Homeowners are flocking to artificial grass due to it requiring very little upkeep. However, a beautiful yard needs more than artificial turf to truly stand out. While artificial grass provides a lush, green base for your outdoor area, plants are needed to add depth, texture, and color. In addition to enhancing the aesthetic appeal, plants also have a number of practical benefits when paired with artificial grass. Plants can provide shade and privacy, act as a natural barrier against wind and noise, and help to improve air quality. Unfortunately, homeowners are often unsure of which plants to pair with artificial turf.
In this blog post we will share 3 of our favorite low-maintenance plants to pair with artificial grass, and cover the importance of incorporating plants into your artificial turf installation.
Gumbo Limbo - Bursera simaruba
Its beauty and ruggedness make the Gumbo Limbo a South Florida landscape design classic. It will provide magnificent shade to any artificial grass installation and its red trunk will add color.
Planting: Does best when planted in sun or light shade. It needs a spot with good drainage but also considerable watering when first installed. Place 15 to 20 feet away from the house.
Care: Practically no care is needed for this ideal native. They are drought, salt, and hurricane resistant.
Use: With long, thick branches, a mature Gumbo Limbo is an ideal shade tree. It can become the centerpiece of any large South Florida garden. A gumbo-limbo will eventually provide summer fruit to mockingbirds, vireos, and parrots.
Final Height x Spread: 30 – 40 feet x 20 feet
Bougainvillea - Bougainvillea spp.
The ultimate vining shrub, Bougainvillea will add magnificent color to any South Florida artificial grass installation. It needs full sun and regular pruning to thrive.
Planting: Only plant in full sun and dry, well-draining soils. Bougainvillea will not produce flowers in the shade and will instead become a thorny mess. Plant with slow-release fertilizer. If planted in the ground place at least 5 feet away from any structure and other plants. Water thoroughly immediately after planting and then let the soil dry completely before watering again.
Care: Bougainvillea does best when their soil is a little dry, so make sure you don’t over-water it. It should be trimmed after each bloom cycle and then fertilized. Trim the branches 6 to 8 inches from the tip.
Use: We prefer to plant Bougainvillea in a large pot with a trellis so it can create a wall of color wherever needed. This setup also makes trimming easier. If planted in the ground we like to minimize the vegetation around it to make it really stand out.
Cocoplum - Chrysobalanus icaco 'Red Tip'
A South Florida native with contrasting foliage, Cocoplum will give texture and color to any turf project.
Planting: Place 3 feet away from other shrubs and structures. Do not plant in a container. Does well in full to partial sun. Does well in a variety of soils, from wet to sandy. Cocoplum is moderately salt tolerant.
Care: Prune hedges up to three times a year to keep them in shape. Can be cut with hedge trimmers for a manicured look. Does best with regular irrigation but will tolerate moderate dry spells. Fertilize three times a year (spring, summer, and fall) with slow-release fertilizer
Use: We like to use cocoplum as a privacy hedge or as a camouflage for A/C and pool equipment.
Why to use plants in Artificial Grass Installations
Simply installing artificial grass in your outdoor space can leave it feeling flat and uninviting. This is where pairing plants with artificial grass can come in to play. Plants add depth, texture, and color to the overall design of your outdoor space. They can provide shade and privacy, act as a natural barrier against wind and noise, and help to improve air quality. Incorporating plants into your artificial turf area can also help to reduce the urban heat island effect and help to promote biodiversity.
One of the biggest benefits of pairing plants with artificial grass is that it creates a more natural-looking outdoor space. Natural grass and plants work together to create a cohesive and harmonious design. When paired with artificial grass, plants can help to create the illusion of a natural lawn, making your outdoor space look more inviting and attractive.
Another benefit of pairing plants with artificial grass is that it can help to reduce the urban heat island effect. Urban areas often experience higher temperatures due to the concentration of buildings and concrete surfaces, which absorb and retain heat. Plants, on the other hand, release moisture through a process called transpiration, which can help to cool the air and reduce the temperature. Incorporating plants into your artificial grass area can help to counteract the urban heat island effect and make your outdoor space more comfortable.
Plants can also help to improve air quality by absorbing pollutants and releasing oxygen. This is particularly important in urban areas where air pollution can be a major concern. Incorporating plants into your artificial grass area can help to purify the air and create a healthier outdoor environment.
In terms of design, there are several different ways to incorporate plants into your artificial grass area. One option is to create a garden bed or raised planter around the perimeter of your artificial grass area. This can help to define the space and add a natural element to the design. Another option is to intersperse small clusters of plants throughout the artificial grass. This can add depth and interest to the design, and also help to break up the monotony of a large expanse of artificial grass.
In conclusion, artificial grass is a great option for homeowners looking for a low maintenance solution for their outdoor spaces. However, it can leave the space feeling flat and uninviting. By pairing plants with artificial grass, you can create an outdoor space that looks and feels natural, and also provides a number of practical benefits.