How To Choose The Best Artificial Grass For Pool Areas & Pool Decks: Complete Buyer’s Guide
- How To Choose the Best Artificial Grass for Around Swimming Pools
- What Characteristics Should You Look for in Pool Area Turf?
- Our Top Picks of the Best Artificial Grass for Around Swimming Pools
- Final Thoughts on How To Choose the Best Artificial Grass Around Pools
Keeping natural grass around a swimming pool is a challenge.
For one, it can be difficult to maneuver lawn equipment around a large body of water.
Keeping pool chemicals from getting on the lawn and lawn chemicals from getting in the pool is another difficulty.
And the constant splashing from swimmers can cause standing water in the yard, which drowns grass and breeds pests and mold.
If you’re looking for lush, green grass around your backyard swimming pool, the easiest solution is to opt for artificial grass.
Pool area turf provides a non-slip surface for bare feet while still providing the lovely aesthetic of natural grass.
I’ve you’ve ever wondered about installing artificial grass on your pool deck or as part of your pool surround, read on.
We’ve compiled all you need to know about installing artificial grass around pools, as well as what specific pool-friendly features to look for when selecting a turf product.
How To Choose the Best Artificial Grass for Around Swimming Pools
Artificial grass has become increasingly popular for pool decks and around swimming pools in recent years, thanks to drastic improvements in turf manufacturing and technology.
Modern poolside turf is extremely realistic and gives homeowners a durable, eco-friendly alternative to natural grass around their pools.
Below, we’ll provide you with a detailed guide to evaluating and selecting the best artificial grass to surround your swimming pool.
1. Research Artificial Grass
Since an artificial grass installation represents a considerable investment, you want to put in the time to research which variety of turf will work best for your yard.
Different brands and features are best suited for very specific situations, so it’s worth your while to investigate the options available and ask your questions to a seasoned professional.
2. Learn Turf Terminology
Understanding artificial grass terminology will equip you with the knowledge to make the most informed decision.
Some of the terms in the artificial grass industry are a little unique, so we’ve compiled some of the most important ones to know in the list below.
There are three different materials used to make the yarn (the strands that form the blades) of artificial grass.
Each one comes with benefits and drawbacks:
- Polyethylene – This is the most realistic-looking artificial grass material. It’s a great blend of softness and durability. However, it’s susceptible to damage from UV rays unless the turf has a UV protectant.
- Polypropylene – The cheapest of the available materials, polypropylene is also the softest. But it’s also the most prone to flattening and wearing out. It’s more common to see polypropylene in backing than for grass fibers.
- Nylon – This material is the most durable, UV resistant, and resilient material for artificial grass. However, it’s not soft and notorious for causing “turf burn” on skin. Nylon is also the most expensive.
Fibers & Thatch
Fibers are the main, green strands of artificial grass.
They vary in color, shape, and rigidity from product to product.
Thatch are curly threads that sit below the main fibers; they are usually tan or light green.
They mimic the dead or dying underlayer of grass that you’d see in a natural lawn.
High-quality fibers will resist matting or flattening and will closely resemble a target species of natural grass.
Top turf products will have a layer of thatch that helps keep main fibers springy and resilient while providing a realistic look and feel.
The product’s density is how tightly the fibers are packed together.
Similar to the thread count in fabric, a denser product with a higher “stitch count” signifies more material and a better artificial grass product.
The density along with the below face weight, and pile height are good indicators of the quality and durability of pool turf products.
Face weight is how much material is used in the face (i.e., the weight of the fibers and thatch, not the backing) of the product.
It is expressed in ounces per square yard.
As with density, a heavy face weight indicates that the product is durable and comprised of enough material to withstand heavy traffic.
It will also provide more cushion and be comfortable on bare feet.
Look for products that have at least 70 oz. per square yard of turf.
Pile height is how tall the artificial grass is.
Pile height on its own isn’t necessarily an indicator of quality, but rather an indicator of the turf’s ideal application.
Synthetic grass with a tall pile height is best for front yards and other areas where a lush, full look is a top priority.
Shorter pile heights, on the other hand, are perfect for pet runs, dog-friendly backyards, and other places that see a lot of foot traffic.
For poolside turf, we recommend anything 1.5’ and below, unless there are pets and then I recommend 1.25 or less..
Synthetic grass has two different parts that comprise the backing: the primary backing and the secondary backing.
The primary backing is the grid that the turf fibers and thatch are sewn into. (Artificial grass is constructed in a similar manner as rugs and carpets.)
To secure the fibers, a secondary backing is glued onto the underside of the grid, holding everything in.
Together, the primary and secondary backings make up the back weight.
A good back weight indicates that the turf product is more likely to hold its shape and keep its fibers with time and use.
