The Best Artificial Grass for Your Outdoor Space
Tired of the lawn mowing grind or having to water the yard? Got a shady spot where you just cannot get grass to grow? Maybe it’s time to replace your real grass with artificial grass.
Artificial grass is a synthetic replacement for natural grass that requires less maintenance and stays green, no matter the weather. It’s typically made of nylon, polypropylene, or polyethylene and mimics the texture, color, and appearance of natural grass. The best artificial grass lets you enjoy most of the benefits of a lush lawn without the hassle of maintaining it.
The right artificial grass for you depends on where you want to install it, how you want it to look, whether pets will use the grass, and the amount of foot traffic the grass will get. Take a look at the top products below to find the best artificial grass for your outdoor space.
- BEST OVERALL: PET GROW PG1-4 Artificial Grass Rug
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Petgrow Deluxe Realistic Artificial Grass Turf
- BEST FOR PETS: Zen Garden PZG Premium Artificial Grass Patch
- BEST FOR GARDEN: SunVilla Realistic Indoor/Outdoor Artificial Grass
- BEST FOR BACKYARD: LITA Realistic Deluxe Artificial Grass
- BEST FOR FOOTBALL: Artificial Grass Wholesalers 15’ Foot Roll
- BEST FOR KIDS: iCustomRug Thick Turf Rugs and Runners
- BEST FOR BALCONY: Petgrow Synthetic Artificial Grass Turf
Types of Artificial Grass
There are three general types of artificial grass, each based on the type of yarn it’s made of: nylon, polyethylene, and polypropylene.
Nylon artificial grass feels most like natural grass, and it looks pleasing to the eye because its soft texture and subtle hues better mimic the look and coloring of grass. However, nylon is less durable than the other materials used to make artificial grass. It doesn’t stand up to lots of foot traffic and can be damaged by plant debris that falls naturally from trees and shrubs.
Polypropylene artificial grass is an ideal option for a lawn that must stand up to heavy foot traffic—like kids romping on it daily. It has a much higher durability rating, so it lasts a long time. The trade-off is it doesn’t look as good as nylon; polypropylene artificial grass can look manufactured or plastic.
If you want the realistic look of nylon but your yard gets a lot of foot traffic, polyethylene artificial grass is a good choice. It combines the realistic look of nylon with the durability of polypropylene, giving you long-lasting, natural-looking artificial grass. Polyethylene artificial grass is a good option for backyards or gardens where appearance is as important as durability. Polyethylene is easy to clean and deodorize, so it’s a good choice for yards that will be frequented by pets.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Artificial Grass
When shopping for the best artificial grass for your yard, there are several factors to consider.
The amount and frequency of human use is known as foot traffic. When choosing artificial grass, consider how many footsteps it will face every day. If your yard will have a high volume of foot traffic—say, lots of kids and dogs romping daily—you need to pick a material that can stand up to wear.
Artificial grass typically comes in a range of green hues. Most artificial grass products use a blend of hues to produce a more realistic appearance. High-quality artificial grass has blades with soft edges and firm tips that don’t look fake. Some artificial grasses even have a thatch layer that helps make a yard look less perfect and more realistic.
The pile height of artificial grass refers to the length of the grass blades, typically measured in inches or millimeters. The longer the pile height, the more durable the turf will be. Professional athletic fields have artificial grass with a pile height up to 3 inches so that it can withstand wear and tear. High-traffic areas like playgrounds or amateur athletic fields need a pile height of 1.5 inches to 2 inches. Medium-traffic areas like your backyard need a pile height of 1 inch to 1.5 inches. For low-traffic locations like an apartment balcony, 0.5 inch to 1 inch of pile height is suitable.
Density and Weight
Density refers to the number of stitches per 10 centimeters and distance between the stitch rows. Weight refers to the weight of the yarn and is affected by pile height. Generally the higher the density and weight of the artificial grass, the better its quality and the higher its price.
Infill and Backing
Infill is sand or sand-like material placed on top of the artificial grass to hold up the blades, weight down the turf, and mimic the absorption quality of soil. It helps an artificial lawn feel and look more realistic. It’s not included with all artificial grass products, but adding it protects your turf from heavy foot traffic and UV damage.
Backing is the material underneath the yarn. The first layer of backing (the primary backing) is a material like polypropylene with the grass fibers sewn through it. The second layer of backing is an adhesive made of latex or polyurethane that holds the woven fibers in place.
Some artificial grasses have a built-in resistance to the sun’s damaging rays, called ultraviolet (UV) protection. UV protection keeps artificial grass from fading in the sun and prevents its backing from breaking down and allowing grass fibers to come out. If you live in an area with intense sun exposure, you may want artificial grass with built-in UV resistance to make it last longer.
One of the good things about artificial grass is it’s easier to maintain. There’s no watering or fertilizing with artificial grass, nor is there any need for pesticides or fertilizer. To maintain artificial grass, be sure to rake up twigs, leaves, and other yard debris, and hose it down periodically to keep it clean and smelling fresh (especially if you have pets).
Our Top Picks
We reviewed some top-rated artificial grasses, measured them against our buying considerations, and picked some favorites.
