It is impossible to truly know the answer to this question without knowing what lawn care regimen the home owner is likely to follow. If their gardening program involves some combination of fertilizers, pesticides, power tools, undisciplined automated irrigation (almost everyone over-waters their lawn) and hired gardeners, then fake grass is the hands down winner. If the home owner is diligent about their gardening routine with an eye out for the environment, then real grass may be better.
Most of the environmental drawbacks of sod lawns are fairly obvious. First and foremost, they need water to stay healthy… a lot of water! The average American lawn, (about 500 square feet), consumes 22,600 gallons of water a year. Lawns planted in the sandy soil areas of San Francisco drain very quickly and are even more wasteful.
Gas-powered lawn care equipment is more than just noisy and smelly. According to a study conducted by Sweden’s Stockholm University in 2001, an hour’s worth of mowing resulted in the same amount of emissions as driving the average car for 93 miles. If that mower is transported to the site by a gardener, the numbers go up. Tack on leaf-blowers and power-edgers and the emission picture gets even bleaker, especially when considering the staggering number of lawns across the country. The EPA estimates that 17 million gallons of fuel are spilled each year just filling lawn equipment. That is more than the oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez.
Another strike against a real lawn is that it is frequently fed with fertilizers to keep it lush and green, most of which is synthetic. American home owners use approximately 3 million tons of synthetic fertilizers every year. It takes a barrel of oil to create 560 pounds of such fertilizer, so the national cost of keeping lawns green amounts to 11.8 million barrels of crude oil annually. We also use more than 70 million pounds of herbicides and pesticides on our lawns every year. According to an extensive report published by the EPA titled ‘Sustainable Landscaping’, 40-60% of these chemicals find their way into our local water systems.
A more insidious issue inherit in lawn maintenance is the grass clippings. Millions of people nationwide roll their green bins out to the curb week after week …it’s like magic! The contents disappear! The EPA estimates that at least one-third of all landfill material is yard waste. Once buried and deprived of sunlight and oxygen, grass clippings undergo an anaerobic breakdown which produces methane gas, a greenhouse gas and major contributing factor to global warming. Landfills are the third largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States.
On the positive side, lawns do act as carbon sinks. Satellite photos show that the United States is covered with 40 million acres of lawns. These lawns consume 13.2 million pounds of carbon dioxide annually. This does help off-set the amount of energy that goes into lawn care, (a multi-billion dollar industry), but not completely.
Fake lawns do not require watering, mowing or fertilizing to look green and lush all year long. Their biggest environmental infraction is in the manufacturing. The backbone of fake grass consists of polymers, which is a petroleum base product that requires a great deal of energy to make. There are a few manufacturers that make a completely recyclable product, but not enough, so it is likely that most artificial turf will end up as landfill.
So what is the carbon footprint of an artificial lawn? The most intensive study to date was conducted by a group of guilt ridden Canadians at the Athena Institute who decided to replace the school’s playing field with artificial turf. They concluded that their 96,840 square foot athletic field could be made carbon neutral by planting 1,861trees and maintaining them for a decade. Given that the average lawn is around 500 square feet; their study infers that the carbon offset for the average synthetic lawn could be made carbon neutral by planting and maintaining ten trees for ten years.
There is also the concern about fake grass using rubber infill, crumbs of recycled tires that are distributed between the blades of grass for support. The fear is that crumb rubber off-gasses and that the resulting fumes can create respiratory health issues. Industry experts claim that there is no environmental hazard to this practice although they do admit that crumb rubber does tend to migrate where it is not wanted, being carried by shoes, pet paws, water and wind.
The bottom line is that whatever lane you choose, real lawn or fake lawn, you should commit yourself to making environmentally sound choices along the way. Real lawns need to be managed responsibly. If you decide to go the faux route and you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, the most environmentally responsible artificial lawn company in the area is The Good Nature Company and their fake grass: onelawn®.
Onelawn® requires no crumb rubber infill. It is guaranteed to last 20 years and it is the only fake grass available in the bay area that is 100% recyclable. To insure a carbon neutral footprint for their business, The Good Nature Company partners with Trees For The Future in planting one hundred trees worldwide for every one lawn they install.
The Good Nature Company can be reached by calling 1-877-66 1-LAWN (5296) or go to their website: www.onelawn.com
In San Francisco, with rainfall records going back to 1850, the current dry spell threatens to break records that have existed since the gold rush days. These bone dry conditions coupled with record breaking temperatures have concerned Bay Area home owners wondering what’s next.
So are we in for another drought?
