When choosing between synthetic turf and natural turf, one of the issues that come to mind is the price. Without question, real grass is the more economical choice than the artificial version, put it in the ground and let it grow! Although it does require maintenance, is said maintenance going to cost more than simply installing an artificial product? With all the information available today, making a choice can quickly get frustrating, as can deciding which of the information you get bombarded with is actually valid. In truth, several contributing factors affect the purchase and installation of synthetic turf.
The cost differencesIf your garden looks tired and weary, you may think it is time to re-turf. Perhaps a friend has suggested an artificial turf installation and now you are considering the idea. The benefits of artificial grass can be appealing, but the price difference can be huge, especially the initial outlay. To make a fair comparison, you should familiarise yourself with the installation process of both types of lawn. Let’s consider artificial grass as a full replacement for your existing natural lawn and the associated costs: Excavation: You will need to excavate your existing lawn to at least 80mm below the desired finishing height of the top of the pile of your new artificial grass. The price for doing this will depend on a variety of things, including possibly hiring a turf cutter and a large skip for removing the spoil, each 12m2 uplifted will equate to approximately 1m3 of dirt to be removed from the site. Edging: You will require edging to retain the baseworks for your new lawn. This can be metal-edge, paved, timber or even Kwik-Kerb, all of which has a cost per lineal metre. Installation: You will then have to install the primary layer of sub-base which will have to be delivered. Local costs can vary for this from between $50-$70 per m3 dependent on location. Laying Out: Finally, you will need to lay out the artificial grass, cut it, join it and secure the perimeter using adhesive, turf pegs or galvanized nails. All the costs involved here will be driven by the size of your yard. For a medium-size lawn, you could quite easily end up spending around $2,000+ for the installation process. On the other hand, if you are installing natural turf an element of excavation is still required but the overall processes are not quite as specific as they are with artificial. Good topsoil and fertiliser are a pre-requisite but the grass comes in smaller pieces, is simply rolled out, is easier to cut and doesn’t need tricky seaming, all in all probably about half the cost of the synthetic install.
Maintenance CostsWith both options the outlay involved does not stop at the end of the installation process. Whether you choose real or artificial, both call for some form of upkeep. Of course, it does not just include hard work and patience, but also some cash. To maintain a real lawn, a variety of tools are necessary and they all have a price:
- Hose or sprinkler system
It is also possible that you may need to use an aerator or a scarifier or de-thatcher. Aside from these tools, other necessities, such as fuel and oil, are also critical for the improvement and maintenance of your lawn as well as the basic tools (shovels etc.) you use for the project. You should not forget about fertilizers, pesticides, water, and weed killer costs, too, which are all required to keep your garden in excellent condition. It is difficult to put an exact figure on it, but perhaps somewhere between $400 and $600.
On the other hand, when you have artificial grass, the tools you need to maintain it include:
- Plastic rake
- Garden blower
- Stiff broom
All in all, you will need to budget around $100 to $150 for maintaining a synthetic grass lawn. Apart from your financial savings, you should also consider the time savings of artificial over natural in the long run. You certainly don’t want to spend more time taking care of your grass than enjoying your weekend! Comparatively speaking artificial wins the ‘time used for maintenance’ comparison hands’ down.