The Real Cost of a Natural Lawn

November 25, 2021 FieldTurf Landscape
Maintaining a lawn, especially in warmer regions, is almost like having a part-time landscaping job! Having a natural sod lawn means Saturday mornings are full...
Real costs of a natural lawn

Maintaining a lawn, especially in warmer regions, is almost like having a part-time landscaping job!

Having a natural sod lawn means Saturday mornings are full of mowing, trimming, putting down fertilizer or pesticides, watering, and more backbreaking tasks. With hours of work gone under the hot sun – it’s easy to lose sight of how much your natural lawn is costing you. 

Let’s break down what exactly goes into maintaining your natural lawn and how these costs compare to installing artificial turf. 

Basic Costs

One of the most significant expenses of a natural lawn is seed and maintenance products such as fertilizer and pesticides. 

The average cost to seed a lawn in the USA is $991 – yet this is a midrange estimate. Additionally, those who use sod can expect to re-seed at least once a year to keep things looking fresh and lush.

In some regions, there may be local regulations on the type of fertilizers and pesticides homeowners use. Requirements like these can further increase these basic costs.

Utility Costs

A sizable cost of maintaining a natural lawn is utilities. Water, naturally, is a large portion of that. 

Some types of sod need more water than others and must be watered daily. Yet, it’s complicated to do that in states like California, with much of the state under strict water use restrictions. 

The average homeowner will use between 12,000 and 15,000 gallons of water per month on either a sprinkler system or irrigation system. If the average price per gallon of water is $1.50, this means homeowners can see bills ranging from $180 to $225. 

Equipment Costs

Grass grows, weeds push in, and leaves settle!

Those with a natural lawn will likely have an arsenal of tools in their garage. Lawnmowers, leaf blowers, edgers, weed wackers, rakes, hoes, shovels, and spades – the list goes on!

The average cost of all of that equipment for grass is around $3,500 to purchase. Don’t forget about the additional costs of gasoline and oil too. If you live in an area that requires disposable bags for your grass clippings, you can tack on another $25 or so for the cutting season.

Artificial Grass vs. Natural Lawn

The significant price of natural grass and grass maintenance is why many people consider artificial turf as an alternative, as synthetic grass eliminates many of these accumulative expenses.

While costs vary depending on the product and size of the installation, the average nationwide cost of installing synthetic grass is approximately $4,500. However, once it’s installed, it’s pretty hands-off after!

Why Artificial Grass Is More Cost-Effective Than Natural Grass

When comparing artificial grass to a natural grass lawn, there are several key reasons why synthetic turf is the more cost-effective choice long-term:

No Mowing or Pruning Equipment Needed

With natural grass, homeowners invest in lawnmowers, edgers, trimmers, and other equipment to keep their lawns neatly manicured. This equipment requires regular maintenance, fuel, and eventual replacement. Artificial turf does not grow or need pruning, so all mowing equipment becomes unnecessary after installation. The savings on buying and maintaining lawn tools make synthetic grass the better value.

Water Usage and Utility Bills are Slashed

Natural lawns require vast amounts of watering to stay green and lush. The average lawn needs over 15,000 gallons of water monthly during peak season. Watering restrictions in many regions make it hard to properly hydrate real grass. With synthetic turf, no watering or sprinkler system is needed. This significantly reduces water bills – a major savings benefit of fake grass.

No More Fertilizer, Pesticides, or Lawn Treatments

To stay healthy, natural grass relies on regular fertilizer, weed control, pesticides, and other lawn treatments. These products are costly, time-consuming to apply, and not environmentally friendly. A high-quality synthetic lawn does not need any fertilizer, pesticides, or chemicals – ever. This eliminates a significant lawn care expense over time.

Low Maintenance Without Professionals

Caring for natural grass requires either investing time each week or hiring landscapers for upkeep. With artificial turf, homeowners can easily maintain their lawns themselves with occasional cleaning. No professional help is needed, saving homeowners money. The convenience of a low-maintenance synthetic lawn is a major perk.

Long Lasting for Over a Decade

When properly installed and cared for, artificial grass lasts an average of 10-15 years before needing replacement. Natural grass must be re-seeded and restored yearly. The long lifespan of synthetic turf saves homeowners money for years compared to continually restoring real grass.

Saves Time Weekly

Maintaining a natural lawn requires several hours per week spent mowing, watering, treating, and more. Synthetic grass needs little weekly care, freeing up homeowners’ valuable time. For busy families and professionals, the time savings of artificial turf is worthwhile.

The high upfront cost of installing artificial grass is outweighed by the money saved over years of care and upkeep. For many homeowners, the convenience and reliability of synthetic turf outweigh the look and feel of natural grass.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Artificial Grass

Several variables affect the total installation cost if you decide to switch to a synthetic lawn:

Size of the Installation Site

The overall square feet of your yard is a major cost determinant. Larger yards require more artificial grass turf rolls to cover the area. They also take more time and labor for installation. For example, a small 20′ x 20′ patio area may cost around $1,200 while a half-acre backyard could be $8,000 or more. Measure your yard carefully before getting estimates.

Type of Artificial Grass

There are different types of turf grasses and blade options. Higher-end synthetic grass using advanced technology to mimic real grass typically costs more. Budget-friendly options still look good but are less realistic. Decide how important aesthetics are to you when selecting a type of turf to balance cost versus appearance.

Additional Features

Options like adding a drainage system, decorative borders and edging, weed barrier, infill material like rubber or sand, and more raise the installation price but may be worth the investment. Determine which features would enhance your yard and obtain quotes both with and without them. For example, good drainage improves durability but could add $800 or more to the total cost.

Difficulty Level of the Installation Site

If your yard has issues like sloped areas, large rocks, or limited access points, it takes extra time and equipment to install turf. These factors increase labor fees from your turf installer. Carefully measure and assess your yard before requesting quotes so contractors understand any potential challenges.

Site Preparation

Preparing the installation site by taking out your old lawn and debris comes with fees to dispose of the waste materials. This prep work is unavoidable so account for removal and disposal costs in your budget. Proper site preparation ensures your new synthetic turf lasts.

When getting estimates, ask contractors to break down these factors that comprise your total synthetic grass cost. Knowing the details helps you budget and choose the best value for your needs.

Artificial grass is the best option for your home and family. No harmful pesticides are necessary, it doesn’t require watering or fertilizer, and synthetic grass is incredibly easy to clean. 
You will find the long-term benefits far outweigh installation costs. Want to learn more? Get in touch with one of our experts today!

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