Artificial Grass vs Sod (difference between & which is best?)

When considering the best option for a new lawn, there are a few options. Let’s look at two of the more common choices: artificial grass vs sod.

Artificial grass is low maintenance, durable, and doesn’t require water, but can be approximately 160% more expensive. By comparison, sod is natural, affordable, and quick to install, but requires frequent and ongoing watering and maintenance. 

But both have their advantages and disadvantages, so which one is right for you?

In this article, we will delve into various aspects of both artificial grass and sod to help you make an informed decision.

We will discuss the advantages of artificial grass compared to a natural grass lawn in terms of aesthetics, durability, and environmental impact. Furthermore, we’ll compare the costs associated with each option as well as examine their installation processes.

Maintenance requirements are another important factor when choosing between artificial grass and sod; therefore, we will explore how much water each type requires and what kind of upkeep they need.

Lastly, we’ll address concerns related to pets and children so that you can choose the perfect lawn solution for your family’s needs.

Table of Contents:

Advantages of Artificial Grass Compared to Sod

When it comes to creating a beautiful lawn, homeowners often find themselves torn between artificial grass and traditional sod. However, there are several benefits that make artificial grass an increasingly popular choice over natural lawns.

  • Maintenance: Artificial turf requires significantly less maintenance than natural grass. There is no need for mowing, fertilizing, or weeding.
  • Environmental impact: Synthetic lawns conserve water and reduce the use of harmful chemicals required for weed control and insect management in traditional lawns.
  • Durability: High-quality artificial grass can withstand heavy foot traffic and various weather conditions without losing its lush appearance.
  • Pet-friendly: Pet waste won’t damage your synthetic lawn, making it an ideal option for pet owners.

Unlike natural grass, artificial grass does not require constant watering, which can save homeowners a significant amount of money on their water bills. Additionally, artificial grass installation is a one-time cost, whereas natural grass lawns require ongoing maintenance and care.

Installing artificial grass is a simple process that involves preparing the ground, laying down a base layer, and then installing the artificial grass on top. This process can be completed in a matter of days, whereas installing sod can take several weeks to establish and requires moist soil immediately after installation.

Artificial grass also offers a variety of benefits that natural grass cannot match.

For example, synthetic turf is perfect for areas where natural grass cannot grow, such as rooftops, balconies, and indoor spaces. Additionally, artificial grass is an excellent option for those who want a green lawn all year round, regardless of the weather.

Overall, the benefits of artificial grass outweigh those of natural grass.

With its low maintenance requirements, durability, and pet-friendly features, artificial grass is an excellent choice for homeowners who want a beautiful lawn without the hassle of traditional grass lawns.

The advantages of artificial grass compared to sod are clear, and it is no wonder why more people are opting for this type of landscaping. Yet, when selecting between the two options, an analysis of their respective costs should be done.

Cost Comparison Between Artificial Grass and Sod

When considering the cost of artificial grass vs sod, it’s essential to look at both the initial investment and long-term expenses.

The initial cost of installing an artificial lawn can be higher than that of a traditional sod lawn, with prices ranging from $5 to $20 per square foot for materials alone. However, the most common average price per square foot is around $10. 

  • Artificial grass cost: $5 – $20 per square feet (materials)
  • Natural grass cost: $0.30 – $1 per square feet (materials)

The main difference lies in the maintenance costs over time.

While natural lawns require regular mowing, watering, fertilizing, and weed control – all adding up to significant ongoing expenses – artificial grass is much more low-maintenance, resulting in lower overall costs in the long run.

And that’s to say nothing of the expense of lawn mowers or a sprinkler system, both of which can have a substantial initial cost.

What is the Installation Process for Sod and Artificial Grass?

The installation process for both sod and artificial grass requires careful planning and execution to ensure a beautiful, long-lasting lawn.

To install sod, start by preparing the soil with proper grading, tilling, and adding amendments as needed. Next, lay down the sod pieces in a staggered pattern, ensuring tight seams between each piece. This Old House provides a step-by-step guide to help you achieve a perfect lawn.

In contrast, artificial grass installation begins with removing existing vegetation and creating a stable base using compacted crushed stone or gravel.

Then install a weed barrier fabric followed by laying out synthetic turf rolls over it. Secure them together using seaming tape or glue before trimming excess material around the edges.

DIY Network offers a detailed guide to help you install artificial grass like a pro.

Installing sod is a labor-intensive process, while artificial grass can be installed relatively quickly and easily. Moving on to the next heading, let’s explore what maintenance requirements are associated with both sod and artificial grass.

What Are the Maintenance Requirements for Sod and Artificial Grass?

Maintaining luscious green grass can be time-consuming, but fortunately, artificial turf necessitates much less upkeep than traditional sod.

Regularly tending to a traditional lawn necessitates frequent mowing, irrigating, fertilizing, and weeding in order to keep it looking its best.

  • Mowing: Natural grass needs weekly mowing during peak growing seasons while artificial turf never needs cutting.
  • Watering: A natural lawn may require up to an inch of water per week whereas synthetic grass doesn’t need any watering at all.
  • Fertilizing & Weed Control: Traditional lawns require periodic fertilization and weed control treatments which aren’t necessary with artificial options.

In addition to saving time on maintenance tasks like these, homeowners who choose artificial turf also enjoy lower overall costs in terms of equipment upkeep (e.g., no more lawn mower repairs) and reduced water bills.

The maintenance requirements for sod and artificial grass are both important to consider when deciding which option is best for your home.

However, the water savings of using artificial grass should also be taken into account when making a decision. Next, we will look at how much water can actually be saved by installing an artificial lawn instead of natural turf.

How Much Water Does Artificial Grass Save?

Installing artificial grass can greatly reduce your water consumption.

