Many of us spend a lot of water, mowing, and hence money, keeping their grass green. We decided to see if moving to artificial grass would be a cheaper proposition. Some of the newer ones look pretty good.
Costco even sells artificial turf. 15′ x 25′ costs $1399. Not exactly cheap but a lot cheaper than before. It comes with upto an 8 year warranty and is pet friendly. Many are made of recycled tires or water bottles. No more weeding, watering, or mowing. Costco surprisingly has a link to a MSDS sheet that shows it is Heavy Metal free (lead free) and is primarily made of polypropylene.
Dupont has added Forever lawn that has a 12-15 year lifetime, 8yr warranty.
There has been some controversy with regards to hazardous substances in some faux grass, primarily lead in older astroturf. It does help people with pets tearing up grass or grass allergies.
Morningstarturf has analysis showing that synthetic grass pays for itself in 4 years. Of course the analysis assumes you are installing new real grass. Without installing new real grass, the cost savings is faster.
We decided to stick with our lawn for now, but will be moving to something more native and water thrifty soon.
Our Water savings tips also help you reduce your water bill.
Alternately, we decided to just put paver stones over parts of our lawn. This eliminates the need to water the area and to pay a lot of money for artificial grass.
Green Permeable Paver Stones
photo credit: justinbaeder
We have some broken concrete areas that need to be repaired, so we are investigating replacing them with paver stones. Pavers are versatile because they can be individually replaced or removed and re-leveled should the need arise. The problem with ‘normal’ ones is that water can pool or water requires special water drainage. Water cannot soak into the ground, it runs off into storm drains.
‘Green’ or permeable paver stones eliminate standing water, allow natural drainage, and allow recharging of groundwater. Restore the natural water cycle and reduce your properties footprint. They can also be used to divert water to rain water capture systems.
Specially designed pavers can be installed that are include gaps in the center of or between pavers. These gaps are filled with gravel, grass, or vegetation and allow for water infiltration. Maximum openings of less than 1/2″ are required for ADA regulations so this cannot be done in public areas.
Unfortunately these special green paver stones cost more than normal ones but your water management costs would be lower. Paver stones are usually made of concrete, material that is not the most eco friendly as it takes a lot of energy to make concrete.
A lower-cost option is to leave large gaps between concrete or stone pavers. Alternately use steppingstones or pea gravel. Decomposed granite can also be used.