Though the winter is fairly young, Bay Area water managers are already taking precautionary measures to conserve water now in order to preserve last year’s reserves. Unfortunately, as we learned from recent drought years, these conservaton measures end up costing residents more money.
As dry conditions worsen, the environmental and water savings value of fake grass for Bay Area homeowners become increasingly apparent. According to the USGS, (United States Geological Survey), residential use of water is more than double that of all businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area’s nine counties. Landscape/turf irrigation is the main driver of this usage – representing 65% of residentual water consumption. In addition, the USGS also identifies lawn fertilizers and pesticides as a principle source for run off pollution for San Francisco Bay, creeks and urban lakes such as Lake Meritt.
The California Landscape Contractors Association predicted in 2008 that the cost of water would increase as much as 30% in three years’ time, an alarming forecast at the time. Unfortunately, the increases seen here in the Bay Area exceeded those predictions.
Clearly, water has become one of California’s most precious resources, which is why more and more San Francisco Bay Area home owners are installing artificial lawns.
If you are thinking about fake grass as an alternative to a sod lawn, you should have a representative of The Good Nature Company come to your home for a free consultation and show you the most natural looking synthetic grass available in the Bay Area today: onelawn®.
For more information, go to their website at www.onelawn.com or call their toll free number at 1-877-661 lawn (5296).
I received a call from a San Francisco Bay Area artificial lawn owner the other day. She had just watched our television show on the KRON Bay Area Bargains – The Green Edition: onelawn.
She lives in the San Jose area and has two dogs. Her dogs had trashed her sod lawn and as a result, they had been tracking dirt and mud into the house so she installed a fake lawn for her dogs as a solution to her problem. Unfortunately, the synthetic grass that she had installed for her dogs required infill (a combination of sand and black crumb rubber – a product made from old car tires). The infill was getting into her pet’s paws and was being tracked into the house. Furthermore, the infill made cleaning up after the dogs in the yard nearly impossible.
During the show she had learned that our product onelawn® required no infill and she wondered how that was possible. I explained that artificial grass for dogs did not necessarily need infill. Infill is only required if the blades do not have enough support to keep them standing up straight. The onelawn® artificial grass has more blades per square inch, it is extra thick and it has an added thatch layer below the blades, all of which combine to make it the perfect no-fill artificial lawn. And because it has no infill, cleaning up after the dogs is easy: you just scoop the mess up and then hose the area down. NO MUD and the synthetic grass drains at a rate of 4” an hour so it dries very quickly. No more muddy paws and wet feet!
If you are living in the San Francisco Bay Area and you are considering getting an artificial grass lawn for your dogs, please contact the professionals at The Good Nature Company. We have the best synthetic grass for dogs and the best service in the area. Visit our website at www.onelawn.com or call us at our toll free phone number 1-877-66-1LAWN (5296).
More and more San Jose residents are replacing their scruffy worn out sod lawns with fake grass. This trend was first identified during the drought years of 2007 and 2008 when water shortages and the cost of watering thirsty lawns reached record levels. The association seemed sensible at the time but the reality was that San Jose homeowners continued to install artificial grass in increasing numbers through the El Nino winter of 2009 and all of 2010. What was prompting an ever-increasing number of synthetic lawn installations? The answer is simple: San Jose citizens were tired of looking at their scraggly lawns.
South Bay residents enjoy sunny hot summer days and they enjoy spending that time out in their yards, whether it’s having bar-b-ques, letting the kids run through the sprinklers or having a friendly game of football. They are all about enjoying their outdoor living, unfortunately their lawns take a beating in the process. Inevitably, the rainy season turns those well-worn lawns into mud and slime. The following summer, the muddy areas have become bare and so the cycle continues: the mess and the wear and tear. Consequently, San Jose home owners are now investing in fake lawns in increasing numbers. Today’s artificial grass looks fantastic all year around, year after year. There is one catch, however.
Not all San Jose artificial lawns are equal: most of them use infill to help keep the blades of grass standing up. Infill is a mixture of sand and rubber pellets made from old car tires. Most people have seen infill on astro-turf type soccer fields around the South Bay. Unfortunately, infill is messy. It gets in your shoes, it gets in your pet’s paws, and wind and water move it around. In short, it migrates into places that you would rather not find it, like your house, your car, your carpet and your clothing. Why would anyone trade one type of mess for another?
