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Turf Ideas for Small Backyards

By Axis Fuksman-Kumpa January 2, 2023

artificial grass

Synthetic grass surfaces can help reduce water usage and are a great low maintenance option if you live in a drought prone area or are tired of tending to your existing real grass. Let's dig into some facts about artificial grass and some great ideas on how to use it in your yard!

Where can I use artificial grass?

Artificial grass can be used almost anywhere! It's a great surface for family activities, kids play, pet play areas, a personal putting green, or surrounding other backyard features such as a swimming pool or bocce ball court.

Where can I install artificial grass?

Artificial turf installation can be done on any existing landscape and applied to concrete. Fake grass is highly versatile and can even be installed on hard surfaces like a deck or patio, which can be a great solution for city dwellers with small patios or balconies. Installing artificial grass on concrete is actually often easier than installing it on dirt or soil. The even surface eliminates much of the labor-intensive prep work necessary for smoothing the ground.

What is artificial grass made from?

It is made of non-toxic materials and is safe for your outdoor space! Artificial turf is typically created with a blend of polypropylene and polyethylene, made into synthetic fibers to look like natural grass. The fibers are then joined with rubber granules and silica sand to help keep the blades upright on the ground.

Benefits of artificial turf

There are many benefits of artificial turf, including the biggie - your lawn mower gets to retire! Here are some things to keep in mind when considering sacrificing your real green lawn and trying artificial grass:

  • Very low maintenance compared to real grass, it doesn't need to be mowed or watered
  • Artificial turf stays consistently green and fresh looking without the hassle of upkeep
  • No bare spots or brown spots in hard to grow areas
  • Reduces your water bill
  • Produces zero pollen - a big plus for allergy sufferers
  • Safe for children and pets (more on the pets below)
  • Installing artificial grass will eliminate the need to use harmful pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers (note that Tilly always recommends using organic options on your real grass and garden beds).

Artificial turf & pets

Artificial grass in a backyard for dogs is popular because of its ease of maintenance and durability. Artificial grass will last longer if you choose a high-quality product designed specifically for pets. It will avoid dog urine spots and can withstand heavy foot traffic and paw traffic.

Artificial grass is already very popular among dog parks, veterinarians, and pet-care facilities because of its durability, low maintenance, and high ROI. To clean off dog urine, you simply use a hose.

Backyard Turf Ideas

Putting Green

Artificial grass is the perfect material for a personal putting green in a backyard. This can be a really fun addition to a yard and can be placed in a long and narrow space that may not previously be used.

green backyard turf to create the perfect putting green in a backyard in Arizona

Around a Pool Area

Artificial turf can be a fantastic option around a pool as its easy to maintain and provides a slip-free surface for swimmers. It will also create the perfect greenery, adding to the vacation oasis a pool can provide. It will eliminate the tracks of mud in and out of your pool area.

green backyard turf next to a pool

Around a Fire Pit Nook

If you have a fire pit area in your yard, turf can be a great option to surround the area. It gives a clean look! Really, turf can be used around any outdoor feature including a bocce ball court (some people even use it on the court), and more.

turf in a backyard to create a no mow, less maintenance, lush look in a yard without weeds

With Pavers

Looking for the perfect greenery between pavers? Synthetic turf won't get burnt by the sun and get soil debris onto the pavers - it's a great solution for a professional landscape design look. You don't have to worry about the perfect edging and will have that beautiful contrast of green lawn and your paver all year long.

green backyard turf next to pavers that creates a great color juxtaposition

The Perfect Dog Run

A pup can truly ruin the backyard after just a few zoomies! Add sturdy artificial grass to a dog run or your backyard to keep your landscaping looking fresh and lush.

backyard turf ideas for pets no matter the square foot of your yard

Water Wise Landscape

Backyard turf is great when looking to save on your water bill. It's a good material for a drought tolerant landscape design that will look nice all year-round.

green backyard turf with clean lines next to a garden

On a Balcony

Fake lawns are a fantastic option for a balcony, terrace or rooftop outdoor space. You don't need a long garden hose for watering and can have fresh air and a splash of outdoors even if you are 30 feet up!

backyard turf ideas, turf on a patio for a multi functional backyard

Maintenance Free Small Backyard

If you have a small backyard you may also be limited on storage space and therefore keeping a bulky lawn mower will take up desirable square footage. Artificial turf means you can skip mowing and get rid of the lawn mower.

green backyard turf that doesn't need mowing in the sun

Distinguish Outdoor Space

A great landscape design trick is to use different materials to delineate different areas of your yard and how they are supposed to be used. For example, you may have a wood deck next off your house with a dining table and then a small patio next to that for a grilling area. Mixing up hardscape and the use of outdoor furniture, rugs and changing up your hardscape like grass, decks and patios will help create these rooms and can actually maximize your space and make your small backyard feel larger.

installed astroturf in a small yard with a concrete patio, plants and privacy fence

Landscaping & Gardens

Don't forget to properly landscape around your artificial turf to help maintain a natural look and enhance its beauty.

small backyard turf ideas, turf in front of the house

Is all artificial grass created equally?

There is a difference in synthetic turf products. When researching products, check if the product meets the minimum standards for development, as determined by the guidelines from the Synthetic Turf Council.

There are also many different kinds of turf. Lawns explicitly created for residential use have softer and more natural blades, while sports fields utilize different terrain. As with any home project, do some research first!

Who installs fake grass and how long does it take?

The installation process can vary depending on the turf type and where it's being laid. The installation takes approximately one to three days for a standard residential property. Be sure to use a licensed contractor who specializes in artificial lawn installation.

How well does artificial turf drain?

Artificial grass can drain very well, depending on the infill (more about that below) and the drainage technology. A reliable contractor sets up drainage flow during the synthetic turf installation. For example, FieldTurf Landscape products can drain 400 mm of water per hour, maximizing the time you get to use your lawn.

What is infill?

Infill is the materials spread over the artificial turf during installation to keep blades standing tall and protect your lawn. With natural grass, blades are held upright by water and nutrients. Artificial grass mimics this process with synthetic materials. There are many kinds of infill to choose from, including silica sand, rubber, cork, or Envirofill.

What is thatch?

Thatch is used as an infill for synthetic lawns and prevents fly-ups and dust. Simulated thatch acts just like natural thatch because it settles in and around the blades of grass. Not only does it fill in gaps, but it also remains permeable and adds a form of cushion. The additional cushioning add to the lawn’s natural feel and makes it a more comfortable surface to walk and play on.

How long does artificial grass last?

With modern technology, on average, artificial grass can last 10 to 15 years. Some high-quality artificial lawns can last up to 20 years.

Does artificial turf come with a warranty?

Different companies offer a variety of warranties. An excellent artificial turf warranty covers fading, workmanship, and materials issues. Again, do your research!

Landscaping Around Your Artificial Grass

Many homeowners worry that fake grass may look out of place in their yard. However, with the right landscaping, your turf can be the perfect addition to your yard and a very practical addition.

Tilly frequently designs backyard with turf and can help you find the right layout for your space. We have professional landscape designers across the country. You will be matched with your own designer and will be able to share your goals and show them your property during a video call meeting.

Curious to learn more? See how it works!

small backyard turf ideas, the perfect condition for a multi functional backyard with plants and a privacy fence
Photo credit: FieldTurf

Read more about: Landscape Design Tips, Sustainable Design