Synthetic Turf – Is Faking It Right for You?

Mark Peterson

Thinking about faking it? Synthetic turf is not the solution for most San Antonio yards, but in limited areas that are highly shaded, it is a good alternative to grass.

For those who’ve had it with mowing, watering, fertilizing and pesticide applications, there’s only one answer — groundcover. But many people are now turning to a new product: synthetic turf.

New synthetic turf products are nothing like the old-school AstroTurf. These new products are almost lifelike in both appearance and texture. Almost.

Of course, these products require practically no water except for a semi-annual cleaning with a hose. Nearly all have the 98-100 percent permeability that is highly desired. And, no fertilizers or pesticides are required thus reducing the possibility of water pollution.

Aside from the previous statements, I find it an excellent choice for those areas that are so shady that neither St. Augustine grass nor ivy will grow. Rather than resorting to inorganic or organic mulches, though beneficial to the surrounding trees, homeowners can use synthetic turf to have a spot of green in the backyard.

True, the use of a synthetic product, made with non-renewable hydrocarbons, is not to everyone’s taste, including mine, but it’s difficult to deny these advantages.

Still, there is one major detriment of synthetic turf: the cost. While true synthetic turf is expensive, it is not intended to cover the entire backyard. Less is more in this situation. A spot of green is all that is needed for most modern homes.

When considering a synthetic turf, look for these factors:

  • A UV-resistant polyethylene pile fiber.
  • Pile height between 1 inch and 1-¾ inches.
  • Water porosity close to 100 percent.
  • Weed barrier integrated within the system.
  • Infill that is natural, i.e., no rubber.
  • An installer who has experience.

Synthetic turf is not the solution for most San Antonio yards, but in limited areas that are highly shaded, it is a good alternative to grass. And it eliminates the need for irrigation, fertilization and lawn mowing.

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