with a quarter inch of sand or another infill, depending on the application. Most of these installations are very, very durable, with a 20-25 year warranty. And if an accident happens, like a tear or a bad stain, you can cut a section out and seam another one in.

When it comes to maintenance, well, there’s practically none. You sprinkle it with water once in a while to wash it, essentially. And rake it lightly to remove fallen leaves or debris. And that’s about it.

Benefits:

1. Water conservation. You don’t have to water synthetic grass. If you have pets, they make grass cleaners that hook up to your hose.

2. Chemical free maintenance. Say goodbye to pesticides and fertilizers. And you won’t be filling the air with emissions from lawn equipment.

3. No mowing. You can rake it once in a while, and even vacuum it. But you’ll never mow again.

4. Earth-friendly: Companies like ForeverLawn use a multi-layer backing system made from recycled plastic bottles. They’re also LEED certified – meaning they’ve demonstrated environmental sustainability.

6. Allergy free: Synthetic grass doesn’t harbour insects or contain allergens. Ticks can’t survive in it, which is especially relevant for pet owners.

There are very few drawbacks, but one thing to consider is how much direct sunlight you’re getting. Synthetic grass does heat up and, in direct sunlight, it can get hot. But if you’ve got a small, shady backyard, or you’re looking to choose a low-maintenance, environmentally friendly option, synthetic grass has got you covered.

-by Jason Cameron