Are you considering installing artificial grass in your Texas home?
If so, you’re not alone.
Synthetic turf is becoming an increasingly popular option for homeowners looking for a low-maintenance, durable surface that can be used for a variety of purposes.
But with so many different types and brands of artificial grass on the market, it can be difficult to know which product is right for your space.
That’s why we’ve created this guide to artificial grass—to help you learn about the different options available and identify the best artificial grass product for your needs.
We’ll cover the different types of turf made for specific uses and applications, and explain what you should be looking for in an artificial turf product.
Here are some of the things we’ll discuss in this guide:
- Artificial Grass Terminology
- The different types of artificial grass available
- How to choose the right type of artificial grass for your needs
- What features to look for in a turf product
- Characteristics of the best artificial grass
What Do You Need Artificial Grass For?
When it comes to artificial grass, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Different types of turf are made for specific uses and applications.
You’ll need to consider your needs and preferences before making a purchase.
In this guide, we’ll cover the different elements of artificial grass and explain what you should be looking for in an artificial turf product.
We’ll also provide some helpful tips on how to choose the right turf for your home.
How To Choose the Best Artificial Grass for Your Space?
It can be a bit overwhelming to shop for artificial grass for the first time.
When considering an artificial turf installation, you should first identify the purpose of the turf.
Is the artificial grass for a playground, pet area, putting green, or front yard?
Once you know where the turf will be installed, it is easier to determine the key factors in choosing the best artificial grass for the space.
The best artificial grass for a playground will have a higher pile height to cushion falls.
For pet areas, durability and drainage are key factors.
Artificial grass for a front yard needs to look natural and realistic.
Once you know where the turf will be installed, you can begin researching different brands and products to find the best artificial grass for your space.
When researching artificial grass, it’s important to identify the best turf product for your specific application.
- How much foot traffic will the turf receive?
- Will dogs or pets be using the space?
- Will kids be using the space?
- Is the space in the sun or shade?
- Is it prone to puddles or standing water?
These questions and more will help you hone in on what features you’ll need in your artificial grass.
Additionally, it’s important to research different brands and products to ensure you’re getting the best quality turf available.
Ask your turf distributor or installer for information on specific products to make sure you’re making an informed purchase.
2. Learn the Lingo: Artificial Grass Terminology
There is a lot of terminology that is specific to artificial grass that it will help to understand when researching turf products.
Below, we’ll provide an overview of the specific terminology to ensure that you know exactly what certain features are and why they’re important.
Understanding artificial grass terminology will help you interpret product specifications and find the best artificial grass for your project.
Yarn / Turf Fibers
Artificial grass is manufactured using one or a combination of three types of yarn: polyethylene, polypropylene, and nylon.
Yarn comes in a variety of colors, thicknesses, and shapes to mimic specific species of grass.
Polyethylene is the most popular yarn material because of the versatility offered. It also offers an ideal balance between durability, softness, and aesthetics.
It’s the most realistic-looking grass available and behaves the most like real grass.
Polyethylene is extremely resistant to water absorption, meaning it does not keep pet odors. If you are concerned about odors, this is the material you should choose.
It’s softer than nylon but more durable than polypropylene, making it a good middle ground suitable for a variety of applications.
Polypropylene is less durable and less expensive than the other two materials.
When used in the blades of grass, polypropylene is the thinnest and the softest of the three materials.
It has a relatively high melting point (320°-331° F), and it is most commonly used as a thatch layer.
Nylon is the most expensive and durable yarn material.
Its most important quality is its strength, resilience, and heat resistance.
It is best used in high-traffic areas or sports where tackling and sliding are not common.
Good uses of nylon artificial grass include commercial applications like rooftop decks, as well as home applications like backyard putting greens.
Synthetic grass can be created with different colors and various blade heights.
The extrusion process is kind of like squeezing play-dough through different shapes.
Synthetic grass blades are shaped in a similar process.
Each blade shape serves a different purpose and determines how the turf will perform in different situations.
Turfs that have oval-shaped fibers are commonly found in many different landscape installations.
