Drought conditions are nothing to joke about.
All across the country, but most importantly in the southwest,
legislation regarding water conservation gets more serious
by the day. Garden centers, nurseries, home builders, architects
and contractors are responding by increasing the educational
awareness about the different varieties of residential landscape
techniques, which can be beautiful as well as water-wise.
Christi, Texas offers plentiful resources designed to educate
citizens how to implement water-smart garden designs. In San
Antonio, homeowners are taking advantage of rebates in exchange
for installing approved water-saving landscapes. Nevada is
another state taking its water conservation plans very seriously.
Southern Nevada is entering its fourth year of the worst drought
on record. According to the Southern Nevada Water Authority,
the Water Smart Landscapes program available to homeowners
and commercial property owners has more than doubled its incentives.
Homeowners previously receiving .40¢ per square foot
for grass that’s replaced with water-saving “xeriscape,”
can now receive a $1.00 per square foot; up to $50,000! Commercial
property owners can earn up to $300,000 for giving up grass
in exchange for water-saving landscape.
Xeriscape™, an often-misunderstood
term trademarked by the Denver Water Utilities, is the implementation
of drought resistant plants and flowers with that require
minimal water use. Nevada landscape expert Brent Scott is
on top of its water-saving strategies. One of his clients
had an irrigation system that emitted water twice a day. “We
installed 3000 square feet of xeriscape for the customer which
eliminated the need for irrigating. They were used to paying
over $120 a month for water. Now they pay about $20 to $25
a month, and that was from June and July readings,”
said Scott. “As another alternative, we also install
synthetic turf and it’s just a given that those customers,
too, save water.”
On the other hand, xeriscape is not 100%
functional when homeowners want backyards for “normal”
play and activities. Sod or turf of some kind is and always
will be needed for those who entertain in their backyards.
After all, a good game of volleyball would be difficult to
play on 100% xeriscape. For this reason, many landscape professionals
have found that by adding synthetic turf applications to their
list of products and services, they too, are taking strides
towards smart landscaping, smart water management, and practical
backyard functionality. Good news! In water-police patrolled
El Paso, folks can have a luscious green yard without the
risk of citations, and still be eligible for water-wise rebates.
That is because under the El Paso Water Utilities Turf Replacement
Program, homeowners who have permeable synthetic turf lawns,
can qualify for rebates. And, those lawns stay green all year.
Anai Padilla, Water Conservation Manager for El Paso Water
Utilities, is proud of how water-wise her town has become,
“We’ve done a good job at getting residential
water use down in El Paso. It’s partly due to homeowners
like the resident who replaced 2262 square feet of his yard
with artificial turf.” Synthetic turf is yet another
product that landscape professionals can add to their product
offerings in efforts to build water-cautious landscapes.
Colorado landscape expert William Story
couldn’t agree more with such water-wise practices,
“We all need to become better water managers. We have
to adapt to what we have to work with and be smart with what
resources we have. If we don’t, we will be in big trouble.
Adding xeriscape and synthetic turf to existing landscape
is a great step towards smart landscaping, smart water management
and smart business.”
Dungan, Landscape Operations Manager for All State Landscaping
in Salt Lake City, Utah, employs a program that calculates
how much water homeowners can save by installing a combination
of synthetic turf and xeriscape. “We install synthetic
turf putting greens as an add-on service. A homeowner with
a 10,000 square foot yard would have to install a rather large
1,500 square foot putting green to save about 30% off his
or her water bill. However, when we combine a mix of xeriscape
and synthetic turf, the savings shoot up to 70%!” said
Dungan. As a water-saving landscape alternative, synthetic
turf is in its infancy stage of popularity. However, more
and more landscape professionals are implementing this non-traditional,
yet water-wise, landscape technique.
if landscape professionals take these synthetic turf applications
one-step further by installing them as professional synthetic
putting greens, they will become “niche-service”
gurus. And given that golf and golf travel has evolved into
a $50 billion a year industry, wise landscape professionals
will slice into their share of this business. Golf fanatics
love to have outdoor lighting installed for their late-night
putting contests, as well as sand traps, tee boxes, retaining
walls, pavers, water features, landscaping etc. The sales
opportunities are endless. Niche services, such as putting
green installations, will not only help residents become smarter
water managers, they also give a company a unique advantage
over its competition. This is especially helpful when companies
must compete on price for similar services. Even Landscape
Management Magazine voted synthetic putting greens the #1
niche service idea of the year. Obviously, a company with
a niche service has a greater chance of increasing its revenues
and market share. But the yields that putting green services
provide are more than attractive. Profits can run as high
as 60% to 70%. For the homeowner who doesn’t already
have a water-cautious landscape design, he becomes the perfect
target at which landscape pros can aim their full array of
products and services.
250,000 homeowners across the nation already know this and
have backyard putting greens according to the Wall Street
Journal. We feel that these figures are just beginning; it’s
just the tip of the iceberg. Whether these homeowners or golf
enthusiasts know it or not, they have become smart water managers.
But more importantly, they have their own 24-hour putting
and chipping, maintenance free, practice facilities right
in the comfort and privacy of their own backyards. Besides,
ask any knowledgeable golfer and he’ll say that the
game of golf is won or lost on the putting green. Anyone can
shoot long on the driving range, but putting is the key. How’s
that for a sales pitch? These simple backyard additions are
proven to increase property value and build equity into the
home, which helps secure the home’s future value. Another
great sales pitch too, by the way.
Some companies may already have enough business
to last them throughout the year. However, in states where
the droughts are persistent and the game of golf steadily
increases in popularity, the advantages awaiting a savvy landscape
company are stronger than ever. Who will be the next wise
landscape pro that outshines his competition by providing
water-cautious landscapes that are attractive, functional,
and improves golfers’ handicaps?