Reprinted from the Daily Olympian in Olympia, Washington
Try Some Turf
by Sarah Jackson
John Davidson, co-owner of Redmond-based Dream Turf, will feature his growing business of selling and installing FieldTurf, a system of artificial turf with polypropylene blades of grass made to look like lawn.
It's the same type of turf the Seahawks use for football games. It's just installed a bit differently to make it look more like a residential lawn.
"One of the reasons I think they like us is they have pretty elaborate gardens," Davidson said. "With our product, they have one less thing to worry about, so they can tend to other plants.
"Dog owners are a huge demographic, too. When pets go out on a wet lawn, they just tear it up."
FieldTurf's artificial grass system stays green all year. It doesn't need cutting. It requires no chemicals or water, and it lasts for 12 years, usually much longer.
Foot the bill
There's a hitch, of course: Typical jobs cost about $10,000.
That includes removal of the old grass, installing a gravel base and drainage system, turf installation and the chance to never mow or water your lawn again.
Davidson admits it's a significant investment for most homeowners.
"We're going to be working real hard this year to work on financing and new construction," he said. "If you build it into your mortgage, it works out to about 60 bucks a month."
Builders in Las Vegas are including fake turf in some subdivisions, Davidson said, adding that he's done projects in the new Jubilee development near Lacey as well as a few others in South Sound so far.
Kurt and Michelle Wieburg of Olympia decided to go for FieldTurf in late 2003 after mowing their lawn for nearly a decade.
They had heard about similar products in Readers Digest and, after some research online, hooked up with Dream Turf.
"I actually did have some concern with the money," Kurt Wieburg said. "But a year later, I can tell you it's probably the best investment that we have spent on our house."
There's no more need to gas the destructive moles in the yard (their food source is gone), and the surface is great for the kids, ages 9 and 12, Wieburg said.
Wieburg said people ask if it's real, but not because it's particularly fake looking.
"They can tell," Wieburg said, "because it looks too good."
Curious homeowners can walk on FieldTurf in their bare feet at the Dream Turf booth at the Seattle Home Show as well as at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, where Davidson is an exhibitor this weekend.
Sarah Jackson writes for The Olympian and can be reached at 360-704-6871 or sajackso@ olympia.gannett.com.