These fibers feel soft to the touch while still maintaining durability.
Diamond De-Lustered Fiber
Synthetic turf that features a diamond de-lustered shape maintains a soft but sturdier feel.
It works ideally as a landscape grass for commercial and residential areas.
Shaped like the letter ‘V,’ the Vista blade creates a more durable and strong feel and allows for the turf, as a whole, to have stronger durability.
3D “W” Fiber
The 3D ‘W’ fiber is a strong fiber that can withstand large amounts of pressure and helps the turf, as a whole, bounce back to its original state.
The blade offers multiple support points which allows for greater durability and a “memory” effect.
The turf will bounce back to its original state, despite the surface weight.
Flattened Oval with Spine Fiber
The Flattened Oval with Spine turf fiber gives turf a realistic appearance and creates a stronger blade core.
The omega blade shape can be found most often in pet turfs as well as shorter pile heights.
Mini “C” Shaped Fiber
The Mini C-shaped blade gives the turf a natural look and helps the synthetic grass feel soft to the touch.
This blade shape can be applied on any installation, however, it is most commonly found on residential and commercial property landscapes.
Mini “W” Shaped Fiber
Shaped like the letter ‘W,’ the Mini “W” blade shape creates higher durability, as a whole.
Used widely for areas with high foot traffic, the Mini W blade is ideal for any playgrounds, sports field or landscape.
“M” Shaped Fiber
The “M” shaped blade creates more durability making the turf ideal for heavy foot traffic.
Used primarily for areas that experience high amounts of foot traffic, the “M” blade is great for landscapes with high amounts of foot traffic.
The density of a turf product refers to the number of blades per square inch.
This is similar to the thread count in sheets, and is sometimes referred to as “stitch count.”
As a general rule, a higher density or denser stitch count is indicative of higher-quality turf.
Turf products with a high density are more durable and once installed offer a much more realistic artificial grass lawn.
Pile height is a measurement from the backing of the artificial turf to the end of the grass fibers.
In the US, pile height is generally measured in inches and it’s one of many factors that you’ll want to consider when selecting the right artificial grass for your lawn.
Shorter Pile Height: A shorter pile height is best for high-traffic areas like sports fields and dog runs. The shorter fibers are more resilient to matting and can withstand foot traffic and heavy use a lot better.
Taller Pile Height: A taller pile height is best used in spaces where aesthetics are an important factor. For example, a true-to-life artificial grass front yard is achieved with turf products ranging from 1 ¼ and 2 ½ inches.
The weight of turf is calculated by ounces of material per square yard.
This unit of measurement is called “Face Weight” if what’s being measured is the turf fibers only.
A method used by some turf companies to make their products seem denser is to provide “Total Weight” (Face Weight + Backing Weight).
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.
Thatch is additional fiber with varying color, weight, and texture that mimics the inconsistencies of natural grass.
Thatch often includes brown fibers that replicate the dying under-layer of grass beneath the vibrant green, growing one.
If you’re looking for a synthetic grass product for your front or back lawn, a product with thatch will get you the closest look to the real thing.
In addition to providing a realistic texture to turf, thatch also plays a role in the density of the turf.
This is because thatch is included in face weight. In general: products without thatch are much more dense at the top of the pile.
Products with thatch have a more balanced density from top to bottom.
Infill plays an important role in any artificial turf installation.
The most common infill material used is silica sand, which is poured over the turf and then brushed until it settles between the turf fibers.
The infill helps keep the individual turf fibers upright and acts as a ballast to prevent the turf from shifting.
Additionally, the infill provides a more realistic feel to the turf when you walk on it, as well as protecting the backing from sun damage.
As the turf industry has grown, the number of infill materials has increased with some brands offering antimicrobial, anti-odor, or cooling properties.
The best type of infill for your installation depends on how the turf will be used.
Silica Sand Infill: Silica sand is derived of quartz that has been eroded by wind and water. As the quartz erodes, it breaks down into small granules. This material is used in several commercial applications, including artificial grass infill. Silica sand infill is ideal for areas that don’t get a lot of traffic, such as hills, thick turfs, balconies, commercial spaces, or open fields that aren’t used a lot.
