Opinion: Communicating natural turf’s benefits

August 4, 2014 -  By

natural_grass

For many property owners, the benefits of natural turf may not be clear. Misconceptions about grass abound. As a partner in caring for a client’s grounds, landscapers can educate customers about suitable options to enhance their surroundings. By arming customers with better information and recommendations, landscape professionals expand opportunities to grow their businesses.

One of the first questions likely to crop up is about the expenses, from installation to ongoing maintenance. It’s important to note that a lawn is an investment that adds curb appeal and can increase a property’s value. Plus, it’s easier to recoup the costs of good landscaping, which can offer a 100 percent to 200 percent return compared to just 40 percent to 70 percent of costs recouped on projects like a new deck or patio.

Another point of concern may be irrigation. Consumers are under the impression that lawns require a lot of water, which may help explain why homeowners tend to over water. Natural turf needs watering only once or twice a week. Installing a professional irrigation system with a rain sensor and controller will not only automate the task, but it will help keep water use in check.

Remember, some grasses are more resistant to harsh conditions, such as drought or frost, than others. Research varieties that are recommended for the climate conditions in the area to have the best chances for success.

If perceived environmental issues are a roadblock, explain that natural turf is one of the most efficient and cost-effective methods to control erosion. Extensive roots bind the soil, absorb rainfall and significantly reduce runoff. In addition, grass absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen while cooling the environment naturally. What’s more, buildings surrounded by lawns have lower air-conditioning requirements, potentially saving on energy costs.

Turf provides a handful of other benefits. Naturally calming and stress relieving, grassy areas can enhance quality of life and serve as inviting settings for relaxation and recreation. In addition, keeping lawns well groomed enhances pride in a community, helps deter littering and vandalism and aids in preserving property values.

Communicate the benefits of a natural lawn to customers, and be a partner in creating an idyllic outdoor environment.

Photo: ©istock.com/LUMINARY

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About the Author:

Ostlund is executive director of Grass Seed USA, a national coalition of grass seed farmers and academic turf specialists. For more information, visit weseedamerica.com.

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