There are a few things that everyone imagines when they think about school grounds. The brightly colored play structures with plenty of places to climb up and slide back down, swing sets lined up alongside each other, tetherball and four square courts waiting for competition to break out, and a big, gorgeous lawn. Just because something has always been done one way, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best way. With all the maintenance and trouble that can come along with a conventional lawn, plenty of schools are ditching grass in favor of astroturf instead.
While initially adopted by athletic teams across the country, it’s seeing much wider use today. Astroturf has become popular with both residential and commercial customers alike, including plenty of schools that see it as an excellent alternative to natural grass. If you’re considering making the switch but are unsure how it will hold up in the long term, here’s everything you need to know.
More Durable Than Traditional Grass
Playground grass takes a beating. All that running and playing can quickly damage natural grass, reducing a well-manicured lawn to a muddy mess in no time. Astroturf, unlike regular grass, can withstand the punishment. No matter how rowdy a game of tag or kickball may get, a synthetic yard will look just as good as the day it was installed. The artificial material used to make astroturf is much more resilient to scrapes, scuffs, and chafing, letting it stand up to heavy use for years without showing any kind of damage.
It also stands up well against frequent wear and tear along often-trodden paths. When people walk through the same parts of grass repeatedly, grass begins to wear out and die, leaving uneven ruts in the ground. Astroturf can handle frequent usage much better than natural grass, preventing worn or patchy areas from forming at all. If you want a turf option for your school grounds that can stand up to even the worst the kids can throw at it, astroturf may be the way to go.
Resistant to Weather Wear
Not only does astroturf shrug off damage from frequent use, but it can also withstand the harshness of the elements. While we may not get that much extreme weather in the Pacific Northwest, seasonal changes can still harm or kill natural grass. Searing sun, pouring rain, and freezing snow can all contribute to a lawn going from a vibrant green expanse to a dead, brown wasteland.
Natural grass isn’t the only school ground material that wilts under mother nature either. Solid rubber surfaces under playsets can crack and peel due to extreme weather, reducing the fall protection they offer and making the area look shoddy. Astroturf has none of these problems, making it the ideal choice for both the height of summer and the dead of winter. No matter how bad the weather gets, your school grounds will look pristine.
Less Maintenance Work and Lower Costs in the Future
Maintaining a natural lawn is time-consuming and costly. If it’s been hot and dry with not a drop of rain in sight, you need to consistently water it to keep it green. If you go too long without mowing it, it will become overgrown and unruly. You need to stay on top of weeds, treating the lawn to prevent them from taking root and digging out any that manage to sneak by. And if it starts to look a little sparse, you need to fertilize or reseed it to help it reach its full potential. It’s a lot of maintenance to keep up with, and it’ll never end as long as you have natural grass.
When you go with astroturf instead, you can put your old lawn care routine to rest. You never need to water it or mow it, and weeds won’t be able to grow in it. You may occasionally need to clean it or sweep away some fall foliage from time to time, but your traditional yard work will be a thing of the past.
By cutting down on lawn maintenance, you’re also going to be saving money. The cost of water, weed killer, and fertilizer all add up over the course of a year, and that’s not even taking into consideration whether you pay a lawn care company to maintain the grass for you. When you invest in astroturf now, you’ll be saving yourself the recurring maintenance expenses in the future.
Environmentally Friendly Option
While a well-kept lawn is a standard part of any playground, it isn’t the most environmentally friendly landscaping option. A natural grass lawn needs a lot of water to keep green, and synthetic fertilizers and pesticides can be harmful to the environment around the lawn.
With astroturf, you won’t need to worry about how much water the grounds soak up just to stay green. The artificial material can help you cut down on your chemical usage too. There’s no need to fertilize it, and most pests avoid setting up shop in synthetic materials. Depending on your circumstances, astroturf could make a difference in your environmental impact.
Play It Safe
At the end of the day, what really matters is how the turf is for the kids. Beyond all the questions about maintenance, cost, and aesthetics, it’s their safety that’s most important. Astroturf absorbs shock much better than natural grass, helping reduce the impact of any falls, spills, or poorly executed gymnastic maneuvers. And because there are no worn or dead areas, kids won’t be in any danger of cutting or scraping themselves against exposed earth or rocks.
The combination of reduced fall and scrape risk actually makes astroturf a great option to put under any playground structures. It’s more than capable of absorbing the shock from a slip off the monkey bars. It’s also much less abrasive than the more common wood chips, gravel, or sand. Finally, for those kids whose allergies may keep them from rolling around in the grass with their friends, astroturf provides a hypoallergenic option for getting in on all the fun.
If you’re still uneasy about whether artificial turf is a safe option for kids, contact Sportech. We’re happy to ease any concerns you may have.