Throw away your lawn mower, fake grass is here.

Californians may soon get rebates to replace their traditional grass lawns with a synthetic substitute to encourage water conservation. And as an added incentive they can toss out that lawn mower.

Where the (Faux) Grass Is Greener

Anaheim, along with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, is test-driving synthetic lawns as a way to conserve water.

If it works, residents who install the faux grass may soon be eligible to receive rebates, similar to those offered for low-flow toilets and water-efficient washing machines.

Public utility officials estimate that about 40%—perhaps as much as 70%—of an average residential water bill goes to outdoor uses. And 90% of that water is used on lawns.

The availability of fresh water in the western states is a growing concern and there are already some major political and legal battles taking place in several states that share access to very limited fresh water sources. The trend of issuing rebates to water customers who install water efficient appliances is already well underway in many states and the use of fake grass in areas outside of the sports arena is growing as well. But is it really better than the real thing?

“We’re talking no more mowing, watering, fertilizing, weeding or resodding,” AstroLawn’s website promises.

“Roll around on your soft, supple, virtual lawn with your kids with no worry of dirt, cinch bugs or grass stains. Tiptoe through your beautiful garden, enjoying your gorgeous landscape that is sure to be the envy of the neighbors. We know you have better things to do than water and care for a grass lawn.”

The modern version is a far cry from old-school AstroTurf, a hard carpet of green that looks fake a mile away.

“Oh my God, it’s soft, beautiful,” said Mary Adams, who lives in one of five Anaheim homes that received the artificial turf as part of a pilot program. “We’ve had so many people just stop and feel it. Even the street cleaners and the trash people. It is an eye-catcher.”

Anaheim homeowner Ervin Page, 32, doesn’t have a fake lawn, but he’s thinking about installing one. He’s already received about $700 in rebates from the city after buying a water-efficient refrigerator, washing machine and air-conditioning unit.

“You gotta find the savings wherever you can,” said Page, who visited one of the pilot homes armed with his digital camera. “If you can help the environment at the same time, why not?”

Page wasn’t completely sold on the grass. He wanted it to look less manicured. But, he said, “I love the feel. If you were to be blindfolded and walk across, you’d have a tough time telling the difference.”

This is the sort of thing that’s probably only useful in climates that tend to be hostile to grass in the first place, which is a shame as the idea of not having to mow my lawn once I purchase a house is an attractive one.

16 thoughts on “Throw away your lawn mower, fake grass is here.

  1. the idea of not having to mow my lawn once I purchase a house is an attractive one.

    You’re not a stupid evil bastard, you’re a stupid lazy bastard.  lmao.

    Mowing the lawn that you own is like a right of passage, especially if you have a riding lawn mower. You can sit half naked atop that noisy pollution spewing beast, cold barley beverage in hand and be lord of all you survey.

  2. Ok I might not be a science whiz but isn’t grass like most plants that produce chemicals that allow us to breathe? Wouldn’t removing it cause issues of clean air like cutting down massive amount of trees?

    Or am I having a blonde moment here?

  3. Wyllow, I don’t think enough turf will ever get installed to create that kind of problem.  It’s also being focused on drier areas anyway, which aren’t big oxygen contributers like rain forests are. 

    Lawnmowers are air polluters.  I’m sure the lack of grass in your yard will be compensated by not running a lawn mower, blower, and weedeater every week, along with not using the fertilizers and pesticides.

    Part of the grass problems is people who want something like St Augustine grass, and live in an arid area.  Tropical plants need LOTS of water.  I’m in the Dallas area, have Bermuda grass, and my watering makes up the majority of my water bill in the summer months.  And I only water 2 days a week when it isn’t raining.  I know people who must have that dark green yard, and are willing to shell out $100 or more a month in water to have it.

    It also doesn’t help that some people and many businesses don’t even bother to monitor their watering, letting it run during rainy months and during the winter, sometimes on a daily basis.

  4. I need some of this! I will have a beautiful lawn no matter what AND the husband no longer has to complain about mowing the yard! EXCELLENT!

  5. My wife and I saw this on a home improvement program, and the same thought occurred to us both, simultaneously.

    What if you have a dog?

  6. This is PERFECT for California!

    With so many of us already owning fake breasts, teeth, noses, people (i.e. actors and actresses), and plastic Christmas trees, this fits right in.

    /sarcasm off

    I’ll reserve judgement until I can actually see the product myself.  However, I do have dogs, and they do like the lawn a lot   I’d also like to see what happens to the artificial lawn 10 or 20 years down the road.  How well does it stop weed penetration?  Just because you don’t have to mow it, doesn’t mean it’s low maintenance.


  7. Our local baseball team was one of the first in the country to get a field that was half real, half artificial.  They actually implant synthetic grass into the soil with this huge sewing machine on wheels.  Has really held up well and allowed the team to let other local sports use the field without fear of it getting torn up.

  8. Ragman- Thanks. I was partly being sarcastic yet at the same time this thread became the topic for discussion between my husband and I.

    Though it is on a smaller scale, it does leave me to think down the road though if there were enough “replacements” that eventually it would cause a problem. Small things that wouldn’t matter can add up to a problem when in mass. Just my worry wort side.

