Spending time outdoors is highly recommended for its well documented benefits to one’s well-being. Even a few minutes of walking around the park or eating a quick snack at a public plaza can make you healthier and happier. Unfortunately, most people living in urban areas like Phoenix and Scottsdale don’t have ready access to nature. Worse still, according to the Synthetic Turf Council, children who have the most need for outdoor play aren’t spending enough time outside.
The good news is local authorities and governments are taking notice. More cities are looking to increase the number of their parks, open areas and community gardens. Green spaces, in particular, are becoming popular. As defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a green space is an undeveloped land that is partly or completely covered with trees, shrubs or other vegetation, with no buildings or other built structures.
With the use of artificial turf, creating public recreational areas is now a whole lot easier and cost-efficient. But those are not the only perks a community can get from green spaces. Read on to find out more.
Bringing Nature to the People
In major cities where every square footage of land holds huge value, undeveloped space that can be converted into a park may be quite hard to find. This is why urban planners are looking into new ways to bring the nature to people. Take for example the pop-up park phenomenon in Brixton and Sheffield in England where local authorities close down city streets and roll down synthetic turf in the summer to create temporary green spaces. This has also inspired similar trends such as rooftop gardens, putting artificial grass in communal workspaces, and playground surfacing at hotels, apartments and condominiums. These readily available areas are more appealing to people and puts otherwise idle spaces into good use.
Encouraging a More Active Lifestyle
Even man-made nature can affect the human psyche the same way as the natural outdoors does. If you ever need a good push to start running or jogging, picking a route that runs through your local park might just do it. Synthetic nature made with artificial grass can trick the body into thinking that it is exposed to actual nature, thereby encouraging you to be more active. A similar reaction happens to people when they watch videos of nature, mountains, waterfalls, flowers and plants. For instance people in hospital waiting rooms have reduced stress levels. Research also reveals that people exposed to synthetic nature exhibit higher pain tolerance.
Providing Safer Play Surfaces
As far as play surfaces are concerned, synthetic grass is perhaps the safest. Sports fields or playgrounds constructed with artificial turf are much more forgiving in case an athlete falls. The surface is cushioned and provides more bounce that just eases the landing. Compared to rubber surfaces, artificial grass also eradicates the painful friction burns completely. Synthetic surfaces are also more even than natural turf, meaning there are no holes or rocks that can trip players over when they run around. Cases of injuries can be drastically reduced and athletic performance can further be improved.
Reducing Overall Water Consumption
Natural greenery requires extensive upkeep to retain its health and aesthetic appeal. A big public park can take somewhere between thousands and tens of thousands of dollars, and most of those go to irrigation and watering alone. In an area with a dry climate and frequent droughts, water can be really expensive and hard to come by, so it is not economical to maintain that much grass. Since artificial turf doesn’t need to be watered, communities can conserve water and cut back on their expenses at the same time. All this, without the grass losing its green color or its form because synthetic turf are specifically designed to withstand many years’ worth of foot traffic.
Decreasing Harmful Chemical Runoff
Pesticide and fertilizers may keep destructive critters away and the plant life healthy, but they are not very good for the environment. The pesticide runoff produced when it rains or when watering the lawn accumulates and makes its way into the soil and nearby bodies of water. The contamination spreads and affects the wildlife depending on these natural resources, too. But when artificial turf is used, the grass doesn’t need to be fertilized or sprayed with pesticide. There’s no danger of harmful runoff flowing down to lower areas when there’s strong rain or heavy floods. Synthetic turf also has excellent drainage capabilities, meaning the grass will better absorb excess water and divert it to where it won’t negatively impact the environment.
Bringing Down Pollen Count
People who suffer from allergies know just how difficult it is to enjoy the outdoors when there’s an abundance of pollen in the air. It also doesn’t help that grass allergy is one of the most common types of pollen allergies and it affects both humans and their canine companions. No wonder itchy eyes, watery noses and sneezing are so prevalent during spring and early in the summer. Switching from natural grass into artificial turf, however, creates safer spaces for those who are allergic. Synthetic grass doesn’t attract pollen and is made entirely from hypoallergenic materials. It effectively brings down the pollen count as well since it doesn’t need to be mowed down. Artificial grass will remain at the ideal height for many years to come.
Earning Back Initial Expenses
One of the most commonly cited reasons why communities think twice about installing artificial grass is due to the considerable expense. Laying down natural turf costs approximately $3 per square foot, but artificial grass can cost upwards of $5 per square foot. What they fail to take into account, however, is that the initial investment can be easily offset within three to four years’ time. Multi-purpose activity areas may also allow the government to recoup the money they spent for installation if they rent it out to practicing sports teams or organizations in need of a public venue. Parks can also generate more revenue by establishing food trucks or other similar establishments nearby for the people to enjoy.
Creating green spaces for urban communities is more feasible with synthetic turf. Let reputable artificial grass companies help you develop an accessible area for the public’s benefit.
The Great Debate: Synthetic Or Natural Turf, ParksAndRecBusiness.com
Can artificial grass and fake trees replace our need for ‘real’ nature?, TheConversation.com