Artificial Grass vs Natural Grass: The Winter Breakdown

With the undeniable popularity of artificial grass and the significant improvement in manufacturing it, comes the question that a lot of people have. “Should I choose synthetic turf over natural green grass?”.

These two contenders have been battling it out to win the hearts (or the lawns) of people. Real grass doesn’t need any further introduction as everyone knows what it is. On the other hand, here’s a quick definition of artificial grass just in case this is the first time you’ve heard of it.

Artificial turf is synthetic, grass-like fibres or yarn that is usually made of polypropylene or polyethene. The more expensive ones consist of several layers which include backing, cushioning, drainage layers, and infill.

Originally, the synthetic grass was mainly used in sporting stadiums. However, improvements in technology led to better quality artificial grass. And eventually, it has found its way into residential lawns.

Still, some people would rather grow natural grass even if it means they need to make time to maintain it. After all, no matter how great artificial grass is, the fact remains that it’s not real. And a lot of people would prefer to have green lawns using natural grass.

But for the sake of this argument, which is better? Specifically, which one is better for the winter season? Take a look at the pros and cons of each, and hopefully, you’ll be able to decide which fits your fancy.

Pros of Artificial Grass

  • It requires very little to no maintenance at all, even in winter. That’s right! Synthetic lawn is a year-rounder that you can just lay down and leave be. In contrast, natural grass still needs some attention during the winter so you may not be able to enjoy the holidays to the fullest.
  • You can walk on it even during the winter. Synthetic grass will not be damaged by heavy footfall or prolonged frost. As it’s the time of year when friends and relatives will be visiting, it’s nice to know that your lawn can handle accidentally being stepped on.

    However, be careful if the temperature drops below zero. Although artificial grass has better traction, it can still get pretty slippery under extreme cold.

    Note: Make sure to pay attention to snow or black ice, especially if anyone treads on the artificial lawn and forms a layer of ice. DO NOT remove the ice by hand as the grass fibers can be damaged. Instead, let it melt naturally or use salt infrequently.
  • It reduces your carbon footprint. It might sound surprising to some, but yes, artificial grass can contribute to saving the environment. It doesn’t require water, fertiliser, and mowing. All of these activities use resources and at the same time, emit harmful elements. And seeing as the average American has a carbon footprint that exceeds 20 tonnes, you’ll want to do what you can to reduce your impact.
  • You can take a vacation and not worry about your lawn. Since artificial grass can take care of itself, you can go ahead and take that much-awaited vacation of yours. After you get back, it will still look lovely and green as if nothing happened.
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Cons of Artificial Grass

  • Winter downpours can be a problem. Although properly installed artificial turf can drain water efficiently, you still need to keep an eye on it if it rains. Make sure that it does not become waterlogged or damaged, or else, you may need to have a new layer installed which is expensive.
  • Artificial grass is not invincible. It is made to withstand all types of weather. However, be cautious when walking on them, especially under freezingly cold temperature. You wouldn’t want frozen solid grass fibers to break when you step on them.
  • Synthetic grass is not ideal for slopes. Although this is on a case to case basis, it’s something that’s worth mentioning. Anchoring artificial grass can be challenging if your lawn has slopes. To make it worse, there’s a high possibility that its sand base will migrate to the bottom of the incline should rail falls.

Pros of Natural Grass

  • Taking care of your lawn brings a sense of pride and joy. It’s true that artificial grass is self-sustaining. However, some people take gardening seriously, and the feeling of pride when you see the fruits of your labour is just unparalleled. The time and effort you put in maintaining your natural lawn during winter will all be worth it come spring.
  • Real grass is better for the environment. Here’s one of the fantastic facts about natural grass: 2,500 square feet of real grass can produce enough oxygen for a family of four to breath. At the same time, it can absorb carbon dioxide, ozone, hydrogen fluoride, and peroxyacetyl nitrate.
  • It prevents soil erosion and flooding. Moderate to heavy rain is not uncommon during the winter season, which can sometimes lead to flooding and soil erosion. Natural grass plays a big role in preventing this from happening. It can reduce excess water and redirect its flow, allowing more to be absorbed by the soil instead.
  • Maintaining natural grass is good for your health. Gardening can have a positive impact on a person’s health. It’s therapeutic, and that’s precisely why it’s included in many rehabilitation programs. It will be challenging to take care of your lawn this season though, so be sure not to push yourself too hard.
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Cons of Natural Grass

  • Some species of grass are cold intolerant. Bermuda grass, for instance, thrives well in the heat of summer. However, it becomes straw-like and loses its colour during the cold seasons. Unless you don’t mind overseeding, this can be a big issue.
  • You still need to work on your lawn during winter. Fertilizing, getting the lawn mower serviced, overseeding, aerating the soil, etc. -- these are just some of the things that you still need to do. This can be a major turn off for many while everyone else is enjoying festivities.
  • Regularly clean up is required. Unless you’re okay with seeing uneven grass, dead spots, and mud, you have no choice but to regularly clean your lawn. Not doing so is a massive mistake and you’ll have to pay for it come spring.

    You see, when something is left on top of your grass like a toy or playhouse, it causes the grass under the area to suffocate and die leaving unsightly marks.
  • Critters can destroy your lawn. Mice and other little creatures can seek warm refuge in your yard during the cold months. They’ll burrow through your garden and leave faeces around, destroying your precious lawn in the process. The acidity in their urine can also cause grave damage to your grass.

Which do you prefer?

Natural grass is the winner hands down if you want the real thing. Just make sure that you’re ready to go out there and work on your lawn when needed. Otherwise, artificial grass is an excellent choice for people who need that perfect lawn without working so hard to maintain it.

The bottom line is, both natural and artificial grass are clear winners. Each one has their own sets of pros and cons so ultimately; it boils down to your preference.


Author Bio

Emma is a part-time property developer who loves sharing how others can make their homes amazing both inside and out on her blog Fixtures and Flowers. You can chat to Emma on Twitter.

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