What do you recommend for a shaded backyard, with children and a dog, with some rain and wet conditions, but mostly sunshine (though lots of tree shade covering lawn, in California? Does Artificial Grass Wholesalers sell a 2” natural looking grass with no VOC emission? We prefer a blend, long pile, natural color, no VOCs and no need to refill.
Also, how do you clean up from a pet on artificial grass?
This question has a lot of parts, so we will have to approach it in a compartmentalized manner as there is not a single product which meets every single one of your needs. That said, there are a couple of different options that satisfy most of your prerequisites, but you will definitely need to figure out which qualities or features are more of a priority for you. In this instance, we will approach your question from a few different perspectives and then provide a round-up summary with our recommendations at the end of the response. The different perspectives that we will cover are climate, protections and safety, and maintenance.
For climate, we have a bit of a conundrum in the sense that you did not specify in which part of California you are located. As a resident, you are likely well-aware that SoCal is very different in climate than NoCal, as evidenced by the continued periodic calls for the state to be split into two separate states due to the wide range of differing needs and culture between the two. That said, some of the details you provided do at least help us get a better idea.
For example, you note that your region is mostly sunny but does see a bit of rain and actually has enough of a wet season to be mentioned. This suggests that you are located more north than south, though exactly how far north is impossible to tell from the description. Granted, there are numerous parts of California that hover around the middle or are even in the Southern region, but you did not mention snow. As such, we can safely assume you likely do not live in the mountains on the eastern inland region of the state. However, if you do live in southern California, you will want to avoid artificial grass made of unprotected polyethylene fibers.
The most relevant part of this consideration is the fact that you likely do not need to worry about the blistering temperatures that can melt certain types of fibers used with some of the artificial grass products. On top of that, the fact that most of the lawn will have some form of shade throughout the day also significantly decreases the likelihood of the sun melting any of the types of fibers used for artificial grass. The good news, in this regard, is that your climate is unlikely to be all that relevant of consideration despite what it might seem from your perspective.
In terms of safety and protection, despite the fact that you are unlikely to have to plan for fiber-melting temperatures, you will still definitely need to consider UV protection. This is because though the fibers may not melt, they are still susceptible to being bleached by UV radiation without some kind of protection. Thankfully, there are a number of different products on our list that provide solid UV protection to keep your artificial grass looking fresh and green.
Unfortunately, there is only a single product on our list that currently offers a no VOC grade product. The offsetting silver lining is that, unlike indoor products, the effect of VOC on the health of you and your family is significantly lower. Not only will the open air environment allow VOCs to disperse, but the exposure to natural weather will exhaust their release much quicker as well.
We mention this because the only product on our list with no VOCs does not meet too many of your other preferred requirements. While we understand clean living is a major cultural trend in California, regardless of the region, one or two weeks of open air exposure is about all you need for the overwhelming majority of the VOCs to be exhausted with the remaining process providing little more threat than the materials used while driving a car or taking public transportation, both of which are things that generally occupy less time than you might think while waiting in traffic.
Finally, the maintenance of the artificial grass will heavily depend on the general ecology of your region. For instance, you mention that you do not want to have to use an infill (I assume that’s what you meant by “refill” since the artificial fibers cannot be reattached). Not all artificial grass needs an infill, but if the space has some plant life already, then you will need something to prevent weeds from growing. Often this can be as simple as laying down a special tarp to prevent the weeds from getting sunlight and eliminates the need for infill. Of course, even artificial grass that does not require infill will still need something else to keep it in position, so you will still likely have to stake it down for a larger space.
For dogs, you will want to make sure to get an artificial grass designed for heavy foot-traffic, but it is important to remember that no artificial grass can withstand even a single dedicated pooch who likes to dig. A digging dog will eventually tear through any artificial grass product given enough time and persistence. In terms of cleaning up after the dogs, you will want to make sure that you pick up any physical remains and rinse off the grass daily to prevent uric acid from degrading the fibers or backing rug. Thankfully, every product on our list can be rinsed off with a hose and have drainage holes to prevent water from stagnating. That said, if the surface underneath the artificial grass is not porous, then you will either need to find a plastic-safe antimicrobial additive for the water or let the sections air out after rinsing them off, which is easier said than done for large spaces.
For our recommendations, the only VOC-free product we have is the Synturfmats. This product is UV protected and uses a 4-tone fiber aesthetic but also has the shortest pile on our list at 1” which is more like a putting green than a traditional lawn. Thankfully, it is fairly durable while still being soft for both children and pets. If you can deal with the VOCs until they mostly dissipate, the Artificial Grass Wholesalers is easily the most attractive and most comfortable artificial grass on our list, though it will require a bit more maintenance to keep in the best condition due to the incredibly dense and luxurious fiber weave. Finally, the iCustomrug is the easiest to take care of and also provides the most protection against the variety of potential concerns your environment will present. It is not VOC-free and arguably has the longest dissipation period out of all of them, but is by far the one that will last the longest without as much effort.