Pros and Cons of Turf Lawns

 In Home Improvement, Real Estate Articles

With continual water shortages and frequent drought conditions in California, any methods for conserving water are worthy of consideration. One of the water hogs for homeowners is lawn and garden care and maintenance. If you want your lawn to look lush and green, you have to water it, which isn’t always possible with water restrictions. Some are turning to artificial turf as way to get the look of a nice green lawn, without the care and maintenance. If you are considering this option, here are some pros and cons:


  • Little to no maintenance – no mowing, no watering, no seeding, no weeds. Except for the initial cost of installation, there are virtually no costs involved until it’s time to replace it.
  • The life expectancy is long – around 25 years. By eliminating all of the maintenance costs involved with natural grass, the artificial turf may pay for itself over time. However, you will need to stay in the home for maximum benefit. It’s not something that will raise your property value significantly when you go to sell.
  • It’s eco-friendly..for the most part. With no watering needs, it’s great for water conservation. You can also choose artificial turf that is made from recycled materials, which helps keep used tires and plastic bottles out of landfills.
  • Fido can still use it as a potty. Artificial turf usually has a permeable backing that allows liquids to drain through, and solids can be easily removed. Some manufacturers even make special turf for use by animals, or you can designate a section of the yard for animal use. Some can be lifted to clean underneath if necessary. The good news is…the yellowing or growth due to “fertilization” will not happen with artificial turf!
  • Shady areas will look great with artificial turf, since it’s not dependent on sun exposure to look healthy. Seasonal changes will also not have an effect on the lawn, so it will look great when all your neighbors’ lawns are browning from the heat or the cold.


  • The initial cost can be substantial. You definitely will not want to use it for large lawns. But it can be great for the postage stamp-sized lawns in town. You can expect to pay $8-$15 per square foot, depending on the options you choose and any special considerations such as pets. However, as mentioned in the “pros” section, there is no ongoing cost once you pay for the initial installation.
  • Some Homeowner’s Associations (HOAs) have not caught up with the changing times, and a natural turf lawn is often preferred. Some HOAs even go so far as to dictate the type of grass you can use, and artificial grass may not be on the list. However, it is becoming more acceptable, especially in drought-prone areas. Just check with your HOA, if applicable, before you spend the cash. It could be a costly mistake if you don’t.
  • While billed as eco-friendly for water conservation and recyclable materials, artificial turf is bio-degradable (yet). While this might be an option in the future, for now, you’ll have to get past the fact that in 25-years, or whenever the turf wears out, it’s going to probably end up in a landfill.
  • Unlike natural grass, which often feels cool to the touch no matter how hot it is outside, artificial turf can absorb the baking rays of the sun and become pretty hot to the touch. If you like entertaining in the back yard or if you have kids that play on the lawn, the absorbed heat will make the air around you feel even hotter…perhaps hot enough to drive you inside where you can’t enjoy your expensive, pretty lawn.
  • If you are a naturalist that loves the smell of freshly-mown grass or the soft feel of ground beneath your feet, artificial turn will never be an adequate substitute. It will always look and feel like a turf soccer or football field.

Whether or not to go with artificial turf is up to you (and possibly your HOA). In order to make sure you are happy with your decision, just make sure you completely understand the trade-offs.

Let my team at Keystone Realtors® meet all your real estate needs. Paul Phangureh has over 16 years of experience in buying and selling in the Santa Clara and San Mateo County areas, specializing in the high-end, luxury market, as well as commercial and multi-use real estate. We can help you navigate the process of getting started with real estate investment. Visit our website at for listings and information. You can contact Paul at 650-924-2544, or email at [email protected].