Artificial Grass vs Real Turf

Are you landscaping your garden and wondering what kind of grass you should get? Everyone loves having a green surface in their outdoor space, especially if you have pets or children. It is the most popular feature in gardens across the UK. Of course, there is one dilemma that everyone faces and this is whether you should choose real turf or artificial grass.

The choice between artificial grass and real turf has become increasingly relevant in today's society. With advancements in technology, artificial grass has become an attractive alternative to traditional real turf. Both options have their own set of advantages and drawbacks, which we will explore in this article. Whether you're a homeowner, an environmentalist, or a sports enthusiast, understanding the pros and cons of each can help you make an informed decision.

Smart Grass Rufford 30mm

Luxigraze Artificial Grass 32 Luxury

Smart Grass Clumber 35mm

Luxigraze Luxury 40mm

Pros of Artificial Grass:

  1. Low Maintenance: One of the primary benefits of artificial grass is its low maintenance requirements. Unlike real turf, artificial grass does not require regular mowing, watering, or fertilising. This makes it an ideal choice for those with busy lifestyles or individuals who prefer to spend their time on other activities.

  2. Durability: Artificial grass is designed to withstand heavy use and extreme weather conditions. It does not wear down or develop patches like natural turf, making it an excellent option for high-traffic areas. Additionally, it does not require pesticides or herbicides to maintain its appearance.

  3. Water Conservation: In regions where water scarcity is a concern, artificial grass can be an eco-friendly choice. With artificial turf, there is no need for watering, which can result in significant water savings over time. This aspect makes it particularly appealing in areas prone to droughts or where water restrictions are in place.

  4. Aesthetics: Artificial grass maintains its lush, green appearance throughout the year, regardless of weather conditions. It provides a consistently manicured look, enhancing the visual appeal of residential lawns, commercial landscapes, or sports fields. Additionally, it eliminates the risk of muddy or bare patches that can occur with real turf.

Cons of Artificial Grass:

  1. High Initial Cost: The installation of artificial grass can be expensive compared to the initial cost of laying real turf. The quality of the synthetic material, the preparation of the base, and the professional installation all contribute to the higher price tag. This cost factor may deter some individuals from choosing artificial grass as an option.

  2. Heat Retention: Artificial grass has a tendency to absorb and retain heat, particularly in direct sunlight. This can make it uncomfortable to walk or play on during hot summer months. However, advancements in technology have led to the development of cooling technologies that can mitigate this issue to some extent.

  3. Environmental Impact: While artificial grass conserves water, it has its own environmental drawbacks. Most synthetic turf is made from non-biodegradable materials such as plastic, which can contribute to waste and pollution. Additionally, the production and disposal of artificial grass can have carbon footprints, affecting overall sustainability.

Premium Turf

Meadowmat Traditional

Meadowmat for Birds & Bees

Meadowmat for Cottage Gardens

Pros of Real Turf:

  1. Natural Feel and Aesthetics: Real turf provides a sensory experience that artificial grass cannot replicate. The feel and smell of natural grass underfoot, along with its vibrant colour variations, create a sense of connection with nature. For many people, this aspect outweighs any other considerations.

  2. Cooler Surface: Unlike artificial grass, real turf does not retain heat as much. It remains relatively cool, even on hot days, making it more comfortable for recreational activities or picnics. This natural cooling effect can be advantageous, particularly in areas with high temperatures.

  3. Environmental Benefits: Real turf contributes to the ecosystem by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. It helps improve air quality and provides a habitat for insects, birds, and other wildlife. Natural grass also helps with soil erosion control and reduces stormwater runoff, making it an environmentally friendly choice.

Cons of Real Turf:

  1. High Maintenance: Real turf demands regular maintenance to keep it healthy and aesthetically pleasing. This includes mowing, watering, fertilising, and weed control.
  2. Water Usage: Maintaining a healthy real turf requires a significant amount of water. This can be a concern in regions facing water scarcity or areas where water restrictions are in place. The constant need for irrigation to keep the grass hydrated can put a strain on local water resources.

  3. Pesticides and Chemicals: To maintain the pristine appearance of real turf, many homeowners and groundskeepers rely on pesticides, herbicides, and fertilisers. These chemicals can have negative impacts on the environment, as well as pose potential health risks to humans and pets. Furthermore, their runoff can contaminate water sources and harm aquatic ecosystems.

  4. Limited Use in High-Traffic Areas: Real turf is not as durable as artificial grass when it comes to heavy use or high-traffic areas. Intense activities such as sports or frequent foot traffic can lead to wear and tear, resulting in bare patches, mud, or uneven surfaces. This may require additional maintenance and repairs to keep the turf in good condition.

Environmental Impact:

There has been much debate in recent years about the environmental impact of artificial grass and whether it is damaging to nature. The environmental impact of artificial grass and real turf differs in several ways. Here's a comparison of their respective environmental considerations:

Artificial Grass:

  1. Resource Consumption: While artificial grass conserves water since it does not require regular irrigation, it has its own resource consumption concerns. The production of artificial grass involves the use of non-renewable resources, primarily petroleum-based plastics. These materials have a significant carbon footprint, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions during manufacturing.

  2. Waste Generation: Artificial grass has a lifespan, typically ranging from 10 to 20 years, after which it needs to be replaced. Disposing of old synthetic turf poses environmental challenges, as most materials used are non-biodegradable. Proper disposal and recycling options are limited in some areas, leading to the accumulation of waste in landfills.

  3. Heat Island Effect: Artificial grass has the potential to contribute to the urban heat island effect. The synthetic materials used in its construction have a higher heat absorption capacity than natural grass. This can lead to localised temperature increases in urban areas, exacerbating heat-related issues.

Real Turf:

  1. Water Usage: One of the primary environmental concerns with real turf is the amount of water required to maintain its health and appearance. Frequent watering is necessary, particularly in dry or arid regions, which can strain local water resources and contribute to water scarcity. However, water-efficient irrigation systems and drought-tolerant grass species can help mitigate this issue.

  2. Chemical Use: Real turf often requires the use of fertilisers, herbicides, and pesticides to maintain its lush appearance and control weeds and pests. The excessive or improper use of these chemicals can lead to water pollution through runoff, affecting local waterways and aquatic ecosystems. Environmentally conscious practices such as organic fertilisation and integrated pest management can reduce chemical dependency.

  3. Biodiversity and Habitat: Natural grass contributes to biodiversity and provides habitat for various insects, birds, and small mammals. It supports the ecological balance and enhances local ecosystems. However, the use of monoculture lawns and the elimination of native plant species in favour of non-native grasses can negatively impact biodiversity and reduce habitat diversity.

  4. Carbon Sequestration: Real turf has the capacity to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. This can help mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas concentrations. Additionally, natural grass helps with soil erosion control and acts as a filter for stormwater runoff, improving water quality.


In the debate between artificial grass and real turf, both options present a range of pros and cons to consider. Artificial grass offers low maintenance, durability, water conservation, and a consistently attractive appearance. However, it comes with a high initial cost, heat retention issues, and potential environmental concerns related to its non-biodegradable materials. On the other hand, real turf provides a natural feel, aesthetic appeal, cooler surface, and environmental benefits such as carbon sequestration and habitat creation. However, it demands high maintenance, significant water usage, and the use of chemicals. Ultimately, the choice between artificial grass and real turf depends on individual priorities, maintenance capabilities, environmental considerations, and budget constraints. Balancing the advantages and disadvantages of each option can help make an informed decision that aligns with personal preferences and sustainability goals.