Cost Comparison: Artificial Turf vs. Natural Grass - Which is Right for You?

May 27, 2024By Buccaneer Artificial Turf
Buccaneer Artificial Turf

Maintaining a lush, green lawn can be a significant investment, both in terms of time and money. Homeowners typically have two primary options for achieving that perfect lawn: installing artificial grass or sodding with natural grass. Each option comes with its own set of costs and maintenance requirements. In this blog, we'll break down the costs associated with each method, including installation, maintenance, and long-term expenses. We'll also provide a comparison chart to help you decide which option might be best for your situation.

Comparison Chart

Here's a side-by-side comparison of the costs associated with artificial grass and sodding with natural grass for 1,000 to 2,000 sqft: 

Cost FactorArtificial GrassNatural Grass (Sodding) + Irrigation
Initial Installation$10,000 - $20,000$4,000- $6,000
Annual Maintenance

- Mowing
$1,200 - $2,400
- Fertilization
$200 - $300
- Grub Control
$50 - $100
- Watering/Irrigation
$200 - $600
- Irrigation System Maintenance
$100 - $200
Total Annual Maintenance
$1,750 - $3,600
Total Over 5 Years$10,000 - $20,000$18,000 - $37,000

*Actual Costs May Vary - For Educational Purposes Only*

While the initial cost of artificial grass is significantly higher than sodding with natural grass, the lower maintenance costs can make it a more economical option in the long run. However, if you prefer the natural look and feel of real grass and don't mind the ongoing maintenance, sodding could be the better choice for you. Consider your budget, lifestyle, and environmental preferences when making your decision.

For a visual representation of the cost comparison, we have created a chart in Excel format, available for download below.

Download Cost Comparison Chart

By understanding the full scope of costs and maintenance involved with each option, you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs and preferences. Whether you choose artificial grass or natural sod, a beautiful lawn is within reach with proper planning and investment.

Installation Costs

Artificial Grass: Initial Installation: Installing artificial grass typically costs between $10 to $20 per square foot, depending on the quality of the turf and the complexity of the installation. This includes the cost of the turf, infill, base materials, and labor.
Total for 1,000 Square Feet: $10,000 to $20,000
Sodding with Natural Grass
Initial Installation: Sodding costs around $0.50 to $1 per square foot. This includes the cost of the sod, soil preparation, and labor.
Total for 1,000 Square Feet: $500 to $1,000
Maintenance Costs
Artificial Grass
Cleaning and Brushing: Artificial grass requires occasional cleaning and brushing, which can cost around $100 to $200 per year if done professionally.
Weed Control: While less common, weed control might be necessary and can cost approximately $50 to $100 per year.
Sodding with Natural Grass
Mowing: Lawn mowing costs about $40 to $80 per session, with weekly mowing recommended during the growing season. Annual costs can range from $1,200 to $2,400.
Fertilization: Fertilizing a lawn typically costs around $200 to $300 per year.
Grub Control: Preventive grub control measures cost about $50 to $100 per year.
Watering/Irrigation: Water costs can vary widely, but maintaining a lawn can add an extra $200 to $600 per year to your water bill.
Irrigation System Maintenance: Annual maintenance of an irrigation system can cost around $100 to $200.
Long-Term Costs Over 10 Years
Artificial Grass
Initial Installation: $10,000 to $20,000
Maintenance: $150 to $300 per year
Total Over 10 Years: $11,500 to $23,000
Sodding with Natural Grass
Initial Installation: $500 to $1,000
Mowing: $12,000 to $24,000
Fertilization: $2,000 to $3,000
Grub Control: $500 to $1,000
Watering/Irrigation: $2,000 to $6,000
Irrigation Maintenance: $1,000 to $2,000
Total Over 10 Years: $18,000 to $37,000
Other Considerations
Environmental Impact: Artificial grass is made from synthetic materials and isn't biodegradable, whereas natural grass provides a habitat for wildlife and contributes to a cooler environment.
Aesthetic Appeal: Many people prefer the look and feel of natural grass. Artificial turf can sometimes look less authentic, though high-quality products are continually improving.
Usage: If you have pets or children, artificial grass might be more durable and less prone to wear and tear.
Weather and Climate: In areas with severe droughts, artificial grass might be a more sustainable option since it doesn't require watering.

Initial Cost

When considering artificial turf versus natural grass, the initial cost is a key factor. Installing artificial turf can be expensive. It involves buying the turf, preparing the ground, and installing it. The cost can range from $5 to $20 per square foot.

Natural grass, on the other hand, has a lower initial cost. You may need to buy soil, grass seeds, or sod. The cost is usually between $0.50 to $2 per square foot. However, you also need to consider the cost of tools and equipment for planting and maintaining the grass.

Maintenance Costs

You will need to mow, water, and fertilize it. This can add up in terms of both time and money. The cost of water, fertilizers, and lawn care services can be significant.

Water Usage

Water usage is a critical consideration. Artificial turf does not need water. This can be a major advantage, especially in areas with water restrictions or drought conditions.

Natural grass requires a lot of water to stay green and healthy. This can be a concern in dry climates. The cost of water can also be high, depending on your location.

Natural grass supports biodiversity. It provides a habitat for insects and small animals. However, maintaining natural grass often requires water, fertilizers, and pesticides, which can have a negative impact on the environment.


Longevity is another factor to consider. Artificial turf can last between 15 to 20 years with proper care. This makes it a long-term investment. You will not need to replace it often, which can save money over time.

Natural grass, however, can suffer from wear and tear. It may need reseeding or resodding every few years. This can add to the long-term cost and effort required to maintain it.

Artificial turf has come a long way in terms of appearance. High-quality turf can look very similar to natural grass. However, it may not have the same feel. It can also get hotter than natural grass in direct sunlight.


Choosing between artificial turf and natural grass depends on your priorities. If you want low maintenance and water savings, artificial turf may be the right choice. If you value biodiversity and the natural feel of grass, natural grass may be better for you.

Consider all the factors, including cost, maintenance, water usage, environmental impact, longevity, and appearance. This will help you make an informed decision.