T°Cool™ Infill: T°Cool® Infill is a newer type of artificial grass infill that cools artificial grass through a process of evaporative cooling. This is the best infill for pet-friendly turf applications as it keeps the turf cooler by as much as 30° – 50° F.
Envirofill: Envirofill infill is a silica sand-based infill that’s coated with a green acrylic that provides antimicrobial properties to help prevent the buildup of odors and bacteria caused by pet urine. It’s basically the same thing as T°Cool® Infill, but without the cooling feature.
The backing on synthetic grass has two parts: primary backing and secondary backing.
Both the primary and secondary backings work together to provide dimensional stability to the entire system.
The Primary Backing is comprised of woven polypropylene fabrics that allow the artificial grass fibers to be tufted into the material in rows and facilitate seaming between artificial grass panels.
In other words it’s the durable material that the grass blades/fibers are stitched to.
A good backing will resist stretching.
The Secondary Backing is often referred to as the ‘coating’ and is applied to the reverse side of the primary backing in order to permanently lock the tufted fibers in place.
Together, the primary and secondary backing make up the “back weight.”
You can expect to see a back weight above 26 oz. on a high-quality turf product.
A decent back weight is a must for any installation area that will see heavy traffic.
Just as natural grass comes in a variety of colors, so does synthetic grass.
High-quality artificial grass will include a number of colors to mirror the look of real grass.
You can find artificial grass in combinations of lime or field greens, olive, emerald green, beige, bi-color green, and more shades of greens that replicate texture and varieties of natural grass.
Choose a color that most closely mirrors the natural grass species in your area.
The turf fibers and thatch are often different colors to create a more realistic appearance.
A common misconception about artificial grass installations is that the turf is simply installed over dirt.
If any company says this is how they’ll be installing your project, RUN!
The “base” is what a company will install and compact underneath the artificial turf.
A durable, drainable base underneath the artificial turf is very important.
Decomposed granite and class II road base are the most commonly used materials for a base.
The best practice for the base underneath a turf installation is to compact 4” of the base material.
This helps to ensure a more durable area with better drainage.
However, the amount of base used is completely dependent on turf application and property attributes.
3. Compare & Contrast Features
With the knowledge of artificial grass terminology, you will be better equipped to compare and contrast the features of different turf products.
Here are a few specifications you’ll find on each synthetic turf product:
- Thatch Color
- Blade Shape
- Blade Height
- Antimicrobial Properties
The importance of these features will differ depending on where and why you’re installing artificial grass.
For pets, turf products with good drainage and antimicrobial properties are important features to look for.
A front yard artificial grass lawn will require turf products with the right colors, pile height, and density.
Read on to know which features are the most relevant for your project.
4. Budget & Finances
When researching artificial grass for your home, it’s important to weigh all the associated costs.
Installing artificial grass should be considered an investment, and while the upfront cost of artificial grass may be high, the long-term benefits are worth it.
One of the biggest benefits of artificial grass is the long-term savings on water and maintenance – in fact, the artificial turf pays for itself in about three to five years.
There are also financial benefits to installing synthetic turf, such as less hassle for mowing/weeding/fertilizing, increased home value, and boosted curb appeal.
Many turf companies offer financing options to assist homeowners in their artificial grass investment.
What Characteristics Should You Look For in the Best Artificial Grass?
It’s important to remember that there isn’t a single “best” turf product.
The “best” artificial grass will be different depending on where you intend to install it and what it’s primary use will be.
What might be considered the “best” artificial grass for dogs will be very different from the “best” artificial grass for a front yard lawn.
The front yard will have less foot/paw traffic and the best artificial grass will be a more aesthetically pleasing turf product.
Alternatively, the “best” artificial grass for dogs will be a durable turf product that drains dog urine efficiently and has a shorter pile height, making it easier to remove solid waste.
Those are just two quick examples.
Below, we’ll explore the most important characteristics of artificial grass so you know what to look for when trying to find the best artificial grass for your space.
