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What Are the Different Types of Backyard Turf?

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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2016
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Backyard turf has evolved a great deal since the last two decades of the 20th century. Many different companies create and install backyard turfs, but there are only a few different types of backyard turf that are currently manufactured. Nylon or polyethylene are the two primary materials used to make artificial turf. These fibers can be colored, cut, and styled to look like a variety of natural grasses which is usually how people choose between backyard turfs. The base of the artificial turf can be filled with water, sand, or a mixture of the two.

The main difference between types of backyard turfs is whether the blades of artificial grass are made from nylon or polyethylene fibers. Nylon turf is not as common any more because the green dye needed to make the artificial grass look real does not bond well to a nylon surface. Treating nylon turf with lead allows the green dye to be absorbed but leaves behind a residue which can pose a health hazard.

Though older backyard turf may be made from nylon, newer turfs are not commonly made from this material. Polyethylene turfs, unlike those made from nylon, can be easily dyed without the use of harmful chemicals. These turfs can also be recycled when they are no longer needed, though they are not biodegradable, as they are made out of synthetic materials.

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In terms of the aesthetics, there are many different options available. Polyethylene and nylon fibers can be cut and colored to resemble any popular grass species. The blades can be cut to be very short, making the turf ideal for putting, or they can be left longer to better resemble a living lawn. Traditionally, turfs are made in shades of green, though the fibers can be dyed any color.

The blades of artificial fibers come attached to a base, making the turf easy to install. This base can be filled with sand which creates a firm surface for the turf or water which gives a softer feel, more like that of real grass. It is also possible to find bases that are a mixture of sand and water, making it possible for buyers to customize the firmness of backyard turf. Sand-filled bases do not require maintenance, but water-based ones do need to be watered just as normal lawns do. Bases made from a mixture require less watering but do need to be kept moist so that the materials in the turf are not damaged.

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