    Good point about the lack of pollution from the mowers though. Also on the positive outlook it would be a wonderful thing for -people like me - those whom are allergic to grass. Then I wouldn’t have to nag at hubby to mow the grass or go out there myself almost killing my self to prove the point why he has to do it. Not to mention being able to actually wrestle in the yard with everyone and not worry about breaking out in a rash.

    Hmm when I own a home might be something to look into.

  9. I would think something like this would have quite an adverse effect on the water cycle in an arid area like southern California.  Should the offer be taken by a good measure of people, it would be that much more surface area gone to plastic and concrete, paving the way even further towards desertification.

    Now, I’m not all that much of a naturalist, and I’m definitely not saying that everybody there should have water hungry tropical vegetation in their yards.  But if there are already water shortages and such, wouldn’t a fairly crappy live lawn be a little better than the sand dunes that may occupy the space in the future?

  10. OK, let’s be realistic here.  Synthetic grass will never replace all of the real grass in our world.  However, it is the ideal product for those people who don’t have the time, the drive or the ability to take care of their lawns.  I have a company that sells and installs synthetic grass and all I get are rave reviews about it, as long as you get over it being “fake grass”.  The applications are endless.  Towns are now using it for the medians in the roads, around monuments and other area of town pride.  All this does in the long run is save the tax payers money.  No more maintance by the town means less tax money spent on those things that you take for granted.  In addition, we use synthetic grass on playgrounds in parks and child care centers.  We meet all federal codes for saftey ratings.  This means no more woodchips, sand or dirt coming home after the kids are done playing.  As far as a warranty, I give a 10 year warranty on my product and if you realy look at it, we use the same quality that goes into the professional football fields.  They also get a 10 year warranty.  Taking that into conssideration, Giant Stadium just got the grass and the Giants, Jets, Metrostars and several college and high school events happen there throughout the year.  One year of abuse on that surface is most likely more than 25 years abuse on your lawn.

  11. I live in Las Vegas, Nv. The place has been, and always will be in a drought. The same place that waste huge amounts in water on the front of there hotel’s. To attract people to there casino. As a home owner in in Nv I am told when and how I can use the precious water, Take this in to consideration, How many people wash there car? Let the water run down the drive way? In Nv. We are liable to be fined. I really love the idea of “fake grass”  I plan on removing the ‘real’ grass in my yard and putting grass in, thats stays green all year. I know this will be a exciting thing. When the prices come down. For god sake’s it’s plastic! We haven’t evented anything new. We just painted some shredded up milk carton’s green.

  12. Just to let you know.  Most artificial turf manufactures have designed drain holes in their product.  This allows rain water and runoff to filtrate back into the ground were you want it.
    On a large field such as football field, a french drain system is laid under the turf to carry away large amounts of water.

  13. I think some are missing the point. Nobody is suggesting, nor would there be a need to replace grass in areas where grass grows naturally and water is plentiful.

    Some may not know it, but every tree you see in the Los Angeles basin was brought there during the early development of Hollywood and residential communities trying to make what was more farmland than palm-lined money pit. In reality, every tree, every lawn you see in Los Angeles is FAKE.

    Lawns weren’t possible before William Mullholland as the Los Angeles City Water Company Superintendant in 1886, developed the Los Angeles water system, irrigating the LA Basin, later building the Los Angeles Aquaduct.

    Before that, people went out and watered their DIRT.

    The point missed is that in areas where water shortages and/or costs are a restrictive factor economically and environmentally, it is the lush lawns now being enjoyed that are indeed artificial, costly, environmentally unfriendly and it is these areas, like my own community here in Las Vegas, Nevada that could benefit greatly from a water-less substitute.

    It would be trading the artificially and environmentally contradictive REAL Kentucky Blue, not native to the area for a synthetic alternative which serves a similar function at a relatively more efficient cost to both the environment and the wallet.

    Assuming anyone is going to tear up lush lawns in areas where lush lawns are well suited is silly. No benefit would exist. Installing a Virtual LAWN in Salisbury, Maryland where the ground is so fertile and wet that if you throw your socks down on the ground, a root system will form is not even what this topic is about.

    In desert communities like California being Sonora, Las Vegas being Mojave it is the lush thick REAL grass that is the ARTIFICIAL ground cover. Virtual LAWNS are just another more effective and efficient alternative.


  14. For the people out there who are anti synthetic grass because of the fact it may effect our eco system because of the oxygen and such, I am curious to know if you are also as anti- xeriscaping which turns functional grass areas into dirt/rock lots that also contribute NOTHING to our eco system? Synthetic grass is not for everyone and no one product is going to be 100% perfect or positive to the environment but in places like Arizona Nevada and Southern California there are severe drought situations it is not a bad idea to look into. Like someone else said no syntethic grass may not give off the oxygen or chemicals that are beneficial but it also does not require pesticides nor a mower that gives off pollutants or a weed wacker or waste water we are already in a shortage for. I have done some research to get this product myself and based on a website that calculates average water consumption for an average 500 sqft lawn over 10 years uses 3.2 MILLION gallons of water. as a personal side note I must ask the people who are concerned about taking out real grass for synthetic because of environmental reasons…. What kind of car do you drive like most people I am going to guess a SUV maybe a pick up truck? Those are also doing NO harm to the environment ( note the sarcasm ) I doubt all of the Environmentalists against synthetic grass drive a HYBRID vehicle.

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