While the grass may not always be greener on the other side, these days it can be just as green. In fact, that’s what not only many residents in Southern California are saying regarding the synthetic grass they’re installing on their properties, but also what both industry professionals and government officials are affirming regarding the quality, appearance, and environmental friendliness of today’s 21st century artificial turf.
So what’s the problem?
HOA’s are slowing being forced to see the light. In several gated, multi-million-dollar communities across Southern California, HOAs have resisted their exclusive community’s homeowners rights to replace their natural lawns with synthetic ones. After all, HOAs do have the final word regarding not only what colors a home can be in their community, what alterations can be made to a home, and how, when, and where homeowners can park, but also in personal property landscaping choices. Naturally the HOAs feel their rules expand to include the type of grass a homeowner chooses. When repeatedly asked by homeowners for reasons why synthetic grass is such an issue, representatives from the HOAs can’t seem to pinpoint specific rationalizations beyond perceptions of artificial turf that date back decades. Fortunately for the homeowners, decades old perceptions belong to decades old grass. This new wave of artificial turf seems to be changing perceptions with a surprising realism and a compelling sustainability context.
The need is pretty convincing.
For starters, California has been in a drought for several years; with the state-wide dire need to conserve water, installing synthetic turf makes environmental sense. In fact, Governor Jerry Brown officially declared a water shortage emergency last year, urging homeowners to reduce their normal consumption of water by at least 20%. When some homeowners chose to stop watering their lawns to conserve water, HOAs charged them penalties. Some homeowners just don’t want brown lawns – or desert scape styles for the California homes. As a result, Governor Brown signed bills last year stopping HOAs from fining the homeowners for opting not to regularly water their yards.
Synthetic grass can be a cost effective investment – an idea that seems to resonate with homeowners regardless of status.
Next, Lorena Gonzalez — a San Diego Democratic Assemblywoman — just recently proposed a bill that would enable homeowners in neighborhoods with HOAs to replace their lawns with artificial turf without fear of financial retribution.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly to the HOAs, today’s high-quality synthetic grass products do look just as real as natural grass. In fact, while simply driving through a community it is difficult for you to tell which lawns are using water and which don’t require any. You have to physically touch the lawn to tell the difference.
While any of these points alone provide a solid rebuttal to the HOA’s protests, these five reasons combined make the entire debate moot. From being environmentally-friendly and conservation-centric, to adding curb appeal to a property and being cost-effective, synthetic grass will undoubtedly be the norm, not only in gated Southern California communities, but more generally across the United States where homeowners care about their property value as much as their environment.