It's beginning to be the height of summer, the temperatures are reaching above 90 degrees and every morning I thank god that I get to leave my house and go somewhere with air conditioning.
But, when I get home, I realize my yard isn't so lucky and my lawn, especially, is suffering. What was lovely and green in early spring is now dry, patchy and looks like straw. It's impossible to give my lawn enough water to get through the season looking perfect and green. Even if I did, I don't know if it's the most environmental choice.
So, when reading Sunset magazine recently and saw an article on fake grass it got me thinking about whether or not I would really consider getting rid of the real thing for something else.
The appealing thing about fake lawns is that you save water, since you don't need to give it water to survive and look nice. This is especially appealing in areas prone to drought like Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona, to name a few places. In order to maintain a healthy green lawn in the summer months you need to give it at least an inch of water a week - that's a lot when the name of the game should be conservation!
There has been a lot of development on these lawn alternatives since the days of Astroturf, and you'll likely be shocked about how real the new options look:
(Synthetic Sod from Eco Waterless Grass)
One commenter in the Sunset article pointed out that you may save water with this kind of alternative but you'll be creating waste. These products generally have a lifespan of about 10 years, and when you're done it's possible that you'll find your product is not bio-degradable, so you're saving water but creating waste. Not to mention, that you'll still need to use water on your fake lawn to wash it off, so how much are you really saving? Make sure to check with the manufacturer of the product you choose about disposal after use.
While all these alternatives are nice, I, like many other Portlanders, usually try to have the best of both real lawns and eco-consciousness. When you drive around in summer, it's obvious we've all given up on trying to water our grass. In the wetter months our lawns thrive without extra help from our hoses, and in the summer we go ahead and let them get a lovely golden brown so as not to waste water, happy knowing that they'll thrive again in a few months time after our beautiful, but always too short summer season.