This summer's prolonged hot weather and the resulting parched lawns have some homeowners considering alternatives to their suburban carpet of greenery. To save water, money and time, a number of homeowners featured in the Wall Street Journal
have replaced their lawns with "xeriscaping" gardens (based on the Greek word for dry) that use less-thirsty, more heat-tolerant plants. But while some municipalities are offering residents "cash-for-grass" incentives to replace lawns with low-water-use gardens, others find them unsightly and even fine homeowners who don't follow neighborhood ordinances that require turf grass.
Those folks may want to consider another option that keeps their existing grass intact but, well, a little less natural than intended. Numerous companies, as told in an ABC-TV report
, will do what all your efforts could not—turn your lawn a painterly green. The company profiled in the report, Lawn Smart USA
, claims their lawn paint is environmentally safe, stains no more than any grass, and leaves no odors. It also lasts for three months—as long as the grass isn't growing too fast or getting mowed too often.
Can't stand real grass with artificial color? Perhaps you'd prefer artificial grass with real color. The fake grass you've seen in some sports stadiums is also available for residential properties. It's clearly not for everyone, especially if you want to attract, say, birds to a feeder. Synthetic turf also tends to heat up more than the natural stuff. (And concerns have been raised about the presence of lead in some artificial turf fields
.) But if you've had it with watering, fertilizing, and weeding, synthetic may be more friend than faux.
Of course, painting or replacing your lawn is not cost free. So if you're like most people, you're realizing right about now that it's time to invest in next year's hopefully healthier lawn. Do whatever weeding you can—this is the first time since spring that you can get ahead of the growth—and put down the best quality seed you can buy. Use our lawn planting tips
to help choose and apply seed and sod. And unless local laws restrict it, water liberally to get the grass pushing up before the leaves start falling. —Ed Perratore