That was the question the owners of onelawn® asked themselves when they were searching for an eco-friendly, beautiful alternative to the traditional sod lawn. Their search took them all the way to Dalton, Georgia where they discovered an artificial lawn company that could provide them with a luxurious estate quality residential synthetic grass that look and feels like real grass without any infill! The onelawn® product line is now the fake grass that more and more San Jose and South Bay residents are installing in increasing numbers.
For more information about this unique product, you can contact the friendly folks at onelawn® by calling 415-479-1234 or go their website at www.onelawn.com.
The majority of dog owners love their dogs but hate what their dogs do to their lawns. These areas (sometimes referred to as dog runs…other times referred to as ‘what used to be my back lawn’) significantly benefit from the use of artificial grass. Muddy or barren patches caused by these energetic pets are restored permanently as animals cannot cause damage to quality turf surfaces.
Dog urine or excrement will not discolor artificial grass and the smell will not be retained within the grass. Simply hose off the area. There will be no muddy mess since synthetic grass drains ten times better than a sod lawn. The synthetic surface will also naturally clean itself when it rains. When dealing with dog dirt, simply treat the mess the same. Pick up the larger pieces and let the small sediments drain down through the crushed granite base as you wash it off.
Pet owners utilizing artificial grass have often commented that animals appear to treat the new artificial lawns just like the genuine article…they love it! This allays any concern that dogs might not take to the fake grass. The only issue for man’s best friend is their inability to bury bones! Artificial grass is truly a pet friendly solution.
If you live in the Bay Area and are interested in an artificial lawn for your pet, contact The Good Nature Company by calling 415-479-1234 or visit their website at www.onelawn.com. Onelawn is an infill free product. That means no messy rubber pellets and sand getting picked up by your dog’s paws and tracked into your house. Pet friendly and people friendly: onelawn!
There are several common misconceptions out there about modern day artificial lawns and grass. Back in the day, replacing your standard lawn with a synthetic one meant giving up quite a bit – comfort, looks, status and money. Things have certainly changed. Today’s breed of artificial lawn comes with everything a standard lawn provides and more.
I’d like to overturn a few of the common misconceptions about artificial lawns by getting the facts out there:
Misconception #1: Artificial Lawns are Luxury Purchases - When artificial lawns first arrived they may have been costly to build and install. Today, it’s exactly the opposite. Installing an artificial lawn actually saves you money within a relatively short time. In less than four year an artificial lawn will pay itself back in the cost of watering, mowing, and caring for a sod lawn.
Misconception #2: Artificial Lawns are well, ARTIFICIAL: That is true, but that is a good thing! They are green, eco-friendly and considerate of the environment. In fact, artificial lawns are a growing part of the green movement which is brewing in our country because we’ve realized how important it is to conserve our natural resources. They are saving tons of water everyday and preventing the use of harmful pesticides.
Misconception #3: Artificial Lawns are Difficult to Install- It seems like it would be a difficult process to replace your sod lawn entirely with an artificial turf. Many people stray away from the process to avoid the ‘headache’ of getting it setup. However, today’s professional lawn installers can easily get you set up with minimal hassle involved.
Misconception #4: Artificial Lawns are Unsafe – Old school artificial grass used to be associated with harmful chemicals like heavy metals and lead. Today’s synthetic materials, like Polyolefin blades, are completely inert and built to be in close contact with your loved ones. Not only is artificial grass safe, but it also can be safer than a traditional sod lawn with a thick layer of child safty foam under the blades, providing a plush surface for your kids to fall on during their playtime.
Misconception #5: Artificial Lawns Aren’t Pet Friendly- The new breed of artificial lawns are built for pets. Not only is the surface a lush area for your dog to romp around in, but the cutting edge technology ensures an odor free and clean surface. An artificial lawn will prevent common pet damage like dug-up holes and standard wear-and-tear, and also drains even better than a sod lawn.
For the best in Bay Area Artificial Lawn Installation, check out onelawn.com. onelawn has been providing the San Francisco Bay Area with expert installation service and quality artificial grass for years, and will be glad to listen to any questions you may have about our services.
Are you researching the possibility of installing an artificial lawn for your home? Do the different companies and the artificial grass that they offer seem to all be about the same? Perhaps one of the biggest differences is what you CAN’T see, and that is what’s hidden beneath the blades. This is the definitive guide to how an artificial lawn is installed – from start to finish with details on what should be best practice, and what you should watch out for.
First, make sure to take the time to investigate each company’s specific installation methods. Synthetic lawns should last 15 to 20 years. It is important that the installation process and materials are of the highest quality. There are good ways to go about installing an artificial lawn and there is the best way to go about the job. You need to know the difference.
Here are the procedures for installing an artificial lawn.
