Why Central Texans Are Trading Grass for Turf to Save Water

Artificial Turf Can Help Mitigate Central Texas’ Growing Water Crisis

The increasing periods of drought in Texas have led to severe water restrictions across Central Texas in recent years. With the Colorado River, a major water source for Austin, at historically low levels, and the Highland Lakes frequently declining below 40% capacity, it’s more critical than ever to save water.

Lush green lawns may seem like an unaffordable luxury given the water scarcity in Texas. However, by installing artificial turf, Central Texas homeowners can retain beautiful landscapes without the excessive water usage of natural grass.

Artificial turf provides a versatile and eco-friendly alternative for lawns that can significantly reduce outdoor water usage. By switching to artificial turf, homeowners can play a role in conserving water while avoiding the hassles of keeping real grass alive in the hot Texas climate.

Water Usage of Natural Grass

Lawns require a lot of water to stay green and healthy in the hot Texas climate. Natural grass needs around 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week to thrive in warm seasons. In the scorching summer heat, grass may need to be watered 3-5 times per week to maintain its lush appearance. All this irrigation carries a high cost, both financial and environmental.

Watering grass places a huge strain on precious water supplies, especially in drought-prone areas like Central Texas. The typical automatic sprinkler system uses around 10,000 gallons of water per month on an average-sized lawn of around 3,000 sq ft. Over a year, watering grass consumes over 120,000 gallons of water.

With water shortages becoming more common, maintaining acres of thirsty grass is an unnecessary burden on regional aquifers and reservoirs. Central Texas has already experienced historic droughts lasting years that have depleted water sources. Yet much of this precious resource is still being used to keep exotic grasses green against their natural tendencies.

During the hot summer months, up to 50% of municipal water may be used for landscaping and irrigation. With the region continuing to grow, there is increasing urgency to conserve water and use it more wisely. The large amounts of water used to irrigate lawns could be better utilized in homes, businesses, and agriculture.

Save Water with Artificial Turf

One of the biggest advantages of artificial turf is the significant water savings compared to natural grass. Natural grass requires frequent watering to stay green and healthy, especially during hot Texas summers. On average, natural grass needs about 30-60 inches of water per year in Central Texas. With the region frequently facing drought conditions, watering grass strains limited water supplies.

In contrast, artificial turf needs no irrigation. Once installed properly on an adequate base, the synthetic blades retain their lush, green appearance with zero water usage. Eliminating the need for irrigation saves thousands of gallons of water each year for the average home lawn. Multiply those savings across neighborhoods and cities, and artificial grass provides substantial water conservation benefits.

Studies by the Texas Water Development Board have found that replacing traditional lawns with artificial turf can reduce outdoor water usage by up to 70% in many cities. For water-conscious homeowners concerned about conservation, artificial turf is an excellent landscaping choice to help preserve precious water resources in Central Texas. The water savings alone make artificial turf installations well worth considering.

Lower Maintenance

Artificial turf requires far less maintenance than a traditional grass lawn. There’s no need for regular mowing, watering, fertilizing or overseeding to maintain its appearance and playability. Mowing a typical lawn can take over an hour per week during growing season, along with the hassle and expense of owning and maintaining a working lawn mower. Fertilizer and chemicals to treat weeds and pests like chinch bugs add up over time as well.

With artificial turf, you can say goodbye to weekly mowing sessions. The synthetic blades of turf stand tall without any trimming needed. Fertilizer isn’t required to keep the turf green and lush either. The color is built into the blades during manufacturing. Weeds can’t take root in the turf backing, so no herbicide is necessary. Just an occasional brushing or hosing down is all that’s required to remove debris and keep artificial grass looking great year after year. The minimal upkeep simplifies maintenance and frees up your schedule for other more enjoyable activities.

Increased Playability

Artificial turf offers improved playability and accessibility compared to natural grass. The synthetic blades are designed to be extremely durable, so artificial turf can handle near constant play. Fields can be used for practices, games, camps, and other activities with no need to rest or rehabilitate the turf.

Families with artificial grass in their backyard can enjoy the lawn every day without worrying about wear and tear. Kids and pets can play for hours without damaging the synthetic turf or creating muddy areas like what happens with natural grass. The turf provides a high-quality surface for play and recreation all year long regardless of weather or season.

Artificial turf increases accessibility and opens up more potential hours of play per day. Natural grass requires time to grow and recover in between uses, but synthetic turf can be played on nearly continuously. For schools, parks, sports complexes, and homes, installing artificial turf leads to more playing time and greater enjoyment of the space.

