Arvada, CO., March 26, 2003 – Sell the mower! Cancel your plans to install a sprinkler system! Stop hassling your teenager about mowing the lawn! Additionally, help conserve one of our most valuable resources, water.
The latest rage to hit suburbia is synthetic lawns. The recent advancements made in synthetic turf appearance and performance may tempt more people to install swaths of it in their own yards as a maintenance-free alternative to grass. Is it real or is it synthetic? Kneel down close enough to inspect it and you can tell it's not real. But like one of those really good artificial Christmas trees, from a few feet away, it looks so real you have to touch it to be sure. It's so life-like it fools both people and the neighborhood pets.It's actually a combination of synthetic fibers and either sand or recycled rubber crumb spread between the fibers. It never needs watering, mowing, weeding or fertilizing!
"I had my whole yard done in artificial grass. It looks great everyday, like it was just mowed," says ex Denver Bronco, Keith Poole. "The only thing I have to do to it is blow off the debris with my leaf blower, and occasionally wash off the dust with my garden hose."
This summer, more and more people are installing entire yards of artificial turf. Most people are just too busy to worry about yard work. It saves money, takes the hassle out of lawn care and keeps the mud out of the house. "I installed a little strip of ProGreen™ Landscape Turf on the side of my house because I didn't want to spend the time to care for a little area and was tired of kids dragging mud in the house," says Gary Kayser of Denver.
However, it's not without opposition. Nature purists and some neighborhood Homeowners Associations are still against it. Ask an entomologist about fake grass and they'll tell you it cuts down on the biodiversity. They claim it's bad for the birds and the bugs. Others say it takes away from the natural landscape. "We're concerned that the ground will not absorb the water during a heavy rain, causing unpredictable flooding," says an unidentified homeowners board member of Highlands Ranch, a community south of Denver. The city of Thornton, CO has banned synthetic grass because they don't know enough about it. Their main concerns are drainage and fading.
Water shortages are on the rise and many cities and municipalities are mandating water conservation laws. Places like Phoenix, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado have put moratoriums on installing sod and planting natural grass in certain areas. Other municipalities around the country have limited the amount of grass a homeowner can install. The Albuquerque city water commission is giving as much as $500 to residents who convert there yards from grass to a landscape that needs little water.
ProGreen International, Inc., a synthetic turf company headquartered in Arvada, Colorado has been installing synthetic putting greens since 1987. ProGreen™ president Steve Walker says, "There's a big misconception about synthetic lawns. It's not anything like the old astro turf. The grass fibers are realistic looking and the backing is perforated which keeps the water draining naturally. We've been synthetic here in the Denver area since 1987 and have not experienced any noticeable fading. We expect our ProGreen Landscape Turf™ product to outpace putting green sales within the next two years.
We offer several different types of artificial turf depending on the customer's needs. Some want the artificial grass just for esthetics, while others also want it for playing. If kids are running and jumping on it, we offer a longer fiber turf along with a recycled rubber crumb in-fill in place of sand in-fill. Water drains through the perforated bottom. Life expectancy is approximately 20 years."
Ken Deal of Aurora, CO says, "I bought my fake grass for a dog run. The sand absorbs the wet messes and I just scoop up the other messes, just like I did when I had real grass. Now I don't have to worry about my dogs Bruno and Chester tearing up the grass! My neighbors told me it looks just like natural grass!"
Matt Krimmer who lives south of Denver covered his entire 1-acre backyard with a synthetic putting green, fake grass and rock. "I absolutely love the fact that there's no maintenance and I'm doing my part in conserving water." Says Krimmer.
"I think the benefits far outweigh the negatives," says ProGreen president, Steve Walker. "Water shortages are becoming an epidemic throughout the country. Imagine the water that could be saved if only 5% of America's homeowners didn't have to water their lawns. What surprises me most are the people that are against artificial grass are also against environmentally harmful pesticides and fertilizers. They also want to conserve water. It just doesn't make sense. We have customers that desperately want our product, only to see it get shot down by their HOA. I think these people have gone too far in opposing artificial grass yards, especially with the recent advancements in synthetic grass technology." Whether you are for or against artificial grass yards, they're not going away. Only you can decide if the fake grass is always greener!