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Artificial Lawn Popularity Grows During Drought

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jennifer Lindgren
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Companies that manufacture or install artificial lawns are experiencing a boom in business, due to the drought-like conditions and watering restrictions in many North Texas cities.

But the synthetic lawns today aren’t the same plastic AstroTurf made popular in the 1970s. The products on the market now, are not just used for putting greens and football fields either.

Scott Armstrong, owner of the company Texas Turf Solutions, and gets calls every day from homeowners inquiring about artificial grass.

“If you were to talk to the turf manufacturers, that’s a big thing they notice. As soon as there are drought restrictions, watering restrictions, or an ordinance like the City of Dallas two-days a week restriction, it really just makes this industry explode,” said Armstrong.

Today’s synthetic lawns are made to stay cool underfoot, drain rain water, and last for 10-15 years. The products come in different shades of green, different textures, and mimic different varieties of natural grass.

Choosing artificial can be expensive upfront: prices range from $7.50 to $15 a square foot.

Homeowner Mike Corwin installed artificial grass in his front yard, and says the investment was worth it.

“The initial cost is expensive, but it’s already paid for itself over the four years. Not having to re-sod it, not having to water. The yard guys [come less often]. So it’s more than paid for itself,” said Corwin.

Corwin and his wife have ten children, ranging in age from six to eighteen. The Corwins found themselves having to re-sod the grass on their University Park property over and over. A grand tree in the front yard prevents the yard from getting much sunlight, and they needed a mud-free space where their children could play.

“As you can tell the traffic on it is quite a bit with all the kids we have. It’s really helped our water usage, which is a quarter of what it used to be,” said Corwin.

Armstrong worked on the Corwin’s property, and several others in University Park. He says many homeowners are skeptical, until they see the fake grass first-hand.

“The neighbors now go and check it out. Before it was people taking a leap of faith,” said Armstrong.

Home Depot is also seeing high interest from customers asking about artificial turf.

Maxx Duncan points to a bin of turf, the size of area rugs, and says the products are flying off the floor.

“People like that you can wash it off, blow it off with a leaf blower, and be done,” said Duncan.

Not all cities in North Texas are on board with artificial grass, though.

Frisco does not allow artificial turf at this time, and many homeowners’ associations have rules.

Highland Park passed an ordinance restricting artificial turf to back yards.

Other cities, however, have no rules in place limiting synthetic grass. Those cities include Dallas, Arlington, Denton, and University Park.

 

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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