The Grass is Always Greener

Every Frisco homeowner understands the struggle of keeping their lawn in perfect condition. The frequent and extreme weather changes can be harsh on delicate grass and no matter how many things you try, the yard never seems to be the right shade of green. Recently, homeowners around the nation have been opting for a new solution – synthetic grass. This option takes the hassle out of lawn care without sacrificing the perfectly manicured lawn. 

Between the sun and heat experienced here in Frisco, your lawn does not stand a very good chance against the elements without careful monitoring and maintenance. With turf, there is no need to water it, which is helpful in drier seasons. One of the first major shifts for synthetic turf happened a few years ago when Frisco went under strict drought regulations. Normal lawn maintenance goes out the window when dealing with synthetic turf. 

Owner of Lone Star Synthetic Turf, Tom O’Brien, says synthetic turf yards are “low maintenance. You just pick up leaves like normal.” There is no need to water, fertilize or mow your lawn to ensure growth. Keeping up with artificial grass is extremely easy. Making sure there is no debris on the lawn and that you are picking up after pets is the majority of the cleanup. A light watering once a week will rinse off pollen, dirt and ensure infill stays evenly distributed. 

Although maintenance is low, if not properly maintained, odor can build-up and infill will be needed to be replaced more frequently. Unlike regular grass, the turf does not hold on to allergens or bacteria, making it a safe environment for children and pets to play. Many parents do not want chemicals because of kids, and with synthetic turf, this is no longer a safety issue. If it rains, your lawn will be dry in two to three hours and it will not be muddy, so kids can get back to playing faster and pets will not bring the mud inside with them.

Initially, the cost of installation can seem expensive, but with artificial grass lasting upwards of 25 years with the correct care, you will see your return on investment. There are so many ways to customize your synthetic turf to get the perfect look and feel for you. However, installing synthetic turf on your lawn does come with some drawbacks. With the intense Texas sun in the peak summer season, turf can become hot to the touch. The good thing is, synthetic turf does not hold heat, so when a cloud provides some shade, your lawn is cool as ever. 

This perfect lawn does come at a price. Installing turf can be expensive, but the pros outweigh the cons and your return on investment is beneficial. The cost of the turf will vary depending on the type you pick. Prices typically range from about $5 to $20 a square foot, which is significantly higher than the typical sod used to landscape lawns. You have to remember these materials are “designed for football fields, but your yard gets less wear and tear,” so your lawn will last for years to come. 

When picking your perfect lawn, there are several factors to take into consideration. Having a consultation with a local company allows you to assess all your wants and needs in your new yard. The three main characteristics to look for are pile height, density and color. Pile height refers to the length of the grass (short will not wilt and tall will wilt over time). If you have dogs or furniture, you may consider short. For kids and entertainment, you can choose a taller pile to give your lawn a softer feel. Density will make your lawn look lusher, but also heavier and more expensive. The denser your synthetic turf is, the more yarn is in each square foot, increasing the cost. Synthetic turf comes in several colors. High-end brands will even mix several shades of green and brown into the turf to make it look as realistic as possible. All these factors will contribute to the turf’s durability and quality. If you are placing the artificial grass in a high-traffic area, it will need to be more durable, so it can last longer. The higher quality turf you buy, the longer it will last and look perfectly manicured for. It is best to talk to a professional who can bring samples for you to check out. Once you have decided on the synthetic turf that fits your needs, you will have to pick an infill. There are a few types and each will provide a different feel. To keep it “springy” you can use rubber or sand. Another alternative would be polyurethane or latex, but these options will expand and shrink with the weather.

In mid-February, during a City Council meeting, new laws and regulations were passed on synthetic turf in residential areas. Anthony Satarino presented these changes that affect single-family homes, non-residential, multi-family areas and urban living. With these new regulations in place, single-family homes are now allowed to have green synthetic turf in their backyard as long as a fence surrounds it. This is a change from the original ban on artificial plants, including turf, in landscaping. Of course, homeowners associations can still have rules of their own that can restrict placement and type of synthetic turf. With these new regulations, there is no required maintenance, but if the installment becomes a nuisance it falls under “the property maintenance standard that families have to abide by.” As for non-residential, multi-family areas and urban living, there was a hearing on March 3 to discuss maintenance requirements. These areas have struggled with keeping synthetic turf clean and need to have scheduled maintenance, routine inspections and be installed with pet-friendly pads. Having these precautions in place will help mitigate odors and waste that were previously problems in these two areas.

As Mr. O’Brien says, synthetic turf is “the coolest thing, you just do not know it yet.” There is a perfect fit for every family, with numerous choices in pile height, density and color. Having the right space to entertain, relax and enjoy can make your backyard feel like another cozy room in your house. 

Lucy Ladis is a Frisco ISD Independent Study Mentorship student at Centennial High School studying journalism. She enjoys being on drill team and has lived in Frisco her whole life. 

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