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Have you driven around your neighborhood recently and suddenly noticed.. Wow…that home has a lush green lawn.  It looks perfect and has great curb appeal.  Well, if you take a closer look, there’s a very good chance it’s artificial. YES! The technology is available now for what the industry calls “synthetic turf” and it never looked so good.

When HOA’s in Ahwatukee created their CC&R’s more than 20 years ago, in many communities, there were strict guidelines against any form of artificial turf in the front yard…and for good reason…artificial turf was more like indoor/outdoor carpet Well, not any more…today professional installers offer a wide variety of products that look so real, it fools even the most seasoned professional upon first glance.  As a professional landscape designer & contractor, I see and install a lot of this turf and I am a firm believer in the value, beauty, and overall quality…for several reasons.

First, the obvious…no water and no real maintenance.  Debris can be blown off artificial turf with a conventional blower, it hoses off easily and is very pet tolerant when you buy the right turf.  Most important of all, it looks green all year long, year after year. On top of that, most companies are offering a minimum 10-year warranty on their product and some even longer. We for example offer a 15-year warranty…best in the business.

Second, I don’t know about you, but I get frustrated when I drive by what appears to be a nice home and the lawn is not being taken care of at all.  It dramatically affects the curb appeal. Unfortunately, most HOA’s have no over seed mandate, so many homes have dead or dormant grass in the winter months, and many homes look way below par even in summer months.  If you are reading this article and fall into this category, I apologize if I’ve offended you, but you are not helping the property value of your home, nor your neighbors view of your home.  Take out the grass and go with a natural xeriscape plan (low maintenance/low water/native material), or synthetic turf.  Either choice would be a drastic improvement.  I suppose some people have a reason for neglecting their lawns by having to tighten their financial belt with tougher economic times. This is a place to cut costs by reducing your water bill, but again, another good reason to go synthetic, you will cut your maintenance by 95 percent, and your water bill substantially.

Third, I’m throwing down the gauntlet here.  The frustrating part is that some, (not all) HOA’s still are behind the curve when it comes to modifying their synthetic turf guidelines and allowing more homeowners to “go green” without being hassled. I recently became aware of a few communities that are looking into using synthetic turf in some of the common areas. Congratulations for thinking outside of the box!  The demand for these products is surging and I advise those ARC’s reviewing plans to have more of an open mind and modify your guidelines ASAP. Wouldn’t you rather have a neighbor whose lawn looks great like these photographs, or have to live with a neighbor who could care less about what his front lawn looks like? No brainer here!

Homeowners should be applauded for wanting to give his/her property a “makeover” and at the same time add to the overall value of their neighborhood, not to mention the savings of thousands of gallons of water a year.  Many of us take water for granted here in Arizona at a time when we need to conserve, since annual rainfall levels have been below normal for over a decade.  Don’t fight it, embrace it, and realize the technology is here for all lawns to look good 24/7.

If you are thinking about synthetic turf for the back yard, well, that is a different story. No HOA approval is usually needed, but I caution you to always contact your HOA on every exterior improvement whether it be front or back before you do anything. Lastly, make sure your turf is made right here in the USA. There is a tremendous amount of turf being shipped in from China that does not meet quality standards, has a higher lead content and their yarn breaks down much faster, so ask your installer that all-important question.

So… GO GREEN in more ways than one and think about the long term, cost effective measure of synthetic turf.  Your wallet, your aching back, your kids, and your neighbors will all say thank you!

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