The Difference Between Natural Grass and Artificial Turf

November 6, 2018
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November 6, 2018 Martin Halo

While it may seem like natural grass and artificial turf are relatively identical, there are stark differences that separate the two. They create completely different playing environments and can change the way an athlete plays. When preparing a full athletic field construction job, it’s vital to be aware of which one to go with during the design process. Don’t blindly choose one over the other, though. Knowing what differentiates the two can certainly make the process much easier.

Differences in Natural Grass and Artificial Turf

  • The Look
  • Playability
  • Maintenance
  • Cost

The Look

One of the major differences between natural grass and artificial turf is their look. From the color to the texture to even the height there are discernable differences between the two. With natural grass, there are several factors that are attributed to natural grass. In arid climates, grass tends to die quickly, due to little water intake. This leads to browning or even dead grass. Climates with snow and colder temperatures also tend to kill grass very quickly. In climates where it rains too much, grass can grow at an exponential rate and look unkempt and unplayable. If there isn’t enough shade, grass can die quickly due to being exposed to the sun for too long. For natural grass to stay healthy all year long it needs to be constantly looked after and maintained. Once installed, the artificial turf will always look the same. Even if exposed to harsh conditions there’s a relatively low chance of it being destroyed or in need of repair.


Athletes have noted a massive difference when playing on artificial turf and natural grass. Natural grass provides athletes with a natural feel, allowing them to dig their cleats into the ground and maneuver whichever way they may need to. With artificial turf, there is no level of dirt underneath. This makes it difficult for athletes cleats to dig into the ground and give them the necessary leverage to push off and run. Sliding on artificial turf can also sometimes give athletes an irritation of the skin similar to rug burn.


There are different levels of maintenance required for natural grass and artificial turf. The only maintenance required for artificial turf may be if a piece is broken off due to gameplay. Turf will otherwise stand strong and will never fall apart. Natural grass typically needs to be mowed and looked after every week. It’s easy for a sports field to be torn apart after a game, and with changing weather it’s even more important to closely monitor the health of a field.


Artificial turf and natural grass also differentiate on their price. Whereas natural grass fields have to constantly be watched by groundskeepers, artificial turf is a one time purchase. While it’s possible that natural grass is ultimately cheaper in the long run, there are too many variables such as weather and playtime that factor into the lifespan of artificial turf and natural grass.

When preparing to design a new sports complex, make sure to contact Sports Turf One. They specialize in everything from athletic field maintenance, construction, design, and more. Contact Sports Turf One today to receive a free quote on a project by calling (561) 225-1113.