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Home > Home Equity >

Investing in an evergreen lawn

A year ago, Glenda Robb's front lawn looked like a land mine had exploded there. It was covered in deep holes and peppered with yellow spots thanks to her family's large dog. With two kids and a husband who also works full time, the Hamilton, Ont., family didn't have the time to manicure their lawn every weekend. So, when they saw a friend's perfect-looking fake lawn, they were sold.

"It's the best looking grass on the street," says Robb of her new lawn purchased at Artificial Grass and Landscaping. "It looks so realistic many people stop and just want to walk on it." The new lawn is also pet- and kid-friendly.

Since abandoning the real stuff, they've sold their lawn mower and weed whacker. This spring, they can also forgo the fertilizer and seeding ritual that is an annual chore for many homeowners. But is the grass that is truly greener also better? Read on to find out.

Better than AstroTurf
Those who detest mowing, fertilizing and weeding can now have perfect-looking lawns without all of the usual hassle. And if you have problems growing thick, green grass -- maybe you have bad soil or too many trees shading your lawn -- the synthetic grass may be just the thing for you.

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Generally, pet owners are the No. 1 customers of fake lawns, but many pool owners also find these lawns helpful if you don't want grass clippings tracked into the pool.

Many synthetic lawn companies got their start making AstroTurf, the evergreen sports turf used for golf courses and football fields. While certainly durable, its rough texture is only comfortable if you are wearing head-to-toe padding and gear.

Today, residential lawns are softer, and look the part. Instead of offering perfectly green lawn, some companies offer two-toned grass, throwing in the odd brown or yellow blade to make it look more authentic.

Fake lawns are made of synthetic material -- polyethylene (recycled plastic) or nylon, or a combination of both. When polyethylene is laid down, the space between the blades is filled with tire rubber that has been frozen to remove any toxicity. This rubber helps keep the blades standing upright.

Nylon, the newer of the two materials on the market, does not use filler between the blades; it's considered the more substantial of the two materials and its blades can stand up on their own. For this reason, it is the pricier of the two.

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-- Posted: April 18, 2007
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