What Is The Difference Between AstroTurf And Fake Grass?

Sometimes, making your yard aesthetic is more difficult when you have options that seem identical at first glance. The choice between AstroTurf and fake grass may leave you scratching your head, wondering if they’re just two names for the same lush green covering.  

However, delving into the nuances of these alternatives reveals a world of distinctions that extend beyond mere semantics. 

Read the entire article, and you’ll discover that the disparity between AstroTurf and fake grass goes beyond the surface – literally. 

Also Read – How Much Does It Cost to Lay AstroTurf?

The Origins of AstroTurf

AstroTurf refers specifically to the original synthetic turf product that debuted in the 1960s. It was invented by the Monsanto Company and first installed at the Houston Astrodome sports stadium, which led to its iconic name.

AstroTurf features:

  • Materials: Short green nylon fibers woven onto a latex and polyester backing
  • Pile height: Approximately 0.5 inches high
  • Minimal padding or support underneath
  • Designed for performance and durability
  • Used primarily for professional sports fields and stadiums

This short, rough synthetic turf was a game changer for all-weather play. But it garnered a reputation for causing injuries and “turf burns” due to its abrasive fibers and hard surface when players fell. Often flooded fields retained moisture under the surface as well.

These drawbacks led to advancements in the technology and alternative synthetic turf options, now commonly referred to as “fake grass.”

Key Differences Between AstroTurf and Today’s Fake Grass

There are several generations and types of fake grass on the market that vary in quality, purpose and installation. 

But in general, here are some of the key differences compared to original AstroTurf:

  • Blade materials: Fake grass uses softer polyethylene or polypropylene grass blades rather than stiff nylon. These are often UV-protected to prevent fading.
  • Pile height: Fake grass blades are longer, typically 1 to 2 inches high, providing a more lush, natural look.
  • Backing: High-quality fake grass uses a perforated backing to improve drainage, reducing pooling and slippery surfaces.
  • Infill: Most fake grass is installed with infill materials like sand and crumb rubber which provide stability, cushioning and shape retention.
  • Installation: Fake grass is generally installed over compacted gravel, drainage cell sheets and soft padding to enhance safety, drainage and comfort.
  • Aesthetics: Fake grass is focused on realistically emulating the look of lush, beautiful grass of any variety. There are different blade shapes, colors and sizes.
  • Primary applications: While AstroTurf was exclusively for major sports facilities, fake grass is now common in residential yards, playgrounds, pools, rooftops, patios, and commercial landscaping.
  • Lifespan: Properly installed high-quality fake grass lasts 15-25 years, significantly longer than the 8-10 year lifespan of AstroTurf.

Fake grass provides a far more comfortable, breathable, attractive and versatile solution while retaining durability for light sports and play. It is suitable for lawns, recreation, decoration, and leisure rather than high-impact pro sports games and matches where AstroTurf is still used.

Examples of Leading Fake Grass Brands

There are many reputable providers of fake grass designed specifically for residential and commercial installation. 

Some top brands include:

  • ForeverLawn: Offers exclusive K9Grass designed for pets and MultiLawn with natural multicolored blades. 25 year warranty.
  • TigerTurf: Features PetTurf for dogs plus sports turf, putting greens and playground grass. Up to 15 year warranty.
  • Synthetic Grass Warehouse: Carries premium lawn, pet, playground, golf and landscape turf. Offers 25 year warranty.
  • Shaw Sports Turf: The artificial grass division of the flooring company Shaw. Known for athletic and landscaping turf.
  • Playground Grass: Specializes in synthetic turf for playgrounds, daycares, schools and parks. Ultra-durable and safe.

What to Look for in Fake Grass

When researching and selecting fake grass, look for:

  • Realistic blades: Varied heights, colors, textures resembling natural grass type
  • Warranty: 10-25 years against fading, defects, deterioration
  • Permeable backing: Allows drainage so surface doesn’t get flooded
  • Adequate infill: Usually a sand and rubber mix providing stability
  • Weather/UV protection: Keeps grass from becoming too hot or fading
  • Safety: Adequately cushioned with padding and infill materials

Also Read – Can Artificial Grass Cause Damp?


In summary, AstroTurf refers to the original short-pile athletic turf first popular in the 1960s while fake grass or artificial grass describes the more advanced residential and commercial systems available today.

While AstroTurf is still used for select professional sports applications, fake grass provides superior aesthetics, safety, drainage, and versatility for modern homes and businesses seeking to install attractive, low maintenance synthetic lawns and landscapes.

Be sure to research your options thoroughly, and work with reputable suppliers of higher-end fake grass designed for beauty, comfort and longevity. This will provide the best outcome whether you’re replacing your home’s lawn or constructing a new sports complex.