It seems synthetic grass is the perfect solution for creating attractive lawns for those living in parched landscapes. With the improvements in their manufacture and the great technological innovations that have been made in the industry the fake grass of today almost look better than the real thing.

This type of grass is preferred by dogs and neighbors can’t tell the difference. And when in the grips of prolonged drought, a no-water green space has its appeal.

Not all cities give owners the opportunity of using it anywhere they like on their property. Cities such as Sacramento still prohibit its use for front-yard landscaping. The city code of Sacramento is quite specific in saying “no artificial turf” . It’s a restriction that is generally enforced only if there’s a complaint.

A Drought Solution

The prolonged California prolonged drought, however, has many cities and people looking twice at synthetic lawns and reconsidering such bans. It is going the other ways for some California cities, such as Roseville, where there is the suggestion that synthetic turf be used as part of their grass-replacement initiatives.

When you consider that a healthy grass lawn will typically require 55 gallons of water per square foot each year it works out to around 33,000 gallons of water each year for a 600-square-foot lawn. Over the equivalent lifespan of the average artificial grass product which is around 15 years the installation of a synthetic lawn can save 495,000. When you start multiplying that by a significant number of homes in a local community it works out to an enormous amount of water that is saved.

On the other hand, artificial grass usually costs $8 to $13 per square foot installed.

Hot Synthetic Grass

One of the concerns that continues to be raised is how hot the turf can get. One owner in Sacramento whose backyard gets direct sunlight finds that it can get hot and uncomforatble to walk on in barefeet. They are quick to add that the benefits of low maintenance and no water outweigh that issue.

It is possible to overcome the hot feet issue by doing a little bit of research before selecting the synthetic grass you install. To be more precise, products such as  ‘Cool Grass’ (from New Grass) will stay cool enough to stand on comfortably after being exposed to the sun for an extended length of time. Another product that has been developed to reduce the surface temperature is TenCate.

Improved Innovation

There is now a great deal of variety and pricing variation in the industry with innovations over the last four years leading to new yarn shapes with greater resilience so they can last through the more significant levels of foot traffic. The grass is not always necessarily going to be laid as perfectly green with tan thatches being produced to better replicate real grass and the subtle variations in color.

With the varied array of yarns that are now available it is possible to replicate a bunch of different grass types making synthetic grass far more versatile.

The Real Downsides to Synthetic Grass Lawns

There is a real downside to artificial lawns, the question of what to do after 20 years when it needs to be replaced? When it’s spent, real grass breaks down into the soil; fake grass goes to the landfill. This is a problem that is still yet to be satisfactorily addressed.

There is another significant downside that homeowners will discover when it comes time to sell their home. Synthetic turf also can have a negative impact on the salability of the home.

There is a stigma that artificial grass carries and real estate agents have already noticed it. Homes that have artificial grass installed – whether it’s a backyard lawn, a putting green or a patch of dog grass – do not sell as quickly as homes without it.

In many cases, homeowners with synthetic grass in their backyards who are having trouble finding buyers are being advised to remove the grass altogether, after which the homes invariably sell…and for impressive prices too.
A more complete recent article covering the thoughts and experiences of people who have installed the products and those who sell them has been published at