Greener lawns can include green paint

    Consumer Reports News: April 11, 2011 02:08 PM

    Homeowners in arid Arizona have resorted to coloring their grass as a cheaper alternative to constant watering or installation of expensive synthetic turf. Lawn painting became a popular alternative when the recession hit, and can also keep homeowners' associations happy.

    Using vegetable-based dyes, lawn painting can cost about $200, depending on how much lawn you have. It will last about three months, and the grass will still need watering, but not nearly as much as a truly green lawn would require, according to a recent New York Times article. Desert landscaping (replacing grass with low-water and heat-tolerant plants) can also save water and needs less upkeep than real grass. Yet while some municipalities are offering cash-for-grass incentives to install low-water-use gardens, others require synthetic turf, which can be expensive, and in certain climates can also get too hot for bare feet. Lead in some artificial turf fields also raises concerns.

    Our recent nationwide lawn-care poll, How Americans really feel about mowing, found that many would like to trade at least part of their stretch of real grass for something else.

    Here are some of our poll results.
    When asked if they could make just one lawn change, respondents said the following:

  • 33% would replace part of it with a rock garden, flowers, or ground cover.
  • 18% would reduce lawn with a deck, patio, or porch.
  • 12% would replace all or part with synthetic turf.

    Only 5 percent of our respondents said they'd enlarge their lawn. But a sizable 31 percent said it was fine as it was.

    In other lawn updates: Fourteen states have implemented or are considering bans or limits on fertilizers that contain phosphorus. The element can quickly turn your lawn green, but can also cause harmful plant and algae blooms in waterways. Here is some advice on getting your lawn green without it. An easy way to slice watering and fertilizing needs by roughly one-third: Mulch clippings instead of bagging them. That also saves what you'd spend on the bags while preventing added waste in our landfills.

    Also see our new mower Ratings to learn more about features like mulching modes that make for easier cutting and healthy lawns. And check out our lawn planting tips to help choose and apply seed and sod. The May issue of Consumer Reports magazine has a full rundown of more than 450 best and worst home and yard products.

    Spraying to make yards green…but with paint, not water [New York Times]

  • Maggie Shader


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