In more ways than one, Florida is not a very “grass-friendly” state. People who move from up north are often surprised to discover that Florida lawns aren’t as lush, green or soft as the ones they are used to. Instead, they are fickle and usually made up of scratchy Palmetto grass that is relentlessly attacked by bugs, and dies off easily from too much water or shade.
Traditionally, the way to keep the grass green in Florida has been dousing it with bug-killing, mold-thwarting chemicals—not a very good solution for the eco-consious, especially those with pets or children. Now there’s another way for home owners that want a perfect lawn—artificial turf.
Unlike the Astroturf of the past, there are now many varieties of top-grade artificial grass that can fool the eye as close as three feet away. Interspersed with realistic-looking “dead grass,” bright green blades look very, very real and feel extremely soft under foot.
“The options nowadays are tremendous,” says Fermin Bergouignan, CEO of Monster Grass, based in Miami, Florida. “We use many manufacturers, so you can find exactly what you want,” he explains. That means all different types of blades and colors. There is shorter pile grass for people with pets or children who play hard and long, lush lawns for the most realistic look. “It looks good all year long, and there are no pesticides to apply, no mowing. It’s an investment that does pay for itself.” The only maintenance is the occasional spraying off with water and brushing to keep the blades peppy.
Synthetic lawns aren’t cheap, however, and can run much as $8 a square-foot once installed. No matter, it’s worth every penny for those with sprawling estates that must be kept green even in drought situations—especially when the alternative is getting called out as a water-waster as Kim and Kayne did on Page Six. So posh hotels and private homes in California have been getting in on the artificial act for a while now.
The grass works well in many popular, contemporary designs, including running between stepping stones, and on vertical surfaces as a ultra-modern “grass wall” (shown above.) When installed horizontally, eco-friendly silica sand is spread over the grass as the finishing touch. Most of the grasses offer 15-year warranties so expect at least that much longevity from your new perfect lawn.