The Pet Grow PG1-4 Artificial Grass Rug can stand up to moderate foot traffic and has a water-resistant backing, making it a good choice for a wide range of locations. This polypropylene artificial grass will work in gardens, backyards, and front yards, and it’s good for pets because it has built-in drainage holes and water-resistant rubber backing. It has a pile of 1.37 inches and a random pattern of blade shapes and four natural tones to make it look like real grass. It can stand up to tough conditions because it’s heat- and fade-resistant and has a multilayer backing for superior durability.
Petgrow’s Deluxe Realistic Artificial Turf packs a lot of features into a thrifty price. It’s made of polypropylene and has 1.37-inch blades that look realistic and can stand up to moderate foot traffic. It feels soft and blends four green tones into the yarn for a realistic turfgrass appearance. The artificial turf has drainage holes and a rubber backing to make it easy to clean and durable for long-lasting use. Those holes make it pet friendly as well, because they let urine drain away.
The Zen Garden PZG Premium Artificial Grass Patch is a good choice if you need artificial grass that can resist pet odors. This artificial grass has both polypropylene and polyethylene grass blades that don’t absorb odor from your pets’ waste, and the turf has drainage holes for easy cleaning. This grass has a long pile height of 1.6 inches, so it’s durable for foot and paw traffic and feels good underfoot. Lead-free and toxin-free, it’s safe for pets. It looks realistic, with blades dyed a blend of four colors, and has built-in frost resistance and UV resistance.
SunVilla is our pick for covering the places between your beds of flowers, shrubs, and veggies because it doesn’t need any infill to stand up to foot traffic. You can spend your energy and time tending your garden instead of your artificial grass. It’s made of polyethylene and polypropylene yarn with a tough polypropylene backing, and it has a pile of 1.38 inches. You can walk all around your beds working, watering, and weeding them, and SunVilla artificial grass can take it. Its grass blades are made in four colors of yarn to give the artificial lawn a realistic look, because blades that are all one color look fake. It’s made of nontoxic, lead-free materials, so harmful chemicals won’t leach into your garden. It’s UV resistant, too.
LITA’s artificial grass balances good looks with durability, making it a good pick for backyards where there will be lots of activity. Its blades are made of soft, durable polyethylene and polypropylene yarn that looks and feels like real grass, and four color tones mimic the shades of natural turf. Built-in UV resistance keeps it colorfast for years, while its polypropylene backing and 1.38-inch pile make it durable to foot traffic. This artificial turf has a perforated backing to allow fast drainage, so it dries out quickly after rain. The manufacturer recommends adding infill (sold separately) to extend the life of the product.
If you have kids who spend fall days playing pickup games of football in the yard or you just want to add a super-durable artificial grass to your yard, this artificial grass is a good option. It has a pile of 1.6 inches woven through a polyurethane backing with drainage holes to prevent standing water and make cleaning easier. This artificial grass uses slight variations of color, dimension, and texture to make the blades look more realistic. It even has imitation thatch at the base of the blades so it looks as imperfect as a real lawn. It’s made to stand up to the twists, turns, and jumps that come with football and other high-energy activity.
iCustomRug Thick Turf Rugs and Runners provide a soft, safe surface for kids to play on. They’re made of medium-density olefin, also known as polypropylene, that’s stain resistant and UV resistant. It has 1.25-inch long blades, so it’s soft enough to feel good under the feet and be durable but not so thick that kids can’t get a sure footing. iCustomRug artificial grass has perforations in its backing to allow rain and hose water to drain away, taking dirt and grime with it, while the binding tape on the edges keeps the artificial grass from unraveling over time.
If you find yourself living in the city but missing the feel and look of a yard, cover your balcony floor in artificial turf. This Pet Grow artificial grass has a low 0.5-inch pile that can stand up to regular foot traffic, making it a good choice for adding a patch of green in a small urban setting. It has medium-density, polypropylene grass blades and drainage holes that let rainwater drain away so no mold grows. The artificial grass has rubber backing that can be placed directly on the concrete floor of the balcony, so it’s easy to install.
FAQs About Artificial Grass
Are you still wondering what the best artificial grass is for you? Take a look at these frequently asked questions.
Q. Can dogs pee on artificial grass?
Animal urine may damage live grass, but it drains through the backing of artificial grass, leaving the surface undamaged.
Q. Can you put artificial grass on top of real grass?
You can, but you shouldn’t. Doing so can cause long-term problems like grass or weeds growing through the artificial grass backing as well as poor drainage that can shorten the life span of your artificial grass.
Q. How do you maintain artificial grass?
Artificial grass takes less work to maintain than a live lawn, but it’s not maintenance-free. To keep it looking its great and prolong its life span, follow these maintenance tips:
- Brush the lawn with a stiff-bristled broom to remove any leaves or twigs when necessary. You can also use a leaf blower to make the job easier.
- Regularly trim hedges, trees, and other plants nearby to reduce the amount of lawn debris falling on the artificial grass.
- Apply weed killer twice a year to keep weeds from growing through the backing.
- If you have a pet, clean and deodorize the artificial grass with a special enzymatic cleaning spray or use natural cleaners like baking soda or a water and vinegar solution.
Q. How long will artificial grass last?
On average, artificial grass lasts 15 to 20 years. The amount of maintenance and traffic volume affects the life span of artificial grass.