In a time of drought in Southern California, many are trying to do their part to save both water and money.
Artificial turf businesses are on the rise, as are questions as to whether installing a synthetic lawn will save homeowners money on their water bills.
“The potential water saved from removing a single square foot of turf in Western’s service area is between 28 and 35 gallons per year,” said Western Municipal Water District Water Use Efficiency Manager Tim Barr.
A drop in the bucket, some might say, but the Covarrubias family of Temecula wanted to do their part to conserve and keep grass green.
“My husband and his brother removed our lawn and sprinklers themselves and researched how to properly install it,” homeowner Alicia Covarrubias said. “That was three years ago, and we still like it. Even though we have to spray it down occasionally (when the turf gets hot), I’ve seen about a $5 to $10 difference per month, on our water bill.”
According to Mike Clark, co-owner of Players Choice Putting Greens (PCPG), the advanced homeowner job is just the type he often gets called in to fix or finish.
“The number of installers has increased, and not everyone knows the tricks of the trade,” Clark said.
PCPG also installs putting greens, which is what they are known for in Southwest Riverside and beyond.
“In the past six months, we’ve seen a rise in putting green installations. The advantage of a golfer with a backyard green is the ability to practice their short game on a daily basis,” Clark said. “We’ve seen players shave as many as nine strokes off of their game.”
But there are drawbacks to artificial turf, Clark said: “I have recommended against installing at a few preschools as one of the downsides of turf has been the heat.”
Other concerns homeowners should consider before installing are pet maintenance, fiber matting, shininess, and even liquefaction of the grass material.
“Liquefaction is a new one,” Clark said, “and artificial turf is only one of the many products affected by the new standards in reflective window technology.”
Clark further advised: “Do your due diligence. Contact manufacturers, and ask for samples of the product. Talk to installers, and get a variety of quotes before you decide. And always see if there are ways you can save by having your lawn removed and sprinklers dealt with before your job starts. That can certainly save you money in the long run.”
As for the Covarrubias family, they continue to be pleased with their results: “We’d absolutely install artificial turf again.”
Ashley Ludwig is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.