1. Durability & Longevity
When researching the best artificial grass for your space, it’s easy to forget how much abuse synthetic turf experiences.
This is especially true here in Texas, where the weather is sporadic, to say the least.
Your artificial grass may be stationary but will spend 24/7/365 out in Texas’ extreme heat, cold, wind, and rain.
Fortunately, the materials used in manufacturing modern artificial turf products are extremely durable.
High-quality turf products are able to withstand heavy foot-traffic year after year.
The only effort required on your part will be to occasionally spray the turf with a hose to wash away any dust and fluff the fibers with a stiff-bristle boom.
A pretty simple way to gauge a company’s confidence in its turf products is to look at the warranty offered by the manufacturer.
The length of the warranty is a clear indicator of how long the manufacturer expects the turf product to last.
Also, synthetic grass is not meant to last forever, so “Lifetime Warranty” offers are likely not intended to be kept by the manufacturer.
2. Can Withstand Heavy Foot Traffic / Usage
One of the most important features to look for in the best artificial grass is resilient and springy turf fibers that resist matting and laying flat.
The turf fibers should slowly return to an upright position when walked on.
Infill also plays an important role in helping the turf fibers return to an upright position.
The infill material settles between the turf fibers and supports them from the base.
Different turf products will withstand differing amounts of usage and foot traffic.
How much foot traffic a turf product can endure is largely dependent upon the fiber material, blade shape, and density.
While you may pay more for extra durability, artificial grass is a “buy it nice or buy it twice” purchase.
You don’t want to regret your purchase in a few years when you discover that the cheaper turf product you chose can’t handle the foot traffic in your space.
3. Lush & Full Appearance
One of the biggest advantages of artificial grass over natural grass is the lush and full appearance of the former.
A lush full turf product will not only look better but will be a lot more comfortable to walk on.
For lush and full artificial grass, pay attention to the pile height, thatch, infill, and density.
These elements work together to create a more lush and natural-looking artificial grass.
Another important aspect of lush and full artificial grass is to properly maintain your turf installation.
Don’t worry, maintaining artificial grass is extremely simple and straightforward.
Use a stiff bristle broom to fluff turf fibers in high-traffic areas to prevent matting and maintain a lush and full appearance.
To learn more, check out our detailed guide to Artificial Turf Maintenance.
4. Efficient Drainage System
One of the most important considerations when trying to find the best artificial grass for your space is drainage.
It’s essential that water and pet urine are able to pass through the turf and into the base below.
That means that liquids will need to pass through the turf’s backing.
There are two types of turf backings or turf drainage systems: fully-permeable and hole-punched.
A Fully-permeable backing is just what it sounds like, a backing that allows water and pet urine to pass through any point in the turf.
Fully-permeable backings are most commonly found on pet-turf products, but they’re also a good choice for areas that receive a lot of rain or are prone to flooding or pooling water.
Hole-punched backing is the most common type of backing found on turf products.
Having been around for decades, this is a tried and true turf drainage system.
The turf backing has holes punched through it every few inches, and water makes its way to the holes and passes through the turf and into the base below.
This type of backing is not recommended for pet applications because the urine can pool in the areas between the holes, which can cause a buildup of odor and bacteria.
5. Antimicrobial Properties
One of the biggest problems with pet turf applications of artificial grass has been the buildup of odors and bacteria from urine.
More efficient, fully-permeable drainage has helped to combat this.
Another feature some turf manufacturers started adding to turf products is antimicrobial additives.
The additives are incorporated into the turf products during the manufacturing process, making the materials antimicrobial.
The antimicrobial properties are part of the turf product and not a coating that will wear out over time.
An antimicrobial turf product should provide protection for the life of the product.
Some products will have antimicrobial fibers, while others will have antimicrobial backings.
The antimicrobial backing is more effective at combating odors from pet urine because that’s where the urine will build up over time.
If you have pets or children on your lawn often, you should strongly consider a fake grass for dogs product with antimicrobial properties.
6. Realistic Colors
Artificial grass comes in a wide range of colors.