Drainage (how quickly water and liquids pass through the turf) is probably the most important feature to pay attention to when choosing a synthetic grass product to go around your pool.
Artificial grass drainage comes in two main varieties: hole-punched (or perforated) and 100% permeable (or non-perforated).
Hole-punched backing is just like it sounds: holes are punched through the backing every few inches to allow water to pass through the turf and into the soil.
This works fine for dry climates that don’t see rain very often, but it’s inadequate for fake grass that is constantly splashed with pool water.
Artificial grass with 100% permeable backing has pores throughout the turf, allowing water to drain away much faster than it does in hole-punched products.
For poolside applications, 100% permeable backing is definitely the better choice.
There’s a variety of colors to choose from in artificial grass.
High-quality pool area turf often has multiple colors of fibers woven into one product to provide a more realistic look.
The color of the turf isn’t so much a matter of quality as it is of personal preference.
We recommend choosing a turf product that matches the color of the grass in neighboring lawns.
Infill is tiny bits of material (silica sand, cork, quartz, rubber, or other substances) that are scattered between the fibers of artificial grass.
It keeps the grass fibers upright, acts as a ballast to keep the turf from shifting, and makes the synthetic grass look and feel more realistic.
At Ideal Turf, we use a rounded silica sand infill and T°Cool’s Evaporative Cooling Infill in our synthetic grass installations.
Some turf products are made with antimicrobial additives; these prevent mold, mildew, and bacteria from forming on fake grass, which is particularly helpful for areas that are exposed to large amounts of water.
The antimicrobial backing found on Ideal Turf’s artificial grass products called “Microbe Safe” helps to prevent the buildup of odors from pet urine as well as germs and bacteria.
UV Protection / UV-Stabilized
It’s easy to forget that artificial grass is exposed to the sun every day of the year.
Nearly any material tends to break down with that much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light.
To combat this, certain artificial grass products have a built-in resistance to damage from the sun’s rays.
UV protection keeps artificial grass from fading and prevents its backing from breaking down and allowing grass fibers to come out.
3. Consider the Pros & Cons of Artificial Grass vs. Real Grass Around Swimming Pools
There are pros and cons for both fake grass and real grass around swimming pools areas, pool decks, and pool surrounds.
We’ve listed a few of the perks and drawbacks of artificial grass around your swimming pool in the list below:
- Slip-resistant surface. Artificial grass beats out slick concrete for traction, hands down. It’s much less slippery and much safer for people getting into or out of the pool.
- Cleaner. Fake grass doesn’t allow children or pets to track mud or grass clippings into your pool or your home. The grassy area around your pool will always stay neat and tidy.
- Efficient Drainage. As long as you choose a turf product with a fully-permeable backing, fake grass will drain much better than natural grass, eliminating pools of standing water or mud.
- Aesthetics. Artificial grass provides your pool and lawn with an effortlessly beautiful look year round.
- Fewer bugs. Synthetic turf doesn’t harbor the insects and other pests that normal lawns do, so you’ll have fewer dead bugs to clean out of your pool.
- No chemical cross-contamination. Pools contain chlorine, salts, or other chemicals that can be harmful to natural grass. Likewise, grass can contain fertilizers and/or pesticides that are problematic if they end up in your pool. With artificial grass around your pool deck, you don’t have to worry about either one.
- Heat buildup. Because artificial grass is essentially made of plastic material, it can become quite hot in direct sunlight. This problem can be reduced by choosing T°Cool’s Evaporative Cooling Infill and by spraying down your grass with water when it gets too hot out.
- Cost of installation. The initial cost of installing artificial grass is definitely higher than planting grass or sod around your pool. However, artificial grass will pay for itself in savings on mowing, watering, and fertilizer in the long run.
What Characteristics Should You Look for in Pool Area Turf?
Once you’ve made the decision to get artificial grass to surround your pool, you’ll want to know the key features that make an artificial grass product pool-friendly.
Below, we’ll highlight the key features to look for in a high-quality synthetic grass product for your pool area.
1. Foot Traffic
Different turf products are designed to withstand different levels of foot traffic / usage.
Do you have children or dogs that will be running and playing on the turf?
If yes, how active are they and what size?
Consider your pool area’s needs before selecting an artificial grass product.
For sites that will see heavy foot traffic, choose a denser product with a heavy face weight.
2. Resilient & Springy Fibers
Springy and resilient turf fibers will resist laying flat and will return to an upright position when you walk across them.
This resilience is also due in part to the type of infill that’s used.
Look for a high-quality grass product and infill to make sure your artificial grass will have a natural look and feel and will resist matting and flattening.
3. Durable & Long-Lasting
The materials used in making artificial turf are extremely durable and able to withstand high levels of foot traffic.