1. Excavation: Standard procedure in the industry for installing a residential artificial lawn is to first excavate the area to a depth of 3 ½ to 4 inches. If there is an existing irrigation system, most companies will cap it off or redirect your water for free. Removing the soil should also be part of the installation cost. If you do not need any excavation, a per square foot price reduction should apply.
2. Bender Board Installation: The best bender board is made entirely from recycled products. It is waterproof and won’t crack, rot or chip. It should measure 3 ½ by 1½, not 3 ½ by ¾. The best method of installation is to install the plastic bender board around the entire perimeter. This provides a secure edge for the installers to staple the grass to. They should use galvanized staples placed at three inch intervals.
Some companies will only put bender board where there are no existing concrete borders, such as the soft landscape areas that border flower beds. Unfortunately, this does not guarantee that tripping hazards will not develop over time or that critters will not lift up or burrow under the edges that are without bender board. This short-cut may save their company time and money but it is not best practice.
Some installers will use wooden stakes to secure the bender board in place. This is fine when the bender board is up against concrete boarders such as sidewalks and driveways because ultimately it will be pinned in place between the compacted substrate and existing concrete, but remember this: wood rots. Make sure that the installers use plastic stakes, not wooden stakes, out in the soft landscape areas, otherwise, the wooden stakes will rot over time and the bender board may capsize, ruining your lawn.
Most companies guarantee their installation for five years. It may take five years plus for the wooden stakes to rot and you could end up paying for the repairs yourself. Again, the bender board and stakes should be part of the installation cost.
3. Substrate Installation: Crushed granite will be brought in and raked out and compacted to 100% compaction. This provides excellent drainage for your lawn. The crushed granite should be installed in such a way that there is a slight crown in the middle which insures proper water run-off. Some companies use two inches or more of base rock and top it off with decomposed granite. This is how pathways in parks are constructed.
The problem with this method is that the decomposed granite gets harder and harder over time and also, it continues to decompose. Synthetic grass installed over decomposed granite feels like a carpet lying on pavement. The crushed granite remains firm but never hardens, which results in a more natural feel. Crushed granite is more expensive, which is why so few companies use it.
4. The Turf: First, a little information about the grass itself. Artificial lawns are basically large carpeted areas. In fact, there are only seven manufacturers of synthetic lawns in the United States and six of them are located in Dalton, Georgia, (the carpet capital of the United States).
The synthetic grass comes in 15’ rolls and has a variety of backings. The best backing is made from polyolefin. It is also know as Duroflo. It has a number of advantages over the more commonly used urethane backings: it is completely permeable throughout, rather than relying on holes punched into the backing for drainage, which can become clogged. It also functions as a weed barrier, which the hole punch variety can not guarantee. Finally, the backing and grass fibers are 100% recyclable. Synthetic turf using urethane backings are not.
5. Artificial Lawn Installation: The installers will roll out the artificial lawn and install it with some of the same tools that a carpet layer uses. They will custom cut and fit the lawn to the designated areas as they go using carpet knifes and carpet kickers. The perimeter will be stapled in place with pneumatic staple guns and galvanized staples. The area in the middle, known as the field, will be anchored in place with six inch galvanized foundation spikes placed at one foot centers. Think of these as really big nails.
Some companies use u-shaped ground hooks to anchor the grass down. These wire u-hooks are most commonly used to hold drip system tubing in place. They are easy to put in but unfortunately they also come out easily. They are very thin and they are not galvanized so consequently they will rust away over time. They will not last for the lifetime of your lawn. Companies use them because they cost about three cents a piece which is about ten percent of the cost of the foundation spikes.
6. Blooming: Once the lawn is in place, the installers will use power brooms to ‘bloom’ the fibers to get them to stand up straight. If you have purchased a no-fill product, this is the final step. If not, the installers will fill in between the blades with sand and a top coat of rubber granules made from recycled tires.
A word about infill: it can be messy. It gets in your shoes and if you have kids, it will get in their shoes and clothes. If you have any pets, it will get into their paws. Water and wind move it around. It migrates. The reason no-fill products don’t need fill is because they have more blades per square inch and they also have an additional thatch layer which lives between the backing and about half way up the length of the blades. Think of it as the distinction between fine linen and regular bedsheets where the stitching per square inch makes the all difference.
Once your lawn is installed, the only tools you will need to maintain it is a nylon rake, which the synthetic grass company should provide, and perhaps a leaf blower.