This means that you should be able to find a turf product for your space that closely matches the nearby natural grass.
The different pile heights, thatch fibers, and blade shapes mean that synthetic grasses can mimic a variety of natural grass species.
What color turf product you choose will depend largely on where you’re planning to install it.
If it will be in your backyard and out of view, then the color is up to you.
For more visible installations like a front yard, you should compare turf product samples with the grass of your neighbors’ lawns and try to find the closest match.
This will make your lawn look more natural, or more like a perfect version of your neighbor’s lawn.
7. Reputable Turf Installer
Choosing the best artificial grass for your space is a great first step, but the turf now needs to be properly installed.
The rapid growth of the artificial grass industry in recent years has led to some less than reputable people entering the turf industry.
Even with the best artificial grass, an installer that doesn’t know what they’re doing can result in a disastrous installation.
It’s important that you work with a trustworthy and reputable artificial grass installer that has the experience and expertise to handle your installation.
Read reviews from multiple sources like Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc. when comparing turf installers.
Also, ask questions about the turf company’s products and installation processes.
A reputable and trustworthy turf company should be happy to provide you with all the information you want about their products and processes.
As mentioned earlier in this post, installing artificial grass isn’t cheap.
Turf companies that provide quotes that are significantly lower than other quotes you’ve received are most likely skimping on materials to provide a lower quote.
If the price you’re quoted sounds too good to be true… it probably is.
What is the Best Artificial Grass for My Space?
As we’ve hopefully established by now, there is no “best” artificial grass product.
Each turf product is equipped with different features or made with materials that make it suited to different applications.
To help you hone in on the best artificial grass for your project, we’re going to provide recommendations for each of the most common residential turf applications.
You’ll know exactly what to look for in a turf product whether it’s for a dog run, a lawn or yard, a children’s play area, a pool area, a patio, or putting green.
The Best Artificial Grass for Lawns & Yards
A source of pride for many homeowners here in Texas and throughout the country is a lush, green lawn.
Unfortunately, most homeowners quickly discover the difficulty of taking care of a natural grass lawn.
This is especially true here in Texas, where the hot climate prevents natural grass from growing in abundance.
Maintaining a natural grass lawn is prohibitively expensive and time-consuming.
More and more homeowners have begun to recognize the benefits of replacing their natural grass with an artificial grass lawn.
What features to look for in the best artificial grass for lawns and yards:
- Long Pile Height: A pile height of 1.5″ – 2″ will provide a lush, soft ground cover that can withstand moderate to heavy foot traffic.
- UV-Protection: Incorporated into the turf fibers during manufacturing, this helps to prevent fading and damage from the sun.
- Hole-Punch Backing: This should provide sufficient drainage.
- T°Cool™ Infill: Help cool the turf in the Texas sun.
If you see a lot of heavy rain in your area, you should look for turf products with a fully permeable backing to allow for maximum drainage.
The Best Artificial Grass for Roofs, Decks, Patios & Outdoor Living Spaces
For most people, artificial grass is just a replacement for natural grass, and installing it in places where natural grass doesn’t grow never even crosses their minds.
One of the biggest benefits of artificial grass is its versatility.
You can install faux grass pretty much anywhere you can imagine.
An increasingly popular application is artificial grass roofs, decks, patios, and outdoor living spaces.
Drab and boring spaces can be transformed into lush, green, and inviting spaces.
What features to look for in the best artificial grass for roofs, decks, patios, and outdoor living spaces:
- UV-Protection: Prevents turf from fading or being damaged by the sun.
- W-Shaped Blades: Help dissipate light and keep temperatures lower.
- Fully Permeable Backing: Allows for more efficient draining and deter mold from growing.
- Moderate Pile Height: A pile height of 1.5″ to 1.75″ will provide a lush and full surface.
The Best Artificial Grass for Dogs & Pets
Dogs are notoriously hard on grass.
Digging holes and causing brown spots by repeatedly urinating in the same spot are two of the most common issues faced by homeowners.
