How to Choose the Best Artificial Turf for Your Project

cross sectional view of a sample of artificial turf

Artificial turf is becoming an increasingly popular addition to landscaping. Why? Read about turf benefits and see what you gain with turf. There are numerous benefits to synthetic grass. It doesn’t require water and it is low maintenance, aesthetically pleasing, kid friendly, weatherproof, and easy to clean. Today artificial turf comes in a variety of styles, materials and colors.

Artificial turf is a long-term investment and like any investment, it is important to do your homework. Budget isn’t the only thing that should be taken into consideration when deciding whether to make the jump into the world of low-maintenance synthetic grass.

There are many kinds of turf. Deciding which one to go with depends entirely upon your need, desire and intended use. So, to help you out, here is a list of the things you need to consider before choosing which artificial grass product is right for you.  

Overall Turf Quality

This is an obvious one. High quality products tend to look better and have a greater longevity. Turf products made from polyamides, polyethylene, and polypropylene will be of the highest quality. They will also feel more nature and softer to the touch than other less expensive options.  Don’t be afraid to ask for samples before making your decision. At Cupertino Artificial Grass we’ll be happy to bring samples directly to you.  Look for products that are evenly backed, color consistent and are well stitched.

Quality turf will be more expensive, but in the long term is often worth the investment. One of the benefits to installing artificial turf is that it looks great year-round with little to no maintenance. But low-quality products will quickly fade and become worn, taking away from the aesthetic appeal. Let's take a look at the characteristics the define turf materials.

Pile Height

Pile height is the length of each individual blade of artificial grass. Depending on the look and feel you’re going for, longer blades may be a better option than shorter ones. Like everything, a lot depends on how and where you intend to utilize the product. Longer blades will give a lush look and feel, but may also bend overtime with high use, making the lawn look flat. By brushing the turf regularly this can be remedied. It will require a bit more care, but least you don’t need a lawn mower!

If the pile height is too short you’ll have a lawn that looks more like carpet than turf. This doesn’t mean that short pile height is a bad thing. It may be exactly what you’re looking for if you’re installing a dog run, play area or athletic field. Pile height is just something that needs to be considered when choosing the right product for you.

Product Density

In addition to pile height, density plays an important role in picking which artificial turf product is best for you. Density is measured by the amount of fiber per square unit. Since dense turf requires more material, it will be more expensive. However, density is a major factor in aesthetic appeal, since many are looking at turf as a way of keeping a lush, green yard year-round.

Not to worry though. If you don’t want to spend that kind of money, there are many less dense options out there that can be made to look denser by using specific types of infill during the installation process.

It should be noted that higher-density astro turf is by nature heavier and therefore weight limits need to be considered if you are thinking of installing the product on rooftops, balconies, or decks.

Backing and Infill

Artificial turf backing is the material that holds everything in place. Additionally, it helps filter water through the turf, which is important if it rains or if you have pets. Polyurethane and latex are the most common materials used for artificial turf backing. Both work to filter water and hold the blades in place, but latex tends to contract and expand with changing temperatures and therefore may not be the best choice if you live in areas that experience extreme shifts in air temperature.

Infill is used to ensure the individual blades of artificial grass stay standing on their own in a similar manner to natural grass and helps give the turf a more natural “springy” feel that will last throughout the years. There are several types of astro turf infill to choose from. Deciding which one is best for you depends entirely on the intended usage.

  • Crumbled Rubber – this is the most common artificial turf infill. Crumbled rubber is the most budget friendly option when it comes to infill and helps recycle used tires that would otherwise end up in landfills. It provides shock absorption making it a good option for sports fields and children’s play areas. Over the years there has been concern that crumbled rubber could have potential health effects. If this is a concern, EPDM which is a man-made rubber is a good alternative. Of all of the backings, rubber tends to absorb heat the most, which should be taken into consideration if you live in a hot climate.
  • Sand Infill – there are several options when it comes to sand infill. The most popular sand is silica sand. It is budget friendly and is cooler to the touch in direct sunlight. However, silica sand tends to absorb moisture and therefore is not a good option for pets or areas that tend to see high levels of moisture, such as pool decks.  
  • Zeolite Infill – made from porous substances that are found in volcanic rocks and ash, Zeolite material is made up of positively charged ions, making it perfect for neutralizing odors. While it isn’t a popular large-scale infill, it is an excellent option for pet runs.
  • Putting Green Infill – obviously this one has a specific usage and is the only option to ensure your putting green runs straight and true.

Traffic and Usage

Different types of turf work better for areas that see a lot of traffic, such as children’s play areas and pet runs. In areas of high traffic, artificial turf made of highly durable synthetic material will help ensure it stands the test of time regardless of what the kids or pets throw at it.

In areas that are prone to getting wet, such as pool decks, it’s important to choose a turf option that drains well and an infill material that will not absorb water to avoid bacterial growth and staining.


Depending on its intended use, color may or may not be an important factor.  In general, you’ll want to avoid colors that look too perfect. Natural grass is, well…natural and will have imperfections. If you’re looking to replicate the look of a natural lawn, it’s important to pick a material that blends several shades of green and brown. We are happy to bring different samples to you to see which ones best compliment your landscaping design.


While fake grass requires less maintenance than a natural lawn, it is not entirely free of needing a bit of tender loving care. All types of turf will require periodic care. Depending on the type, some need more frequent care than others. For example, high density artificial turf tends to trap leaves and debris deeper, making it harder to clean. And then there is the old adage – you get what you pay for. Cheaper alternatives tend to require more time and money to keep them looking great year round.

As you can tell, there are a lot of elements that need to be considered when deciding if and what kind of artificial grass is best for you. It can be a bit overwhelming, but we’re here to help. Our team of experts are happy to answer any questions you have so you can be confident that we'll design a project that meets your vision.

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