Fake grass growing on homeowners
Darcy Wintonyk and Lynda Steele, CTV British Columbia
Published Tuesday, July 10, 2012 2:34PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 12, 2012 5:28PM PDT
Homeowners who love the look of a lush, green lawn but hate the yard that goes with it are driving a growing movement towards artificial grass.
Sylvia Baker and her husband installed an artificial lawn and putting green on the rooftop deck of their East Vancouver penthouse. She said it gets rave reviews from family and friends.
“They love it,” she told CTV’s Steele on Your Side. “First of all it just looks so cozy now with all the greenery. Everyone loves -- so comfy."
Fake turf has come a long way since it was introduced at the Houston Astrodome in the 1960’s.
Today’s artificial grass is like a carpet for your front yard. It's good for homeowners who have kids, snowbirds who don't want to pay for maintenance year-round, properties with drainage problems, north-facing lots that don't get a lot of sunlight -- and even condos.
Greg Loewen, who owns Canadian 4 Season Turf, ripped out his front lawn and replaced it all with turf.
"You don't need to use chemicals. You're not using all the water, so there are lots of environmental reasons to get into it,” he said.
The turf is well suited to pets, eliminating brown spots and holes from a dog who loves to dig. Artificial grass keeps dirt and mud off of pets, getting rid of muddy paws tracked inside the house.
Steele on Your Side visited the installation of a synthetic lawn of an East Vancouver strata complex. The 660-square-foot high-end job is worth about $8,000.
Chris Berry of Synlawn said the life expectancy of the job is around 20 to 30 years.
“We're going to get the maximum out of that -- 25 to 30 here in the Lower Mainland -- because we don't get the extreme heat or extreme cold."
Berry says the turf pays for itself in about three years, when you factor in the savings of not maintaining a traditional yard.
While fake grass is just catching on in Canada, it’s big business south of the border.
The Las Vegas strip is lined with artificial turf, and hotel and homeowners there receive hefty government rebates for installing the grass to help conserve water.
Berry is confident it's only a matter of time before Canadians embrace the concept.
"A lot of people my age are tired of pushing lawn mowers around,” he said.
The artificial turf is also being used in dog runs, playgrounds, on boats, the floor of trade show booths and golf courses are using the product for tee-offs and putting greens. Toronto is even installing artificial turf on its medians.
Synlawn has also installed artificial turf at Disneyland, the San Diego Zoo and a one-million-square-foot army base in Texas.