“Every year we’ve doubled our business,” says Wade Petrini, owner of Artificial Lawns Direct, a Scotts Valley company that specializes in the removal of lawns and sprinkler systems and replacing them with artificial grass.
Since water shortages became more commonplace in Santa Cruz County in recent years, he said, homeowners have been switching away from traditional — and voraciously thirsty — lawns for their homes.
This year alone, Petrini said, his company has installed more than 40,000 square feet of artificial lawns in Santa Cruz County.
“We can’t keep up, the factories can’t keep up,” he said.
Petrini said that artificial turf can be appealing to homeowners, not only because it’s not as high-maintenance as real turf, but also for environmental and aesthetic reasons.
“No weeds, no gophers, no poisonous fertilizers that end up in the (Monterey) Bay,” he said.
The artificial turf that Petrini’s company installs is made of a fire-retardant petroleum and soy mixture. It’s typically situated on a thatch that allows water to permeate through the turf, where it can be reintroduced to the groundwater.
“It’s the next generation of grass,” he said, adding that new, fiber-based types of artificial lawns are designed to be more resilient to foot traffic and less reflective of the sunlight, which can reduce the life of the lawn.
One of the major reasons that homeowners are choosing artificial lawns, Petrini said, is that water districts throughout the county have offered rebate programs to homeowners that remove lawns and sprinkler systems in the name of water conservation.
Currently, the Scotts Valley Water District offers its customers a rebate of 50 cents per square foot of artificial turf that replaces a lawn.
Petrini estimated that, in the past few years, his company has removed more than 3,000 sprinkler heads.
“Some of these (sprinkler heads) are putting out 3 to 5 gallons of water per minute,” he said. “I’ve probably saved more water than anybody.”
For more information about the Scotts Valley Water District’s lawn replacement rebates, visit www.svwd.org.
For more information about Artificial Lawns Direct, visit http://www.artificiallawnsolutions.com/
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