When most people read or hear the phrase, “artificial grass,” they almost inevitably end up thinking of football and mini golf, and while these uses are historically common, to limit the capabilities and qualities of artificial grass to just these two applications is to miss out on what it has to offer by a large degree. Drought-resistant, virtually maintenance-free, and beautiful even in the winter, artificial grass has much to recommend it. Here are seven surprisingly common uses of artificial grass that prove just how far-reaching its application is.

1. Playgrounds

Playgrounds have long been subject to the havoc that use and weather can wreak on them. Puddles can gather underneath swings, and dirt that’s been rubbed bare of its grass can cause damage to tender young skin when the inevitable tumble occurs. Because of this reality, artificial grass suppliers have been outfitting city parks, school, and church playgrounds with artificial grass that won’t allow puddles to form or dirt to be rubbed bare. Besides adding an element of safety and easier use to a playground area, artificial grass also ensures that grass stains from play are a thing of the past. Also, because artificial grass doesn’t need water or sun, it can also be used on indoor play spaces.

2. Dog Runs

From dog kennels and dog parks to the homeowner with a dog who doesn’t want a destroyed back yard, artificial grass makes for great dog run material. Easy to clean and virtually impossible to dig up, having a dog run carpeted with artificial grass also ensures that when you let your pooch back in the house, his paws aren’t covered in mud. If you’re a dog owner or a dog kennel owner looking to make your life with man’s best friend a little easier, artificial grass is hard to beat.

3. Lawns

Thanks to the massive California drought of the last couple of years, many homeowners have switched over from a real grass lawn to one that’s either completely made out of artificial grass or partly made out of artificial grass. During times when water is short, artificial grass will keep on looking just as immaculate and green as during times when water is plenty. It’s also maintenance-free, which means that during the summer months, you can finally get your weekends back.

4. Photo/Video Shoots

By now, most of us probably realize that the majority of what we see in a video or photo shoot isn’t a completely accurate reflection of reality, and that includes the “grass” in a video or photograph. Great for use inside, in parking lots, or on top of actual grass that’s lost some of its luster, artificial grass can make a somewhat dusty and barren place feel immediately vibrant and full of life — a trick every videographer and photographer needs from time to time.

5. Sports Fields

Artificial grass first made its appearance in the 1960s in the sport of baseball, when it was used in the brand-new Astrodome, home of the Houston Astros. While the artificial grass of today is very different than that original turf was, it still enjoys a lot of use on sports fields of all types, including football, tennis, lacrosse, soccer, golf, and field hockey.

6. Airports

There are a number of reasons airports have turned to artificial grass instead of real grass, and while one of them certainly has to do with the easier maintenance it offers, another reason has to do with the fact that fiber optics can be more easily integrated into artificial grass than it can be in actual grass. Lighting, ads, sound — the ways in which fiber optics get used in an airport are many, and they range from the desire to have more marketing outlets with which to target airport patrons to the need for more streamlined operational options such as incorporating runway lighting into artificial grass landing surfaces for aircraft.

7. Commercial Spaces

From large office complexes to malls and amusement parks, artificial grass can go a long way in crafting what appears to be a natural environment without the requirements of care, resources, personnel, and upkeep that a natural environment needs. Green all year round, artificial grass is a perfect complement to what could otherwise seem like an inhospitable commercial space. From use in outdoor landscaping to use in indoor courtyards, because artificial grass doesn’t need the sun or water to stay in tip-top shape, its versatility in these settings exceeds that of real grass.

From beautifying commercial spaces to keeping your local kennel from going to the dogs, artificial grass is everywhere, and most of the time, you probably don’t even know you’re seeing it.