We have seen it all over the news for over a year now, homeowners are ripping out their lawns in favor of drought tolerant plants, hardscapes and artificial turf or synthetic grass. The lingering drought has forced many Californians to rethink their landscapes and look water wise alternatives. So what about synthetic turf? What are the pros and cons? This article may help you weigh the advantages and disadvantages.
Pros and Cons of Fake or Synthetic Grass
Maile Meloy, Sunset.com
There’s just something beautiful and comforting about mown grass. Whether you’re throwing a ball, lying in the shade on a hot day, or sitting outside on a warm night, a green lawn is a pleasure.
Writer Wallace Stegner, having grown up in dry, wild Saskatchewan, Canada, first saw a lawn at age 11 in Montana. “I stooped down and touched its cool nap in awe and unbelief. I think I held my breath ― I had not known that people anywhere lived with such grace.”
Lawns are also an environmental nightmare if you live in a dry climate, and Stegner did try hard to remind people of the natural aridity of the West. I live in Los Angeles, where millions of gallons of drinkable water are dumped into lawns every day, year-round.
Compare: Lawns and the alternatives
Each of the hundreds of thousands of gas-powered push mowers that whine away, cutting that lushly watered grass, puts 11 times more pollution into the air every hour than a car. The leaf blowers ― illegal in many areas but widely used anyway ― are just as bad. The carbon footprint of L.A.’s lawns is enormous.
And then there’s the constant, nerve-racking noise from all those mowers and blowers, on different lawns, on different days.
For a while, my husband and I dealt with the problem by not watering our lawn. Call it default xeriscaping: If you don’t water, you miraculously don’t have to mow. But it’s not pretty. The weeds start to take over, and people stop picking up after their dogs, figuring that you don’t really care. We did care about the grass ― we just didn’t want it to grow.
Then we went to a party at the house of a landscape designer who watered, she said, for only eight minutes a week, and did her own gardening, with no mowing. This was real xeriscaping: She had succulents, and drought-tolerant trees, and pink-flowering cactus, and Mexican beach pebbles ― and two stunning green rectangles of perfect lawn in the back. “The grass,” another guest whispered to me. “It’s not real.”
“It’s not?” I asked. It looked gorgeously real.
“Touch it,” she said.
I did, and it was true: The grass was fake.
Read more about synthetic grass at Sunset.com