Artificial turf is like cosmetic surgery for your lawn. You get it hoping it will look great but if it goes wrong, it can look just awful.
Whether under the knife or under the spade, you can spot a bad job a mile away. A stroll through the plastic faces and puffy lips of Beverly Hills or a drive past mini-golf turf posing as front lawn can each inspire double-takes. And not in admiration.
But recent eco-friendly technology and aesthetic improvements in artificial turf are making it harder and harder to spot the fakes.
Artificial turf began as shiny plastic strips of fake grass—all colored in one shade—too green to be true. But modern products offer numerous tones with realistic color blends and low-sheen finishes.
Fremont Place resident Monica Rosenthal recently removed her water-guzzling fescue. After hosting many outdoor events where large trees meant perpetual shade and muddy areas, she decided to install synthetic grass.
“We wanted to put in artificial grass when we moved in 10 years ago but the product looked bad and had a fake green color. The new grass has brown underneath, some yellow and three shades of green.”
Browns and yellows have been added to the color palette to imitate thatch—the layer of living and dead shoots, stems and roots that lie on top of the soil and beneath the visible grass blades. It’s a natural part of the life cycle… like wrinkles.
Turf designers realized that when synthetic turf was missing this mature layer, it looked flat and phony. So they added the “character” that nature would have given it to create better looking turf.
Less water and maintenance
Two advantages of artificial turf over a living lawn is that it requires less water and maintenance.
The L.A. Dept. of Water and Power estimates that the average residential customer spends 60 percent of their water use on outdoor irrigation. Artificial grass, although expensive to install, will lower utility bills and might even qualify for a rebate from the LADWP.
Plus, there’s no mowing and little if any maintenance. Designer Lisa Angel installed synthetic grass at her own home after noticing it at dog parks.
“We have two large dogs and the artificial grass has been such a great thing with them. It’s made the yard much easier to maintain.”
Richard Hayden, master gardener of the Los Angeles Natural History Museum, said newer artificial turf products are safer than they used to be.
“They had many health concerns early on, but now you can find artificial turf manufacturers that are more eco-friendly. The technology is much better.”
While some brands still contain high amounts of petroleum-based chemicals, others are made from soybeans and other renewable sources. Consumer research is recommended before selecting artificial turf for your home.
Real or fake
Like cosmetic surgery, artificial turf doesn’t always pass as the real thing.
Maybe fake grass will be so common in the future, that we won’t even know what real grass (or a real 65 year-old) looks like. But for now, we can still gaze upon some originals, like Maggie Smith and her magnificent authenticity.
For more information, go to So Cal Water Smart Turf Rebate Program at http://socalwatersmart.com/qualifyingproducts/turfremoval.
California Greenin’ by Renee Ridgeley
Category: Real Estate