Improved Safety

Artificial turf provides a much safer playing surface than natural grass. The even, consistent synthetic blades and infill absorb impact and cushion falls and tumbles. This results in far fewer injuries than natural grass fields prone to uneven or bare spots that can lead to scraped knees, twisted ankles, and concussions. Studies have found injury rates for many sports to be significantly lower on artificial turf compared to natural grass. With its reliable softness and traction, artificial turf allows players to run, slide, and dive with confidence. Backyard turf ensures kids have a safe place right at home to play and practice sports. The smooth, forgiving surface also reduces the risk of head injuries if someone were to fall. For schools and communities concerned about child safety, artificial turf is an excellent solution.

Durability

Artificial turf is extremely durable and designed to withstand heavy foot traffic for many years. Once properly installed, a high-quality artificial turf can last 15-25 years with minimal maintenance required. Natural grass, on the other hand, needs to be reseeded every few months and completely replaced every 2-3 years on average with regular use.

The fibers that make up artificial turf blades are UV protected so they resist fading. The materials are highly weather-resistant, so artificial lawns maintain their lush, green appearance in all seasons. They won’t turn brown or need to be over-seeded when it gets hot. Artificial turf also holds up well to pets, kids playing, and parties without showing wear and tear. The durable backing and infill materials prevent indentation from cleats or high heels. Overall, artificial turf offers superior durability compared to natural grass and will provide lasting beauty with minimal upkeep.

Environmental Benefits

Artificial turf provides a number of environmental benefits beyond simply saving water. Because it doesn’t require mowing, fertilizers or pesticides, artificial grass reduces air pollution from lawn equipment emissions as well as contamination of groundwater from chemical runoff.

Artificial turf also helps reduce landfill waste, as it lasts much longer than natural grass and does not need to be replaced as frequently. The durable blades are made from recycled materials like polyethylene, rubber, silica sand and other recycled components.

In addition, artificial lawns provide environmental benefits for your local ecosystem. Natural grass lawns can be virtual deserts when it comes to biodiversity and ecosystem support. But artificial turf allows precipitation to filter through, avoiding polluted runoff while still supporting underground microbial ecosystems. Some artificial turf products incorporate conservation landscaping features to provide food, shelter and habitat for birds, butterflies and beneficial insects.

By installing artificial grass, homeowners can create beautiful green spaces that are environmentally friendly for local ecosystems while conserving water and reducing use of polluting chemicals and emissions. For Central Texas where water resources are scarce, artificial turf offers an eco-conscious alternative to thirsty and high maintenance natural lawns.

Cost Comparison

While natural grass is less expensive upfront, artificial turf often pays for itself over time through water savings and reduced maintenance costs. Here’s a look at the cost comparison:

  • Installation – Artificial turf is more expensive to install initially, with costs ranging from $6-$20 per square foot depending on the quality of materials. Natural grass seed and sod installation averages $0.15-$0.75 per square foot.
  • Maintenance – Natural grass requires regular mowing, watering, fertilizing, aerating and reseeding, costing $0.20+ per square foot annually. Artificial turf needs little maintenance other than occasional cleaning.
  • Water – The average household uses 10,000+ gallons per year just on lawn watering. At $2-5 per 1000 gallons, that’s $20-$50 per 1000 sq ft. Artificial turf needs no irrigation.
  • Lifespan – Properly installed artificial turf lasts 15-25 years. Natural grass lasts 3-5 years before needing reseeding or resodding.

When accounting for 10+ years of water savings and virtually no maintenance with artificial grass, the return on investment is clear. Although more expensive initially, over its lifetime artificial turf often costs less than repeated sodding and perpetual care of natural grass. And for water-conscious homeowners in Central Texas, artificial turf provides reliable green spaces while conserving water resources.

Conclusion

Installing artificial turf is one of the best ways for Central Texas homeowners and businesses to reduce outdoor water usage and maintenance requirements. As we’ve covered, natural grass requires significant amounts of water to stay green and lush during Texas’ hot summers. In contrast, artificial turf needs no irrigation, freeing up water for more essential needs.

Artificial lawns also enable year-round usability, as they maintain their vibrant color and lush appearance regardless of weather conditions. There’s no need to limit playtime after rains, during droughts, or in extreme heat. Families and pets can enjoy artificial grass continuously without concern for wear and tear.

With impressive durability and natural aesthetics, today’s artificial turf looks great year after year. The synthetic blades are designed to mimic real grass in color, texture, and even heat absorption. Modern turf systems allow excellent drainage, eliminating concerns about mud and standing water.

By switching to artificial turf, Central Texas homeowners can do their part to conserve water while enjoying an always-green lawn with minimal upkeep. Contact Waterloo Turf today to learn more about how artificial grass installation can benefit your home!

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