A 2012 report from the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that homeowners spend an average of 2.8 hours weekly on lawn maintenance. A report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concludes that landscape irrigation accounts for almost one-third of all residential water usage. Because of these staggering figures a growing number of consumers are turning to synthetic grass for their yards to save time, money and conserve millions of gallons of water each year.
Today’s synthetic grass is engineered to be a beautiful, safe, cost-effective and eco-friendly landscape solution for many residential and commercial uses. Often available in many styles that replicate all of the common landscape grasses home owners have gotten creative with different applications of synthetic turf to enhance their landscape and yards. Not only homeowners are going this route so are municipalities, parks departments and homeowner associations nationwide.
Synthetic grass has become a popular solution in places where living grass can’t grow or be effectively maintained. Just ask any homeowner whose grass would not grow despite sodding the yard the backyard turned to mud every time it rained. In coastal New York, a homeowner with a water front property was experiencing numerous issues. Storms blew salt water onto the lawn killing the grass, geese fed on insects in the lawn creating unsanitary conditions, and thick clay soil caused drainage problems after heavy rains. When the owner installed over 17,000 square feet of synthetic grass, sizable maintenance costs were eliminated, drainage improved significantly and the geese droppings problem disappeared.
Homeowners are also using synthetic grass to create unique backyard retreats. In Tucson, Arizona a popular place for turf yards many people have installed outdoor areas that are meant for clam and relaxation – like outdoor day spas. Short-game golf enthusiasts have transformed areas around homes in the foothills of Austin, Texas into scale replicas of famous golf greens like the 12th at Augusta National and the 14th at Pebble Beach. The state-of-the-art synthetic grass covering a 2.5 acre area has created an ideal environment for his students to practice pitching, chipping and putting.
The Southern Nevada Water Authority estimates that every square foot of natural grass replaced saves 55 gallons of water per year. If an average lawn is 1,800 square feet, then Las Vegas homeowners with synthetic grass can save 99,000 gallons of water each year. Recognizing the water conservation qualities of synthetic grass, the Simi Valley City Council passed an ordinance specifically allowing the owners of single-family homes to use synthetic grass as a landscape solution in their front yards.
For most homeowners and business we calculate that synthetic grass can return the initial investment in two to four years, depending on the region of the country. A growing number of municipalities, particularly those in drought-stricken areas and where water is scarce like the Central Basin Municipal Water District in southeast Los Angeles County, also offer tax credits and rebates to encourage the use of water-saving landscape, including synthetic grass.