Top manufacturers will stand by their products, so look for a synthetic grass product with at least a 10-year warranty.
4. Realistic & Natural-Looking Aesthetics
The elements that make artificial grass appear lush and full are a medium to long pile height, thatch, and quality infill, so pay special attention to these specs when shopping for turf.
Regardless of the product you choose, you can help keep your artificial grass looking its best by brushing it periodically with a power broom or a turf rake to fluff the fibers.
5. Drains Water
When choosing between artificial grass products to go in your swimming pool area, select a product with a 100% permeable turf drainage system.
The fake grass near your pool will need to drain more water than most other areas of your yard, so this should be a top feature on your priority list.
6. Maintenance & Cleaning
The maintenance and cleaning requirements of pool area turf are minimal, but they’re not nonexistent.
While pool chemicals won’t bleach artificial grass, they can leave white spots on the grass fibers over time.
You can spray these down with a hose or use calcium cleaner to get rid of the residue.
7. Trustworthy & Reliable Turf Installer
Just as important as the artificial grass product you choose is who you choose to install it.
A reputable and trustworthy artificial grass installation company is key to a quality installation free of seams or wrinkles.
Check out reviews from multiple sources when selecting a turf installer.
Turf installers should provide you with all the information you want about their turf products and installation process.
Our Top Picks of the Best Artificial Grass for Around Swimming Pools
There are many artificial turf products that will work well in a poolside installation, but the two options below are our top favorites.
You won’t go wrong with either choice for artificial turf around your swimming pool.
The Aberdeen 84 is a superb option for artificial grass in a pool area thanks to its DUAL FLOW drainage system.
This is the best of both worlds, featuring a backing that is both 100% permeable and hole punched.
Aberdeen 84 drains water at a rate of over 1,500 gallons per hour!
The stellar drainage system and the 20-year warranty make it an excellent choice for areas around pools.
It comes at a longer, lush pile height of 1.25 inches and features antimicrobial backing to prevent germs and odors from building up in the turf.
Dundee 77’s shorter pile height of 1 inch will give wet feet a good, grippy surface to walk on around the pool.
Its vibrant green color and plentiful thatch layer make it extremely realistic.
Like the Aberdeen 84 above, it also features the DUAL FLOW backing with antimicrobial properties that are ideal for a poolside installation.
It is also backed by a 20-year warranty.
8. Costs, Budget & Financing
The cost of installing artificial grass may seem high compared to seed or sod, but don’t let the sticker shock overwhelm you.
The initial price doesn’t reflect the cost savings on gas for the mower, fertilizer, lawn equipment, aeration, water bills, and pest control (not to mention the fact that you don’t have to spend half of your Saturday mornings mowing the lawn).
These savings are considerable over the life of the lawn.
In fact, these savings mean that your synthetic turf will pay for itself in 3 – 5 years.
Artificial grass also has the added bonus of increasing your home’s value.
The cost of artificial grass for the area around your pool will depend on the type of turf you select as well as the area where it’s installed.
To get a ballpark estimate of the installation costs, check out our handy cost calculator.
You also have the option to spread out the cost of the purchase price through financing.
How Much Does Artificial Grass Around Swimming Pools Cost?
The average installation cost for artificial grass is between $5 – $20 per square foot.
If you know the square footage of your lawn, you can use it to get an approximation of the cost (and if you don’t, you can learn how to do it here).
Remember — artificial grass is a long-term investment.
You pay the price once and have hardly any ongoing costs for the next few decades!
Final Thoughts on How To Choose the Best Artificial Grass Around Pools
Artificial grass is an excellent ground cover for a pool deck or the lawn around your swimming pool.
It’s beautiful, easy to maintain, and provides a slip-free surface for swimmers entering or exiting the water.
With synthetic turf, you won’t have to worry about dirt, grass, or lawn chemicals messing up the pool, nor will you worry about what the pool water is doing to your lawn.
If you’re interested in installing artificial grass around a swimming pool in Texas or Oklahoma, please contact Ideal Turf today!
You can get your FREE artificial grass design & installation estimate by clicking the “GET A QUOTE” button or feel free to give us a call at 800-204-4650.
Our experts can help you choose and install the best artificial grass to surround your pool.
Author: Tim Taylor
- The Top 10 Best Golf Courses to Tee Off at in & Around Houston, TX
- Playground Ground Cover Materials: The Best Ground Cover Options for Children’s Play Areas
- The Top 10 Best Golf Courses to Tee Off at in & Around Fort Worth, TX
- Dog Run Cleaning & Maintenance: A Complete Pet Turf Cleaning Guide
- The Top 10 Best Golf Courses to Tee Off at in & Around Dallas, TX