HP Might Lift Restriction on Synthetic Lawns

You wouldn't need to do this as much if your grass wasn't real. (Photo: Frogtravel/123rf.com)
You wouldn’t need to do this as much if your grass wasn’t real. (Photo: Frogtravel/123rf.com)

From the football field at Highlander Stadium to the backyard on “The Brady Bunch,” artificial turf has served a variety of purposes over the years. And if you live in Highland Park, it could be coming soon to a front lawn near you.

The town’s public works commission this week discussed a proposal to allow residents to install synthetic turf in their front yards, something that’s currently prohibited. The town does allow turf in backyards and side yards, where it generally can’t be seen from streets or sidewalks, but regulates against it in front yards.

The idea was prompted by the town’s efforts to conserve water, and the decreased need to water turf as opposed to grass (although it still requires minimal watering for cleaning purposes and to prevent overheating). Officials said it could potentially save up to 45 gallons per square foot of replaced grass.

There’s also a cost savings for homeowners in terms of maintenance, it eliminates the need for fertilizers and pesticides, and it gives lawns a consistent appearance year-round.

“Some people already want to do it, but can’t because of our restrictions,” said HP Mayor Joel Williams. “I think the economics are going to be compelling, especially for water use.”

However, town council member Margo Goodwin expressed concern about the unnatural appearance of a green lawn in the winter, and said the synthetic lawns could detract from the natural beauty throughout the town.

“Aesthetically, it would be a huge impact for those people who don’t have it,” said town council member Margo Goodwin. “It would look strange if my neighbor did this and I did not.”

Artificial lawns are common in other parts of the country, such as California and Arizona, but are not seen as much around here. Most neighboring municipalities don’t have any restrictions on the books.

HP has experimented with synthetic turf on small portions of a median, but nothing the size of the average front lawn. Goodwin suggested the town become a guinea pig in a more conspicuous area, such as a park.

The key, of course, is conserving water without sacrificing the beautifully manicured lawns that are a longstanding tradition in HP.

“I think this is the wave of the future,” Williams said. “We’ve got to find a way to reduce water use and find a way for people to retain beautiful yards. This is an option.”

For now, the proposed regulations will be studied further before anything is sent to the Town Council for a vote.

4 thoughts on “HP Might Lift Restriction on Synthetic Lawns

  • November 8, 2014 at 8:56 am

    …Quoting Joel Williams….”I think this is the wave of the future”…..

    I’m not sure whether to burst out laughing or gasp at a hideous proposal. A more appealing option would be to offer native Texas plant ideas that required less water and be more of beauty, than destroy home values with ugly plastic grass.

    There was a reason, and is presently a reason, why plastic grass has been prohibited in front lawns. I believe, and in my opinion, that Joel Williams, the Dallas Country Club, and the rest of the town council should take the lead and remove all of their real grass from their properties and install the plastic grass. Then the residents can see how great this idea is? or better laugh!

    By the way Mr. Williams….Ronnie Brown (the HP parks director) told me on October 6, 2014 that the Dallas Country Club was exempt from HP watering restrictions, and that the DCC obtained a permit from HP to draw water from Turtle Creek to water their property. It’s funny that after I requested under Texas open records for a copy of this “permit” that HP thereafter claimed there is no such permit. So what is it Mr. Brown….? I’ve asked for an explanation from you but have not had any reply from you about your claims.

    Is the DCC exempt from watering restrictions, do they have a permit from HP to water their property by drawing from Turtle Creek? and if the DCC is exempt, why?

  • November 10, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Unnatural look of a green lawn during winter? Many people already seed their lawn with winter rye to have a green lawn in the winter. Her argument is not valid.

  • November 10, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    this is a generational issue. if you think that water is not a critical issue and all efforts should be conidered, including synthetic grass, then you are too old.

    aesthetics cannot be regulated. there are countless examples of ugly architecture and building materials in hp but who can be the judge? synthetic grass like all building materials can come in a wide variety of qualities. Just as architectural materials must have a minimum specification and aesthetic, the town could also require this for any synthetic lawns that are installed. The grade of the synthetic lawn, the backing, the drainage impacts are all factors that should be considered when taking a look at synthetic grass. It is the cheaper older products that have led to the perception of plastic glass as a cheap product. I suspect that some of the newer harder and products was surprised most people when they investigated it closely.

    synthetic grass is not necessarily bad but like all things it depends on the quality of the grass and installation. would you rather have real grass that is dead and brown or poorly kept rather than the lush green color as you drive around the neighborhood? native plants are the most viable first step but how quickly would your neighbors line up if you had a scruffy, brown lawn during the upcoming holiday season or next door to
    a house you were trying to sell?

    highland park represents a privledged area whose affluence has allowed them to sidestep this issue for many years.The town Council should be commended for considering this issue and bring it to the public attention.

    The town should also consider any and all other options for ‘green’ architectural construction and water conservation across the board and take the lead by making green building a mandatory method and practice in highland park for all new construction. The town should consider incentives for all new construction including LEED designation solar power, rainwater harvesting and any other design Avenue that would progress the conservation movement. HP could take the lead in this area and become an exemplary community with all the new construction building rather than trying to fight the inevitable.

    water is the core issue here. again it is about water and a holistic approach to water conservation would seem to be the best avenue for the town any new construction project to be required to consider.

  • November 11, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Perhaps we all should be required to disclose ownership interest in synthetic grass companies before commenting


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