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When I picture artificial grass, I picture a sports field filled with screaming green Astroturf. Definitely not something I'd want in my yard.
But there's cheap phony-looking fake grass and fancy fake grass. The latest offering in the fancy category is DuPont ForeverLawn Select Synthetic Grass (www.foreverlawn.com/news-dupont), featuring a "low-sheen, multi-colored blade structure." The secret of its realistic look is the tan thatch at the base, the better to mimic the real thing. "People really like that feature," says Donna Kent, marketing director for Forever Lawn. The rap on fake grass has been that it looks "too fake, too green."
I tend to think of synthetic turf as more of a southern thing -- not something that could keep its looks after sitting under snow for six months. But Kent insisted that the new product "can perform under extreme conditions at both ends of the climate spectrum. The snow falls, it melts. It doesn't damage the grass."
What's a fake lawn cost these days? The new Select Synthetic Grass sells for $5 to $9 per square foot, depending on which of four versions you select, plus another $2 to $4 per square foot for installation. (This can be a DIY project, according to Kent; the company is currently working on an instruction video.) "Ground preparation is important," Kent says. And the grass has to be installed with the blades facing the same way or you end up with a striped lawn.
Clearly, a quality fake lawn is not cheap. But if you truly hate lawn chores, or have conditions where natural grass is difficult to maintain, it's an option.
There's also been some debate about the environmental impact of real vs. fake grass. Calling a plastic lawn "green" sounds counter-intuitive. But artificial lawns do conserve water and eliminate the need for fertilizer and fuel for mowing. On the flip side, manufacturing the grass also carries an environmental cost. And where does it go after it's no longer lawn-worthy? (For a more detailed discussion, visit www.slate.com/id/2191200/)
What do you think? Would you ever consider a fake lawn?
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