If you’re like most homeowners, you’re always looking for a way to save a penny on home maintenance. So what costs more in the long run, artificial turf, or a real lawn? Comparing artificial turf cost with the ongoing expenses of lawn care can seem daunting if you don’t know everything these two options entail. Not to worry! We’ve made it simple to compare costs and make the best choice for your home with this list of 5 essential calculations to make for artificial turf.

artificial turf cost

Artificial Turf Cost vs. Real Lawn

Comparing artificial turf costs to those of a real lawn might seem like comparing apples to oranges. However, in the long run, you might be surprised what ends up hurting your wallet more…

1. Installation Costs

Artificial Turf– When it comes to initial costs, artificial turf is going to seem much heftier than real sod. Artificial turf will range anywhere from $5 to $20 per square foot. This hits around $6,200 up front.

However, once that artificial turf is laid, it’s in for good and you’re done paying for its installation for the next 15 to 25 years!

Real Grass– Real grass is much cheaper to install. It will range anywhere from 12 to 60 cents per square foot. But, keep in mind, you’re paying to fertilize, mow, trim, and water…indefinitely.

2. Mow Strip/Bender Board

Bender board is what will separate your artificial grass from the rest of your landscape/garden.

You’re looking at around $21 for a four-inch roll, twenty feet long. Don’t leave this out of your budget when looking at artificial turf costs. Just add up the perimeter length of your project to calculate how many rolls you need.

3. Weed Barrier Fabric

If you select turf, don’t forget the cost of weed barrier fabric to prevent any weeds poking up through your artificial turf.

This is usually sold in rolls of 1,500 square feet, about $75 a roll. However, one roll is generally enough to cover your space.

4. Turf Infill

This cost is important to be mindful of, especially as it varies greatly depending on what you choose. Here are the standard choices:

  • Acrylic coated sand
  • Flex sand
  • Rubber
  • Silica sand

Again, while it may be tempting to cut costs here, “buy nice or buy twice” is a great motto when it comes to infill. It just may say you big bucks down the road.

You will need about 1-2 pounds of infill per square foot, so be sure to do the math on how much you need before writing a check.

5. Miscellaneous

Don’t forget to budget for miscellaneous items like stakes, glue, nails, seaming tape, and other items for artificial turf costs.

They won’t be much in comparison to hiring a lawn care team for the next 15 years, but they are good to think of. Factor in about a $300 cost for these items if your project is around 1,000 square feet.

How Artificial Turf Saves Money

While it’s important to factor in artificial turf cost when budgeting for your lawn, don’t forget to think big picture.

In the long run, if you live somewhere dry like Nevada, you’re looking at saving around 55 gallons of water a YEAR, per square foot of yard you fill with artificial turf instead of real grass. These savings add up when you factor in maintenance and lawn care over 15-20 years.

For more information on the pros and cons of artificial turf, check out our blog.