Blog post

Outdoor Design Choice: Real or Fake Grass?

20 March 2017

Fake or real grass. Which one is better?

The artificial grass industry has come a very long way thanks to technological advances and the ever-growing need to conserve water. However, while fake grass is a very flexible, attractive and low-maintenance option, real grass is still considered the popular go-to choice for being natural, environmentally friendly and kinder on kids.

If you are considering grass installation for the front, sides or back of your home, but haven’t quite decided which grass type is right for you – the following guide will help you come to a decidion.


Appearances are subjective. One of the best ways to decide on what ‘grass look’ you would prefer is to visit a display home village, a lawn-specific display centre, pick up some home landscaping design magazines or even search sites online for lots of inspirational content and visual examples.

Many people enjoy the aesthetics of natural grass for its natural beauty. However, the trouble often today is maintaining a well-kept natural grass with water restrictions and the cost of water. Don’t discard that natural grass just yet though, because there are ways on keeping real grass and having it look good all year round while using a minimal amount of water – it will however take time and maintenance through fertilising and regular mowing. But is there anything better then to have the perfect lawn at your home?

Artificial grass (nicknamed ‘fake’ grass), was originally manufactured for sporting surfaces where its performance was the most important factor.  Its popularity then extended to landscape use, where synthetic turf manufactures began to refine the turf’s appearance. Today there are many types of attractive ‘fake’ grasses that look almost realistic, though upon closer inspection you will see the key difference.

The key difference to tell its fake is by whether they have a certain shine to them, as they are plastic, after all.

An abundance of real grass seen at the front of the the home helps create an authentic country feel. 


2. Feel

Artificial and natural turf feels different on the skin, however you’ll find a good variety of each that are soft and comfortable for playing, sitting and lying on. One of the key differences between the two is that artificial grass warms up in the sum, while real grass stays cool. On the other hand, fake grass does not attract bees and other insects.

Again, visiting a display home village near you would be a great way to touch the variety of grasses to see what you like best. Search Plunkett Homes Display’s here.

Fake grass laid out in sectioned off circles outside the front of the home. The great thing about fake grass is you can be very creative with it. 

3. Maintenance and Longevity

Natural grass may very well ‘last forever’ providing it is maintained properly. In comparison to fake grass, real grass will require more maintenance in the form of mowing, fertilising, watering and weed control.

With fake grass, it may surprise some to hear that it still requires some maintenance, though, not as much as real grass. It will require brushing, grooming and refilling around twice a year to keep the grass blades standing upright. You can either get a contractor to do this for you, for a fee, or you can do it yourself – you’ll just need to buy the right equipment. In doing this, fake grass should last you around 15 years before needing to be replaced.

A major bonus of using artificial grass is having no ‘dead’ spots, worn spots, insect damage or disease problems, and it can also stand up to dogs very well while looking great all year round. If fake grass did get damaged, it can be repaired similar to carpet.

Neatly arranged front landscaping featuring a mulch bed with plants, next to a square cut of real grass outside the Modena Display. A very maintainable design with real grass that limits mess. Located in Woodvale by Plunkett Homes. 


4. The Family

Fake grass is great for people who suffer from real grass allergies or insect allergies – so no more hayfever attacks after the lawn has been mowed.

Fake grass can be installed anywhere, without regard for sun, shade or soil. On the downside,  though because fake grass heats up in Summer, it isn’t always the best choice when it comes to children. Natural grass is up to 15 C cooler than the ambient temperature on a hot day in comparison to paving or bitumen and can help cool down your home.

Gorgeous bright fake grass that will stay bright, seen outside this street-envy elevation. You’ll never have to worry about this front garden, because it can practically look after itself. 


5. Environmental Impact

Natural turf will require more watering, more mowing and the possible use of fertilisers and chemicals. However, real grass will filter rain into the soil instead of allowing it to run off into the gutter, and this helps eradicate greenhouse gases such as Co2, Co and So2 plus other pollutants.

Did you know? About 100 square metres of lawn emits enough oxygen throughout the day for a family of four.

On the other hand, synthetic turf does not require watering, fertilisers, chemicals or mowing, however they are manufactured from plastics containing petrochemicals. 

Real grass doesn’t have to be overused around the home nor high-maintenance, rather, consider using it sparingly in sections, as seen in this example, the Southampton Display.

6. Affordability and Installation

Initial or upfront cost is always a key factor that drives many people to sway one way or another. Fake grass will cost you somewhere between $75 - $100 per square metre to supply and install including preparation, while natural grass will cost around $25 per square metre to supply and install depending on base preparation.

The upside of fake grass is that it costs very little to maintain after it’s installed, whereas natural grass will have on-going maintenance costs. This is a grey area where you must decide for yourself what kind of grass best suits your lifestyle while taking those who will be living with you in the same home.


Another thoughtfully-arranged front landscaping design featuring a mulch garden with healthy real grass (that looks so good, people might think its fake!).


7. Keep Quality Above Price

Before going in to buy grass, it needs to be kept in mind that it is going to stay permanently where it’s laid. The quality factor therefore should always be the choosing factor with price coming secondary. Research the supplier and their range of products, making sure to ask for samples for testing before diving into the price factor. 

This example of fake grass looks so real against this gorgeous white-schemed home, neighbours will wonder how you keep it looking to perfection. 


8. Foot Traffic

Knowing the capacity of traffic that will be on the grass area is important because you want to consider how much wear and tear will impact the grass and therefore the cost to repair. It’s best to consider how often the grass will be walked over and therefore this factor may very well determine which type of grass is for you.

Another example of how real grass can look simple and effective, but very maintainable.


9. Surface Area

Another important factor which can’t be ignored is the surface area that you want to keep the grass contained in, whether it be real or fake. In the case of bigger spaces, not only does the price per square metre increase, but so too, does the maintenance cost. If you’re chasing a low maintenance grass floor, then be strategic in your surface area landscaping design.

In Summary

Ah, so real grass or fake grass, that was the question. Did this blog help?

To sum it up, think about what you like the look and feel of, how much time you have to give to maintenance, your environmental preferences, how often it will be walked over, do you need it to be children-friendly and your location.

And as for cost - if you are planning on keeping the grass for 10 years or more, then cost considerations will even themselves out.

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