Trying to maintain a natural grass lawn with dogs is pretty much impossible, especially here in Texas where the extreme heat kills the grass faster than any dog.
Recent years have seen an explosion of artificial grass for dogs as homeowners recognize the futility of maintaining a natural grass lawn.
Some homeowners choose to replace their entire lawn with fake grass, while others build a dog run or designated pet area with artificial grass.
Whichever route you choose, watch out for the following features in the best artificial grass for dogs:
- Fully-Permeable Backing: Allows dog urine to pass straight through the turf
- Antimicrobial Technology: Help combat the buildup of odor-causing bacteria
- Shorter Pile Height: A pile height of 1″ – 1.25″ makes it easier to pick up solid waste
- T°Cool Infill: Antimicrobial properties and the evaporative cooling protects paws.
The Best Artificial Grass for Swimming Pool Areas
An increasingly popular area to install artificial grass is around swimming pools.
Faux grass makes a much better ground cover than concrete to have around your swimming pool.
This is especially true if you have children, which you’re probably aware cannot resist running on the concrete surrounding the pool.
Slips and falls are all too common, which is why synthetic grass has become the go-to ground cover for pool areas.
What features to look for in the best artificial grass for around swimming pools:
- Fully Permeable Backing: Allows splashed pool water to drain away quickly and efficiently.
- Moderate Pile Height: A pile height of 1.25″ to 1.5″ will provide a nice, soft, slip-resistant surface.
- UV-Protection: Prevents turf from fading or being damaged by the sun.
The Best Artificial Grass for Putting Greens
Maintaining a natural grass putting green is notoriously difficult, time-consuming, and expensive.
Fortunately, artificial grass has progressed to the point that it’s indistinguishable from natural grass, making it perfect for backyard putting greens.
Homeowners throughout Texas are enjoying working on their short game in the comfort of their backyard.
No more driving to the nearest golf course, or paying fees to get a little practice in.
What features to look for in the best artificial grass for putting greens:
- Short Pile Height: A pile height of 0.5″ – 0.75″ will be best.
- Nylon Fibers: Nylon fibers provide a smoother and more consistent surface.
Drainage isn’t a major concern with putting green turf, so most products will have a solid rubber backing.
The Best Artificial Grass for Playgrounds & Play Areas
Just like dogs, kids and natural grass don’t really mix.
A children’s play area with natural grass can quickly become a muddy disaster that kids inevitably track through the house.
Artificial grass play areas and playgrounds offer homeowners a simple, safe, and long-lasting solution.
Replacing the natural grass with artificial grass will eliminate the mud, dirt, and pests found in natural grass.
It’s also a softer surface that will help to reduce injuries from falls.
What features to look for in the best artificial grass for playgrounds and play areas:
- Fully-Permeable Backing: Drains water efficiently and prevents puddles.
- Antimicrobial Technology: Reduce germs, odors, and bacteria.
- Long Pile Height: A pile height of 1.5″ – 2″ will provide a lush, soft ground cover that can withstand moderate to heavy foot traffic.
- Foam Padding (Underlay): This is optional. Most homeowners choose not to use the foam padding. They find the turf and infill to provide more than enough cushion.
Final Thoughts on How to Choose the Best Artificial Grass for Your Space
The variety of artificial grass products available increases every day.
You can find a turf product to fit just about every climate, application, location, and budget.
Fortunately, this guide has provided you with the information and knowledge needed to identify the best artificial grass for your project.
While this guide is extensive, there is a lot more to learn about artificial grass.
If you are ready to get started on your artificial grass journey, we recommend you explore our website a bit.
Our aim is to provide the information and resources that you can use to educate yourself about the many features and options available.
- Artificial Grass
- Turf Drainage
- Infill Options
- Antimicrobial Technology
- Installation Process
- Maintenance & Cleaning
- Artificial Grass Costs
We have artificial turf products for every situation, free quotes, and world-class customer support.
Let’s get an expert on your side to help you put together the perfect installation plan.
We have teams of the best artificial grass installers in Arlington, TX.
At Arlington Turf Installers, we are happy to help you explore this decision by answering any of your questions.