Staying green with lawn alternatives

During this drought, some homeowners and businesses have stopped watering their lawns, or have taken them out altogether.
February 19, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
During this drought, some homeowners and businesses have stopped watering their lawns, or have taken them out altogether.

So how are they still managing to keep their yards green? We talked to two Valley companies that are benefitting from conservation-minded Californians.

It's out with the old and in with the new at Don Workman's home in Kingsburg. Instead of a grass lawn, Workman wanted a more drought-friendly solution in his front yard.

"Less water, less maintenance and it really looks good," said Workman.

So, workers with Synlawn Central California put in artificial turf. The process is similar to a carpet installation. The Clovis company says it's never been busier, thanks to the introduction of metered water use in some cities and California's drought.

Matt Price with Synlawn explained, "People started to realize that the grass is taking a lot of their water. They say 50-70 percent of your water is for your lawn."

Synlawn has two to three crews each doing a job a day. They're booked through April. At $6 to $9 a square foot, it's not cheap. But Workman says it pays for itself, saving him $100 a month in maintenance and water costs.

And it lasts. He had it installed at another home seven years ago, and says it looks as good as the day he first got it.

Another more cost effective but less permanent solution is something athletic teams -- like the Fresno Grizzlies -- have been doing for years: literally painting the grass green. That reduces the need to water and maintain dormant grass.

Local company Turf Medix showed us a before and after photo of a customer's yard. On the left it looked lush and green, on the right it looked dry and brown.

Representatives spent the day pitching their product at the UC Berkeley campus, which has 20 to 30 acres of green lawns to maintain while meeting the governor's mandate to conserve.

Sal Genito, Associate Director of Physical Plant at Berkeley, says the school is seriously considering Turf Medix as an option, "That's a real cost effective environmentally friendly way of covering some of the deficiencies. It's not very expensive and it lasts a long time (a couple months) so it just seems to be a real practical approach to dealing with a problem we're gonna be facing."

A problem that isn't going away anytime soon, but at least this way, the grass will always be greener on your side.


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