Companies that manufacture, sell or install artificial lawns are experiencing a boom in business, due to the drought-like conditions and watering restrictions in many California cities.
But the synthetic lawns today aren’t the same plastic AstroTurf made popular in the 1970s. The products on the market now, are not just used for putting greens and football fields either.
Troy Scott, of Artificial Turf Express in San Jose, CA gets calls every day from homeowners inquiring about artificial grass.
“If you were to talk to the turf manufacturers, that’s a big thing they notice. As soon as there are drought restrictions, watering restrictions, or a water conservation ordinance like many cities in California, it really just makes this industry explode,” said Scott.
Today’s synthetic lawns are made to stay cool underfoot, drain rain water, and last for 10-15 years. The products come in different shades of green, different textures, and mimic different varieties of natural grass.
Choosing synthetic turf can be expensive upfront: prices range from $4.50 to $18 a square foot.
Homeowner Mike Corwin installed artificial grass in his front yard, and says the investment was worth it.
“The initial cost is expensive, but it’s already paid for itself over the four years. Not having to re-sod it, not having to water. The yard guys [come less often]. So it’s more than paid for itself,” said Corwin.
Corwin and his wife have ten children, ranging in age from six to eighteen. The Corwins found themselves having to re-sod the grass on their property over and over. A grand tree in the front yard prevents the yard from getting much sunlight, and they needed a mud-free space where their children and pets could play.
“As you can tell the traffic on it is quite a bit with all the kids we have. It’s really helped our water usage, which is a quarter of what it used to be,” said Corwin.
He says many homeowners are skeptical, until they see the fake grass first-hand.
“The neighbors now go and check it out. Before it was people taking a leap of faith,” said Scott.
“I love that you can wash it off, blow it off with a leaf blower, and be done,” said Corwin.