Are There Different Types of Artificial Turf?
Are there different types of artificial turf? The simple answer is yes. Like with all landscaping, there are different types of materials that can be used for different applications. Your personal preference on what you think looks best plays the largest role in the decision-making process, but there are other factors that go into what products we recommend too.
WHAT DO YOU NEED ARTIFICIAL TURF FOR?
If you’re looking into investing in artificial grass for your home, it’s probably because you’re looking to overcome a specific problem. What are you looking to accomplish by switching to an artificial lawn? A low-maintenance front yard installation? A mud-free backyard for your dogs and children? Are you an avid golfer looking to install your own backyard putting green to practice on?
The answer to this question will determine whether you take the route of residential landscape turf, pet turf, or golf turf. Let’s dig into each of these turf “families”. Your vision for your yard will help connect with with some specific types of artificial turf.
Residential Landscape Turf Options
There’s no question that the artificial turf industry has advanced quickly. The cheap green ‘carpet’-looking turf is rarely used for true landscaping applications anymore. Even the cheap landscape turf from China (which we never recommend – more on why you should buy American made turf), looks natural and grass-like at first glance. So how can you know what types of artificial turf are going to be best for your project?
Here are a couple questions to have answered before moving forward:
- What kind of “look” are you going for? Do you always want your lawn to look freshly cut, or would you rather it looks like it was a cut a week ago? Alternatively, you could also go for the tall fescue style grass if it fits your area.
- How much durability do you need? Is this turf being installed in a space that gets low, average, or heavy foot traffic?
The height and weight combination of the turf determines the density of the final product. All of our different types of artificial turf look extremely natural, but the density of the turf is what leans a product to be better suited for either more aesthetic or more durable applications.
The height of an artificial turf product (called “pile height”) usually ranges anywhere from 1.125 inches to 2.5 inches. A shorter product is usually used for athletic areas or backyards with heavy foot traffic. A taller product is usually used for aesthetic-only purposes, like a front yard or backyard that does not get as much foot traffic. Think about it: shorter grass stays standing straight up despite heavy traffic because there is less material involved. It’s the same reason a long stick is much easier to bend/break than a short stick. The differing fiber heights make it easier to identify the different types of artificial turf.
The weight of turf is calculated by pounds of material per square yard. This unit of measurement is called “Face Weight” if what’s being measured is the turf fibers only. Some companies will provide “Total Weight” (Face Weight + Backing Weight) to make their products seem denser than they actually are so be weary. Always ask if the weight shown is Face or Total weight.
Weight does not determine the quality of the product, rather, it gives a baseline to understand overall density. On average, the face weight of a product usually ranges anywhere from about 50 ounces to 110 ounces per square yard. The denser a product is, the more resilient it is and the more traffic it can take without fibers matting.
Of course, there are many different blends of green used in turf products. These greens usually vary on a spectrum from brighter lime green to darker olive green, and touch on many different shades in the middle. Our locations carry products specifically made to fit in with the natural grasses found in their markets. The color of the thatch fibers also help to make turf look more natural and reflect the typical grasses found in a market.
ARTIFICIAL TURF DENSITY
Here’s a rule of thumb when considering different landscape turf products and their height and weight combinations:
↑ Face Weight + ↓ Pile Height = ↑ Density
Great for heavy use, pets, etc. Looks like dense freshly cut grass.
↑ Face Weight + ↑ Pile Height = Average Density
Great for standard use in residential landscapes. Looks like an average length lawn.
↓ Face Weight + ↓ Pile Height = Average Density
Great for standard use in residential landscapes. Looks like standard freshly cut grass.
↓ Face Weight + ↑ Pile Height = ↓ Density
Great for low-use spaces. Looks like less dense lawn at an average length. Some people think this looks more natural than the higher density alternatives, but it’s all personal preference.
PET FRIENDLY ARTIFICIAL TURF FOR DOGS
If you have dogs using your artificial turf area, you will want a pet friendly artificial turf product. These products are more commonly known as pet turf. What makes an artificial turf product “pet friendly” is the backing. A pet turf should have a permeable backing. Here at ProGreen, our ProFlow backing is 100% permeable, so we will use this backing on any area that dogs (or even children) will be using. It is important to have a permeable backing so that everything can drain through all the way. If not, the urine will absorb into the turf product and it will begin to smell because there is nowhere for the urine to drain.
PUTTING GREEN TURF
When building a putting green, there are very specific types of artificial turf products that must be used for the putting surface. You cannot use a landscape artificial turf product for a putting green surface. For a putting green surface, a short pile height turf must be used. The turf is usually a polypropylene (PG 4000) or nylon (PG Augusta) turf product. A polypropylene turf is usually about 1.125 inches tall. A nylon turf is usually about 0.5625 inches tall.
With a lot of polypropylene putting green installations, it is common to put a fringe around the putting surface. For the fringe, you will just want a slightly taller product that is not too dark. If the artificial turf is too tall or too dark, it will look bad and unrealistic.
Not all artificial turf products are the same. Let us help you get the right one for your home. Contact us today for a free in-home estimate.