Choosing an artificial lawn is an upfront investment in the beauty and function of your property but with regular maintenance and cleaning it can last a lifetime. One of the most common questions that consumers have about artificial lawns is how to care for it properly. Surprisingly, lawns made from artificial turf are not hard to clean or maintain at all. It's rather easy compared to a natural grass lawn. Whether you install artificial in a backyard area, a rooftop patio, or use sections of it in a garden or front pathway – it’s easy to maintain artificial grass.
Consider this: With natural grass, not only does it have to be cut, weeded, and fertilized on a regular basis, but clippings and trimmings must constantly be picked up and hauled away or otherwise disposed of. Artificial turf does not generate or produce any lawn waste. It doesn’t require cutting or weeding. There is little to pick up except for the leaves and small twigs that fall from the trees or neighboring shrubs.
Here are some suggestions for maintaining the beauty of your artificial grass year-round.
No matter where you live, winds and storms will eventually cause a certain amount of debris to be deposited on your lawn. Pets can drag items into the yard, and birds often deposit their treasures while building nests. Leaves, bark and small twigs, and branches are unsightly and can make your lawn look cluttered. Larger twigs and branches may also damage the webbing or mesh that forms the base of the turf, because they have sharp edges that can poke through the infill.
In many cases, debris blown onto an artificial lawn by a passing storm will also be carried away by it. Wind and excess water can also sometimes lift up panels in the artificial grass which must be fixed. Waiting a few hours before going out and trying to keep up with its removal can lead to minimal clean up time. If you have shrubs, trees or lawn furniture and décor, you will have to make sure to clean around them so that what has blown in does not continue to accumulate in any one area. As soon as the storm clears, however, be prepared to clean up your artificial grass so that it doesn’t get damaged.
Use the Proper Tools
When cleaning an artificial lawn, it is important to use the proper tools. Never use anything with metal tips or spikes. Metal can rip or tear the interwoven mesh foundation and cause damage to the grass that is hard to repair. Additionally, avoid the use of a lawn mower or mulcher as this will only serve to damage the artificial lawn. Choose plastic lawn tools that are designed for use on artificial lawns. The company that installs the lawn for you can recommend the proper tools that you can keep on hand. Here are a few items you will need:
Lawn rakes with plastic tines – Lawn rakes with plastic tines will gently lift and separate the synthetic blades of grass, making the lawn look fuller and well groomed. Leaves are very light compared to grass clippings and can be raked away with little effort.
Leaf and grass catchers – Grass catchers and large, wheeled lawn rakes that are used to pick up grass clippings can also be used for leaves in the fall. They are ideal for medium to large lawns that have artificial turf. Attaching them to a garden tractor will make quick work of removing any lightweight debris that is left behind in the fall.
Blowers – For smaller lawns, using a leaf blower will quickly blow dry leaves off the artificial lawn or into piles that can be picked up and put in trash bags for disposal. Blowers are also ideal for removing leaves and lightweight debris from landscaped areas, gutters and sidewalks. You may also want to keep a shop vacuum on hand for removing built up debris that can imbed themselves into the grass.
Stiff Brush – Keep a push broom with a stiff, wide brush on the end for quick cleanups and regular grooming of your artificial lawn. This is a good way to remove any pet waste and trash from your yard. You may also see some sand on the surface of the artificial grass immediately after it’s installed, which can be swept off. Follow up with a good rinse with your garden hose.
Organic Turf Sprays
Companies that sell and install an artificial lawn also sell organic turf washes and sprays that can be used on lawns covered with synthetic material. The sprays are made with mild detergents that kill any existing bacteria and work to destroy and prevent any lingering odors that are caused by pets. The organic sprays are non-toxic and can be used in areas where both children and animals tend to play.
Using the spray is easy. Most come with containers that can be attached to garden hoses and sprayed over the artificial turf. Depending on the type of spray used, rinsing may not be needed. Applying the spray once every couple of months will keep the artificial turf looking green and vibrant as well as eliminating any odors that may present themselves.
Unlike natural grass lawns, artificial turf does not create lawn waste. Once it is installed, there will be no more worrying about removing grass clippings or weeds. Proper maintenance will take a few minutes a day. Instead of spending hours removing the clutter of lawn debris, you can enjoy quality time with your family. Learn more about artificial turf maintenance myths busted!