If you happen to live in the San Francisco Bay Area and would like to speak to someone about installing an artificial lawn, feel free to call the professionals at onelawn. They will happily walk you through the process of installing an artificial lawn whether you buy from their or not. They can be reached at 1-877-661-5296 or one through the contact form on site.
The San Francisco Bay Area has always been at the forefront of the ‘green’ movement. Looking to preserve and conserve, more and more concerned residents are turning to artificial grass as a green alternative to “natural” sod lawns.
Natural lawns are anything but natural. Because they are not indigenous, they need an inordinate amount of watering, fertilizing, pesticides and maintenance to keep looking decent. This national preoccupation with maintaining a beautiful green lawn has resulted in some very serious environmental consequences.
Now that spring truly has arrived it is time to consider a kinder approach to residential lawns. Here are ten very good reasons why an artificial lawn is a greener alternative then a traditional sod lawn.
1. GAS CONSUMPTION – Each weekend, roughly 54 million Americans mow their lawns! This results in the use of over 800 million gallons of gas per year.
2. GAS SPILLED – According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 17 million gallons of gasoline are spilled all across America filling up lawn care equipment! Just to give this fact some perspective: the Exxon Valdez oil spill is considered one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters of all time. That vessel spilled 10.8 million of gallons of crude oil, or 37% less than the gardeners of America spill each year. These spills result in a huge volume of emissions of hazardous air pollutants like nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide, and volatile organic compounds, like carbon monoxide. They also contribute to soil and water contamination.
3. AIR POLLUTION – Lawn care engines, which have had unregulated emissions until very recently, emit high levels of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides, producing 5% of the nation’s air pollution and 10% or more in metropolitan areas. The EPA also states: a single traditional gas powered lawn mower produces as much air pollution as 43 new cars each being driven 12,000 miles. That works out to be the equivalent of an additional 2,322 million pollution producing automobiles on the road every week-end.
4. GRASS CLIPPINGS CREATE METHANE GAS – Grass clippings contribute to global warming by creating methane gas. Here’s how: in a densely packed covered landfill, grass clippings don’t have access to the elements, especially oxygen, that help them break down. With the absence of air, sun and rain, grass clippings decompose and create methane, a potent greenhouse gas 21 times more effective at trapping radiant heat than carbon dioxide. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the number-one source of human-caused methane emissions to the atmosphere is buried waste. In fact, landfills contribute 10% of the gases that are warming the globe. This is the reason that over half of the landfills across America do not accept grass clippings.
5. PESTICIDES – Everyone knows that pesticides are bad for the environment. An estimated 70 million pounds of pesticides are applied to lawns in the U.S.A. every year – ten times more per acre than are applied to agricultural crops.
6. FERTILIZERS – Keeping the grass green is anything but ‘green’. 40%-60% of the nitrogen fertilizer applied to sod lawns end up in surface and groundwater, contaminating and compromising the ecological health of our rivers, lakes, ponds and coastal waters.
7. WATER USAGE – Did you know that landscaping accounts for almost 70% of the water Californians use at their homes? In fact, a small lawn of only 1,000 square feet uses an average of 55,000 gallons of water each year.
8. MOWER INJURIES – According to a report carried out over a period of 5 years in the USA, well over 60,000 Americans were admitted to hospital emergency rooms because of lawn mower accidents. The most common injuries were cuts and bruises but there were cases of bone fractures, limb amputations and even a number of deaths. Admittedly, the ride-on type of lawn mower was a contributor to the more serious types of accidents, however, power mowers and even push mowers were responsible for the lion share of injuries.
9. LABOR – US citizens will spend three billions hours working on their taxes, whether they like it or not. Coincidentally, that is roughly the same amount of time they will be voluntarily spending maintaining their lawns! The hidden cost to the environment is the impact that the lawn care industry has on the environment: trips to the store, trucks on the road delivering goods, gardeners on the road servicing homes, factories mass producing lawn care products, super-freighters carrying imports, the list is long.
10. HEALTH CARE – Sod grass contains microorganisms, pesticides, and herbicides which can harm pets and kids. Many people are allergic to grass as well. There are no such issues with artificial grass.
If you happen to be living in the San Francisco Bay Area and are interested in an artificial grass synthetic lawn, please contact us here at onelawn™. We are committed in our pursuit of environmental best business practices. We are partners with Trees for the Future in planting one hundred trees worldwide for every one lawn we install. Please contact us at 1-877-661-5296 or visit our website at www.onelawn.com.
San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano and in such cities as San Jose, Oakland, Fremont, Santa Rosa, Hayward, Sunnyvale, Concord, Vallejo and Daly City.