Synthetic Grass Offers Environmental Advantages in Dealing with Florida’s Challenges
Synthetic grass reduces the amount of water resources consumed
As visitors to Tampa’s thriving Riverwalk may have noticed, synthetic turf use is on the rise. It’s not just the areas around Tampa Bay, but throughout Florida. While the matter of aesthetics may be the driving factor for the selection of artificial over natural (lush, green grass all year long), there are a significant number of environmental advantages – advantages that may have an impact on the current state of Florida’s resources.
Consider first the water consumption associated with natural sod. As it is our most valuable resource, the need to protect our water supply cannot be overstated. An average size lawn of 1,800 square feet can require 56,000 gallons of water each year. A typical natural grass sports field can use between 500,000 and a million gallons.12 The water savings alone frees up funds for other residential, commercial, and governmental purchasing and investment options. And while we are experiencing above-average rainfall this year, this water usage becomes more meaningful in years of drought.
Synthetic grass eliminates the use of harmful chemicals
Of equal consequence to today’s conservation movements is the elimination of the need for harmful chemicals associated with the ongoing maintenance of natural grass. Synthetic turf requires no fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides. The Environmental Protection Agency, and others joining the conversation regarding the blue-green algae and red tide blooms throughout the state, has linked chemical runoff into natural waterways with contributing to the blooms, as well as endangering wildlife, contaminating drinking water and contributing to health problems from allergies to birth defects.3
While eliminating the need for harmful chemicals, artificial grass also minimizes the use of gas-powered lawn care equipment, and therefore reducing the release of carbon dioxide and other gasses found in fossil fuels.
Synthetic grass provides an alternative for overused surfaces
A grassy area simply cannot remain full and green with constant use. Even after years of wear, artificial products are still green and usable all year long, while keeping facilities clean, safe and open. In fact, synthetic grass offers flexibility on green space planning where natural grass is not an option. Consider Deputy John Kotfila, Jr. Memorial Dog Park (see photo) in the Channelside District of Tampa. Built underneath the express lanes of the Selmon Expressway, this K9Grass synthetic grass dog park is more than 20,000 square feet of play area that is shaded and protected from the sun, a mix that is not conducive to natural sod surfacing.4
Another example is The Height Market at Armature Works on the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa. With thousands of visitors on the front lawns every week, Armature Works owners needed an option to allow friends and families to gather without downtime for maintenance and constant resodding. (See photo)
Additional advantages of synthetic grass
There are numerous other advantages to opting for synthetic grass – accessibility for individuals with physical challenges (there is Playground Grass turf that dissipates static electricity for those with cochlear implants), safety (padding adjusted for fall heights below play and training equipment), beautification, amenity options in communities and high-rises, and physical activity options for children and adults. And these realistic fake grasses also offer a host innovative options, from speciality products (K9Grass, BocceGrass and GolfGreens) to installation methods (like mounds and rooftop options).
The advantages and innovation of synthetic grass products warrant at least a consideration in discussions for keeping our communities beautiful while addressing the ever-growing problems of Florida’s environmental stewardship.
1 Synthetic Turf Council, Benefits of Synthetic Turf,
2 Synthetic Turf Council, Synthetic Grass 360°: A Guide for Today’s Landscape & Recreation Solutions,
3 Environmental Protection Agency, The Facts About Lawn Chemicals,
4 Tampa Hillborough Expressway Authority, Deputy John Kotfila, Jr.Memorial Dog Park,
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