According to the Synthetic Turf Council, a 1,000-square-foot artificial lawn saves a total amount of water of approximately 56,000 gallons of water per year compared to natural sod.

In addition to saving water, turf may also reduce air pollution, as lawnmowers used on traditional grass lawns are a major source of emissions.

  • Lower water bills: With less need for irrigation systems and sprinklers, homeowners can save money on their monthly utility expenses.
  • Eco-friendly option: By conserving water resources and reducing carbon dioxide emissions from lawn care equipment, artificial grass contributes positively towards environmental conservation efforts.
  • Drought-resistant: For those living in areas prone to severe droughts like Southern California, artificial grass is an ideal solution that requires little maintenance while maintaining its green appearance all year round.

In contrast, natural grass lawns require regular watering, fertilizing, and mowing to maintain their appearance. This can be time-consuming and expensive, especially for larger lawns. Additionally, natural grass lawns may not be suitable for areas with poor soil quality or limited access to water resources.

While some people prefer the look and feel of real grass, artificial grass has several benefits that make it a popular choice for homeowners, for example, artificial grass is great for playgrounds.

Unlike natural grass, artificial turf does not require watering, fertilizing, or mowing. This makes it a low-maintenance option that can save homeowners time and money in the long run.

How Often Does Artificial Grass Have to Be Replaced?

The longevity of artificial turf is contingent on a variety of elements, including the quality of components used and its upkeep.

Generally, high-quality artificial grass can last anywhere from 8 to 15 years with proper care.

To extend the life of your synthetic lawn, follow these tips:

  • Keep it clean: Regularly remove debris like leaves and branches using a leaf blower or rake.
  • Avoid heavy objects: Don’t place heavy items like furniture directly on the turf for extended periods.
  • Brush regularly: Use a stiff-bristled broom or specialized brush to keep fibers upright and prevent matting.

To ensure you’re getting the best quality artificial grass that will last for years, consider choosing products from reputable manufacturers such as Synthetic Turf Council-approved companies.

When comparing artificial grass vs sod, it’s important to note that, unlike artificial grass, natural grass requires regular maintenance and care.

Natural grass lawns need to be watered, mowed, and fertilized regularly to maintain their appearance. Additionally, natural grass lawns are susceptible to damage from foot traffic, pets, and weather conditions.

Replacing synthetic turf can be a straightforward job, but the frequency of it will vary depending on what kind of grass and how much use it gets; usually every 5-8 years if you have a lot of kids, pets, and overall foot traffic.

Speaking of that, what is better for pets and kids: artificial grass or sod?

Considering the different advantages of each, a more thorough examination is necessary to determine which type is better for pets and children.

What is Better For Pets and Kids: Artificial Grass or Sod?

Artificial grass is a great option for both pets and kids.

Pet waste won’t damage artificial grass, and its sturdy construction makes it resistant to digging. The consistent surface reduces the likelihood of tripping, especially for younger children.

Parents appreciate that kids can’t track in mud or get grass stains on their clothes when playing on an artificial grass lawn. Children enjoy artificial turf because it looks and feels good every season of the year.

Beyond aesthetics, artificial grass also offers health benefits over natural sod lawns.

It doesn’t trigger seasonal allergies or asthma symptoms like traditional lawns might do. This means your family can enjoy outdoor playtime without worrying about allergy flare-ups.

In short, if you’re looking for a low-maintenance, safe alternative to natural sod that’s perfect for pets and kids alike, consider installing an artificial grass lawn in your yard today.


Is Sod Better Than Artificial Turf?

Sod offers a natural, eco-friendly option to improve air quality and support biodiversity. However, artificial turf is more durable, requires less maintenance, and conserves water. The choice depends on the personal preferences and the specific needs of the homeowner.

Which Is Better: Fake Grass or Real Grass?

Both options have their advantages: fake grass requires less maintenance and saves water while real grass provides a natural look and feel. Ultimately, the decision comes down to individual priorities such as budget constraints, environmental concerns, or desired aesthetics.

What Is the Difference Between Sod and Artificial Grass?

Sod consists of natural grass grown on soil held together by roots; it’s an instant lawn solution for homeowners. Artificial grass comprises synthetic fibers designed to mimic the appearance of real grass but without its maintenance requirements like watering or mowing.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Artificial Grass?

  • Pros:
    • Durable
    • Maintenance-free
    • Saves water
    • Pet-friendly
  • Cons:
    • Higher initial cost
    • May feel less natural
    • Potential environmental concerns (e.g., microplastics)
    • Heat retention in hot climates

When it comes to artificial grass, there are many benefits to consider.

For example, installing artificial grass can save homeowners time and money on maintenance, such as mowing and watering.

Additionally, artificial grass is pet-friendly and can withstand heavy foot traffic. However, there are also some potential downsides to consider. For instance, artificial grass can be expensive to install initially, and it may not feel as natural as real grass.

Additionally, there are concerns about the environmental impact of artificial grass, such as the potential for microplastics to enter the environment. Finally, artificial grass can retain heat in hot climates, which may make it less comfortable to walk on during the summer months.

Ultimately, the decision to install artificial grass or natural grass depends on a variety of factors, including personal preferences, budget, and environmental concerns.

Homeowners should carefully consider the pros and cons of each option before making a decision.



After comparing the advantages, costs, installation process, maintenance requirements, water savings, and lifespan of artificial grass vs sod, it is clear that artificial grass has several benefits over natural grass.

Though the cost of artificial turf may be higher upfront, it could end up saving money over time because of its low maintenance needs and water-saving potential. Additionally, pets and children tend to prefer playing on synthetic turf as it provides a soft surface with fewer allergens.

Image by Litrix12 from Pixabay

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