Which Lawn Is Right for Me?

Not a week goes by that I don’t get confronted in a backyard with this famous question.  Real or artificial grass?  There really is no one good answer.  The answer depends on your situation and what makes you happy.  Here are some points.

Artificial turf:


  • No water consumption
  • Lower utility bills
  • Very little maintenance
  • Better with wear patterns.


  • It gets hot!
  • It is roughly 3 times more expensive than normal grass.
  • It is abrasive.
  • Can be smelly with pets.

Real fescue turf:


  • Prettier
  • Cools most back yards by 10 degrees or more
  • The smell of cut grass!
  • Fun to play in/on.
  • Much less expensive to install


  • Higher water bill.
  • Wear spots under swings, etc.
  • Irrigation issues.
  • Pet damage.
  • Weekly service

There you have it.  I have said my piece.  Now let me tie it all together for you.  For a family with no pets and kids, I would recommend real grass.  It is cooler, it is so much easier to play on, you can pull it and flick it at your siblings.  Isn’t that what a childhood is made out of?!  BUT you’ve heard we live in a desert, and don’t want to mow a lawn, don’t want the water bill, etc.  I totally get it.  Most people who are in this boat don’t care about memories made in grass.  The concern then becomes that the grass gets hot.  I hear that a lot!  One day a few years ago I did the unthinkable.  I installed one pop-up sprinkler head in the middle of a patch of artificial turf.  I also put the valve on a handle right by the back door.  Bam! Problem solved.  When the kids wanted to play, the parents turned it on and off quickly.  Because the grass is not a very dense material, it cools down very quickly.  I also made the handle removable so the parents could remove it and the kids couldn’t turn it on.  (I have kids.  I know what they would do with that handle.)  I think we have installed about 30 of them since then, with no issues or complaints

Pets always complicate the situation a bit because they use the grass as a bathroom.  Urine generally kills real grass, and that is one of the cons of having real grass.  Artificial grass however just starts to stink.  Again, you could install the sprinkler heads.  Water helps reduce the smell tremendously.   I even had a customer who wired the sprinkler in the turf to a timer that would then turn on periodically throughout the day for a few seconds to keep the turf cool for his dogs! For normal people though we use this:


It is great because we can install it when we install the artificial grass and it absorbs the urine, smell and all.  Just as a general side note, if you have two Saint Bernards and a postage stamp of a piece of grass for them, the smell will be tougher to keep under control than the Chihuahua on two acres.

Having said all of this, as a company we really are focused on making your back yard a functional piece of art.  We would love to sit down with you and sketch out your dreams.  Hopefully you have a chance to look through our galleries and see all of the amazing outdoor living spaces we have created using real and artificial grass, along with so many other things.  Call me at 702-742-3992 to begin the process, and thanks for reading.

Ben Johnson

Owner, Designer, Plant guy.