7 Tips for Choosing Artificial Grass for Your Lawn

Amy Pawlukiewicz
Written by Amy Pawlukiewicz
Updated May 18, 2022
A happy girl holding tray with toys
Photo: Cavan Images / Cavan / Getty Images

Are those lawns real or fake?

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Artificial grass can work as a great alternative to natural grass—if you get the right kind. Before deciding whether or not fake grass is right for your lawn, there are a few things you should think about. Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect artificial grass for your yard.

1. Learn the Terminology

Artificial grass is complicated—you’ve probably heard the word “turf” thrown around, but there are a handful of other terms you should learn.


The backing is vital because it helps your artificial grass hold up when foot traffic gets heavy. There are two types of backing—primary and secondary—that work together to stabilize your artificial grass. 

  • Primary backing helps the artificial grass lie in tufts and is made of durable fabric.

  • Secondary backing is the coating to lock everything in place.

Look for a backing weight of 26 ounces and above to ensure that you’re choosing good-quality turf.


Artificial grass is stitched together, and the density is the number of blades that are stitched together per square inch. The higher the density, the higher the quality of artificial grass.

Face Weight

The amount of ounces per square yard of turf is known as the face weight. Like density, a heavier face weight means a better quality turf, so look for higher numbers when considering face weight.


Infill plays several roles in your artificial grass, including stabilizing the fibers to make it look more realistic, cushioning your feet, and preventing sun damage. You can also choose an infill that’s anti-odor, antimicrobial, or cooling. Usually constructed from silica sand or crumb rubber, infill is the substance that prevents your turf from staying flattened when people walk on it.

Pile Height

Like the yarn fibers in carpeting, the pile height of your artificial grass is the height of the blades. Look for a pile height of 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 inches for the lushest, most realistic-looking lawn. Heights of 3/8 to 5/8 inches are best for high-traffic areas.


The sub-base is the layer of materials, usually sand, granite, river rocks, or gravel, that you put underneath your artificial grass to keep it smooth. Putting artificial grass on top of dirt will cause it to develop flaws like dimples and dents as the soil expands and contracts when wet or dry.


Thatch is fibers of different colors and textures that mimic natural grass. Sometimes thatch is tan and curlier or coarser, and it gives your artificial lawn a more natural look than just the turf fibers.

2. Examine Your Needs

It helps if you consider a few things closely before choosing your artificial lawn. Some questions to answer for yourself are:

  • Will the turf be in the sun or shade?

  • Do you get a lot of standing water in the area?

  • How much foot traffic do you expect?

  • Will your pets be using the artificial grass?

Once you have answers to those questions, you can research different offerings. Each listing should specify which turf is best for each scenario.

3. Sample, Sample, Sample

Examples of artificial grass
Photo: Olha / Adobe Stock

Most artificial grass suppliers will be happy to send you samples of whichever types of turf you want to try if you request them. Doing your online research is essential, but don’t buy artificial grass before you can feel it for yourself. By getting samples, you can examine the color, density, pile height, face weight, and overall quality before making a big purchase. 

4. Count on Precipitation

If you live in an area with a lot of rainfall, choosing artificial grass that’s right for your lawn with good drainage is extremely important. Even if you don’t live in an area with high precipitation, standing water on your turf can be unsightly and difficult to remove. 

  • Artificial grass with 100% permeable backing allows water and pet urine to flow through and let the sub-base and dirt under the turf absorb the moisture.

  • If you live in an area with lower precipitation, hole-punched backing has holes punched every few inches to let liquid flow through to the underlayer.

5. Figure Out Your Budget

There’s a pretty wide variety of options available when it comes to artificial grass. On average, artificial turf costs around $4,700, with a typical range of $2,800 to $6,700. It’s a significant investment, and determining your budget in advance will help you pick the most appropriate type at a cost point that won’t break the bank.

6. Don’t Forget Maintenance

With artificial grass, you usually get what you pay for when it comes to maintenance; the more you spend on the front end, the less you’ll have to pay for maintenance. However, other factors, such as weather and wear, can contribute to how much care you’ll need to do on your turf annually. In general, however, artificial grass requires less maintenance than regular grass.

7. Check the Warranty

All warranties are not created equal. Some will cover sun damage; others won’t; some offer more protection than others. As with all warranties, you should carefully go over the fine print to determine what is and is not covered before you buy your turf. Look for a warranty that specifies UV stability, which guards against fading; and fiber loss, which guarantees that the company will repair your turf if the fibers don’t stay intact. The fibers are critical to your lawn looking nice, so having that included in the warranty is a huge bonus.

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