What Are Your Thoughts on Fake Grass?

The Personal Journal section in today’s Wall Street Journal had an article ($) about how some homeowners are turning to fake grass for their lawns instead of the real thing.

My thought:


It just seems wrong to me. What’s next? Fake trees and flowers? Fake birds and insects? Fake kids playing out in the front yard?

Can you imagine a world covered in plastic? I don’t want to.

The manufacurers of fake grass say that people are installing their products to conserve water. I gotta say, if you take care of your yard properly, you shouldn’t have to use that much water. Of course, I do live in an area that normally gets lots of rain. Still, even in drier areas, it’s possible to have a decent looking yard if you:

1. Don’t cut your grass to short. Mowing your grass higher helps to shade the roots and can actually keep the ground moist. I mow my grass on the highest setting possible. In August, my grass looks awesome while everyone else’s looks burnt.

2. Water less frequently but more thoroughly. I read somewhere that you can actually water your grass for two hours every two weeks and get better results than by watering it more frequently. Watering more often trains the roots to stay close to the surface of the ground instead of growing deeper.

Anyway, I think it is safe to say that fake grass isn’t in my future.

17 thoughts on “What Are Your Thoughts on Fake Grass?”

  1. I’m in favor of any type of landscaping that doesn’t waste water like grass lawns do. And the constant mowing wastes energy too.

    The fake kids idea is a good one too! Do they come with “off” buttons? 😉

  2. funny topic. last year, i had a artificial turf rep over to give me an estimate on our middle back yard off the patio. same old story. basset hound pee stains, no more watering… annoyingly, the company would not give me a sq ft price over the phone so i could see if price was close to what i’d pay. insisted a salesperson come over. area is about 1200 sq ft. after the measurements, salesperson said it’ll cost about 18. i said 18 hundred. i’ll have to think about it. she said no. 18 thousand. next.
    whole experience was like spending more on a prius or other hybrid to save on gas…

  3. Muddlehead,

    $18,000 for 1,200 square feet? Wow!

    I worry about the ecological impact of plastic. What about birds and insects?

  4. Here in Utah the water companies estimate that 75% of yearly residential water usage is for outdoor watering. They have been encouraging conservation, of course, especially in the face of a continuing drought in the area. But this is the first time I have heard of fake lawns. If anyone around here is doing this I don’t know about it.

    Most people that are making changes to their yards just get rid of the lawn altogether and replace it with some sort of “natural” or “native” landscaping that has clumps of flowers and shrubs and a lot of bark mulch.

    As for my yard, we are slowly expanding the flower and vegetable garden area and slowly shrinking the lawn area – more because we don’t like mowing, and do like flowers and vegetables. But the changes are also lowering our water use as well.

  5. In West Texas, droughts a few years back got several of the city governments and trade associations to start encouraging “xeriscaping” (i.e., landscaping with plants that don’t require nearly as much water). If you can get past the odd American attachment to the grass lawn, you can have a beautiful, native landscape that doesn’t cost a fortune to water.

  6. I think the whole “Lawn” idea is fake. We see trees, brush, foilage in nature. But never do we see a perfectly manicured lawn. The aspect of getting the plastic turf that appeals to me is the reduction of water usage. I just see grass as a waste of water. If it was me, I’d cover my whole front yard with dirt. But still keep a few trees in tasteful areas. I love plants and trees and will have, just not grass/lawns.

  7. Weeds work, especially if you have a dog. Dogs will utterly kill your grass, but I’d rather have a dog than grass. Weeds you don’t have to water and if you scalp them with the mower they’ll still come back. If you keep them mowed they look fine – its just after a week that they get choppy and uneven looking.

    BTW if you have a small lawn get an electric lawnmower – cheap, no gas, no spark plugs, no oil – just get the blade sharpened every year or two. You might run over a cord every once in a while, no big deal. They are quiet, lightweight, and cheap. I’ve had mine for 7 years – if it breaks I’m throwing it out and buying another one – they are cheap!

  8. KC,

    I have never used an electric mower. My yard is kind of big so I’m not sure I would be a good candidate.

  9. I don’t like the idea of fake grass, but we’re trying to nibble away at our grasss footprint… currently expanding the peripheral rock beds. Although the primary goal is less maintenance, any water savings would be icing on the cake.

  10. We have grass that works well with our area, so we don’t need to water it at all.

    But for the plants, we use soaker hoses that target each plant and don’t use much water at all. Next year I plan to install rainwater collectors.

  11. We plan on putting in a fake lawn when we go to build a house in a couple years. They are great and are very soft to the touch! We figure the investmebt is much better than struggling to have a lawn here in our drought-ridden southern city.

  12. I don’t know how much hype this might be, but wouldn’t having a lawn that absorbs some CO2 help with a carbon footprint? We already have enough land covered with asphalt and concrete why not keep a lawn to offset some of that? I believe that large corporations are required to have certain amounts of undeveloped (i.e. plants and grass) for the amount of land they have offices on.

  13. Speaking as a guy who has allergies and lives in the desert. It is disgusting to see people waste water on carpeting the desert.

  14. Every pound of CO2 that the grass absorbs will just be emmitted back into the atmosphere when it decomposes. The only way that trees and other vegitation sequester CO2 is if you constantly expand how much you have. Mass in = Mass out and there is no way around that.

    I am a big proponent of Xeriscaping when done correctly. I hate grass in areas where it wasn’t meant to grow – like Arizona. If you must have a lawn, then I am also a fan of fake grass in areas where grass would not normally survive. Water is a precious resource that should not be wasted.

  15. I don’t like the fake grass either. I live in the southwest and water conservation is very real. I’ve replaced some of my lawn with drought resistant plants, rock and woodchips.

  16. This is ideal for areas where you are not able to grow grass due to restrictions on water usage or just areas that are too hot. But if you can grow it, then do it that way.

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