Is synthetic grass great? Or gross?

Flower2ppl113synlawntrex_2I honestly don’t know about fake grass. In person, it looks terrific. But chewed up tires? Yuck!

Here’s how Flower to the People‘s Pamela Berstler, designer of the cool little SoCal yard you see here, explains it:

There are a lot of eco-pros and cons to using synthetic turf. In this particular situation, where the garden is sunken one floor below the street, and very little light is able to penetrate the area, the synthetic turf is just about the only green solution for a true, clean play surface. Also, in this application, we don’t have to worry about the one con usually brought up — that it gets hot. Here, that isn’t a problem.

Also on the plus side, the material is made from recycled plastic and held in place by recycled tire “crumbs.” A two-stroke engine, the kind in lawn mowers, creates significantly more pollution than a car (since there is no catalytic converter), so with synthetic turf, that carbon load is eliminated. The surface is pervious and yet sheds water, if properly installed with 6 to 12 inches of drainage media beneath.

On the down side, synthetic turf can get hot and it doesn’t put oxygen back into the air. It’s not the right thing in all cases, but it is the groovy eco-solution in this situation.

What say you? Yea or nay?

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(Photo: Flower to the People)

11 Comments on Is synthetic grass great? Or gross?

  1. SFParks

    San Francisco has a task force looking into this issue.
    here are a couple of YouTube videos on the subject;
    San Francisco’s City Fields —
    Best Wishes,

  2. SYNLawn

    You should all know- SYNLawn is the largest manufacturer of synthetic landscape grass in the country-
    We manufacture, distribute, install and warranty synthetic landscape grass and putting green surfaces- we’re the only vertically integrated operation in the country- manufacturing about 80% of the synthetic landscape grass.
    The rubber crumb being discussed is pretty much harmless from a medical stand point (There’s absolutely no credible evidence that it can harm anyone under the conditions used in synthetic grass), but it sure is a major nuisance!
    It gets all over the place, gets super hot in the sun, smells like rubber in the heat and is totally unnecessary for your yard! It’s also hardly “recycling” to sprinkle it on lawns then watch it “disappear” over time to who knows where (hint- storm drains, shoes soles, your car, laundry, pool, planter beds, sidewalks, etc)
    That’s what SYNLawn invented- synthetic landscape grasses that require no rubber tire crumbs or infill!!!
    All these other “products” being mentioned are just copies of the SYNLawn look- without the SYNLawn technology, aesthetics or quality..
    You can find SYNLawn from SYNLawn design centers on the west coast- and we are also sold with installation in Lowe’s home improvement stores.
    The grass depicted at the top of this story is not exactly the most aesthetically pleasing example. I don’t want to be mean, but if you think that looks good, then you will find SYNLawn and our installation work to be beyond description.
    The lawn in the photo looks bushy, strange in color and is installed without any “lawn characteristics”. Those scalloped stones create a really fake look and the grass looks a bit like Green Barney Fur.
    It’s not the worst looking grass I’ve seen, but it is certainly in the category of the “fake grass look” that people turn their noses up at.
    That said, it looks acceptable to people if you have never seen what truly incredible synthetic grass installations can look like.
    If you’d like to see thousands of brilliant SYNLawn installations in Southern California, contact SYNLawn at

  3. Gareth

    I get the fuss about the rubber infill. My yard doesn’t have rubber in it. I don’t think you need it unless you have people jumping around on it. My OmegaTurf lawn has a curly layer that makes the blades stick up and doesn’t use the crumb rubber stuff. I’m not sure I would want my dog ingesting tires.

  4. Guive Mirfendereski

    You poor. poor unsuspecting epople who think that tire crumb is okay because it is recycled tires! If you would not let your kids play in a tire landfill or if your landfill would not accept tiresbecause it is hazardous waste, you should say no to synthetic turf. Read more about the risks of artifcial turf to health and the environment at And please remember, it also took a long time for us realize that lead, tobacco, absestos, and transfat as dnagers to health.

  5. Patricia Taylor

    I say nay.
    A recent chemical study by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) analysed by a Connecticut environmental and advocacy group — Environment and Human Health, Inc. (EHHI) — showed chemicals leaching and outgassing from the loose grains of shredded rubber tire used as infill on many artificial turf fields and areas.
    The analysis was written in the form of a health risk assessment. It can be found at
    This study, done last summer on crumb rubber infill taken from a Connecticut artificial turf field, showed that a carcinogen, neurotoxins, and skin, lung, and eye irritants were outgassing from the rubber and rubber dust. Zinc and other metals were leaching from the stuff, as well.
    This study was done in a lab at temperatures mirroring ambient field temperatures.
    Previously, scientists in New Jersey showed that PAHs — carcinogens, were present in the rubber. This study used a solvent to extract the PAHs.
    Rubber is rubber, whether it is shredded or not. It contains many chemicals, including solvents and metals, like zinc.
    Right now, there is a bill before the NY State legislature proposing a moratorium on the installation of artificial turf using crumb rubber infill until further studies are completed. The Connecticut state legislature has a bill before the Environment Committee that would fund a field study to determine whether chemicals proven to be in the crumb rubber are bioavailable to people using the fields. A field study in Massachusetts has shown that chemicals are leaching from fields there.
    Until these independent studies are complete, no one can say this stuff is safe for our environment or people.
    Please be preautionary.

  6. Vasco

    An artificial turf can be used in any type of weather conditions.Artificial turf Looks and feels like real grass for less than real grass!No problems! biomechanical lab and torture tests on artificial turf.

  7. Louis

    The greatest benefit of multi-purpose turf is the ability to increase the amount of time and the variety of ways the fields are used.Artificial turf Looks and feels like real grass for less than real grass! It provides oxygen, filter rainwater or cool the air.An artificial turf can be used in any type of weather conditions.

  8. Trevor

    If you are looking for synthetic grass company that does not use rubber crumbs in its infill consider NewGrass Landscape and Design ( they have an office in Orange County.

  9. Roger Clerk

    I love the synthetic grass!! Very clean and easy to maintain. It makes a huge difference in our yard. We used a company called Arizona Luxury Lawns and Greens (

  10. Gareth

    I think artificial grass is great — we used OmegaTurf — ( and we couldn’t be happier with our results.

  11. Ed

    We installed artificial turf almost 6 month ago and we are so happy the way our yard looks now, always green and no more water or mowing the lawn. It is amazing how real it looks. we have gotten so many compliments and many of our friends have allready installed in there own yards. We recommend it if you really like a manicured yard and want to save on water yardwork.