In these days of unprecedented heat waves and extended droughts, conserving water is more important than ever. There are many ways a household or business can go about saving water, but the fact remains that one of the biggest consumers of water in any given area is most likely your lawn.
Lawns require a great deal of water in order to remain healthy and green throughout the hot summer months, even in relatively temperate areas like the Pacific Northwest. Fortunately, Portland residents are beginning to adopt artificial turf lawns, which helps frugal homeowners conserve a great deal of water and save money in the process. And artificial turf isn’t just for Portland homes. It can be used anywhere.
In this article, we’ll help you figure out which artificial turf is best for your home or business, how it works, and how to have it installed. We’ll also share a few tips on how to ensure your artificial turf maximizes water conservation.
Artificial Turf: The Basics
Artificial turf is designed to replicate the look and feel of natural grass as much as possible. It is meant to increase curb appeal for homes, as well as create a safe place for children and animals to play. It is also intended to avoid some of the drawbacks that are inherent with natural grass lawns.
The visible part of the artificial turf—that is, the blades—is made from either nylon or polyethylene. Polyethylene is a type of plastic, made from the same material as plastic shopping bags and soda bottles. An artificial lawn may also be made from recycled materials.
Beneath the blades is a sturdy backing material that the blades are attached to. The whole thing sits on top of a layer of cushioning, often made from recycled rubber car tires. The system must be able to drain water, much like a natural lawn does, so artificial turf is often constructed with a series of drainage holes throughout. Beneath the cushioning, there may be a layer of gravel or sand to aid with water drainage.
How Is It Made?
Since it’s important that artificial turf resemble real grass as much as possible, it has to be made in a very precise way. The polyethylene used to make up the blades of grass is combined with a dye (usually various shades of green) and a few other chemicals to create some UV resistance and prevent fading with the sun. The material is then passed through an extruder to create the blades of grass, which are attached to the backing using a tufting machine.
Once the tufting machine has stitched each of the thousands of grass blades onto the sheet of artificial grass, it is coated with a latex mixture, strengthening it and making it durable. Once the mixture cures—usually helped along by heat lamps—the sheets of artificial grass can be rolled up and sent away to the companies that sell and install it.
How Is It Installed?
Once the artificial turf is shipped off to a company, it can be installed in the yard of a home or business. Top-tier turf install companies like Sportech only use the best materials, highly trained workers, and specialized equipment to prep your yard and upgrade it with artificial turf.
Once the area of your yard is chosen to install the artificial grass, installers from Sportech will lay down a base layer for drainage, usually sand or gravel, depending on what best serves the area of installation. The cushion layer is laid atop the base layer, then the installers will secure the turf with special nails, designed specifically for that purpose. The final step has installers precisely trim the lawn to the exact specifications of the client.
Conserve Water With Artificial Turf
One of the biggest advantages of artificial turf is that, since it is not alive and therefore does not grow, it does not require water in the way that a natural lawn does. A natural lawn is a serious drain on your resources and wallet, guzzling gallons of water each week. At the best of times, this drives your utility bills up significantly. At worst, natural lawns can make droughts worse, be an eyesore when regular watering is restricted, and have other disastrous effects on the environment.
Not requiring any watering is the most basic way that artificial turf can conserve water, but there are other ways too. For example, water pollution is one of the causes for the decrease in available potable water sources for humans. One of the major causes of water pollution is pesticides and fertilizers that are used on natural lawns and washed into these water sources. An artificial lawn doesn’t require fertilizers or pesticides of any kind.
A lawn that doesn’t require any water at all, save a minuscule amount used for cleaning, will not only save you a great deal of money, it will also lessen the amount of toxic materials entering the environment.
If you fail to water a natural lawn, the grass will turn an unsightly brown color. Withhold water long enough, and it will die off entirely, leaving ugly patches of dirt where there used to be green grass. An artificial lawn will not have this problem and it will remain green, no matter how little water it gets. It will never die and leave patches of bare dirt in your yard.
Natural lawns can also turn brown and die off if they don’t get adequate sunlight. This means that any lawn growing under the shade of a large tree is at risk. An artificial lawn, however, requires no sunlight and can be installed in areas where natural grass will not grow.
Finally, artificial grass is safer in general for children and pets. It will never become muddy and put family members at risk of slipping or track mud into your house. It will also never require toxic pesticides that can be a danger to beloved pets or kids.
In the Portland area, where the weather can vary widely enough to make a natural lawn more trouble than it’s worth, an artificial lawn will save you money, conserve water, and withstand the fury of the elements year after year. Contact Sportech today and get a quote on improving your curb appeal, making your lawn easier to manage, and creating a beautiful landscape for years to come.