Grass That's Greener: Synthetic Turf as a Solution to the Water Shortage

The rain came down in buckets in May. It fell in epic, biblical proportions. Yet despite the record-breaking spring rainfall, drought remains a serious long-term concern for Oklahoma. A passion for water conservation fueled Carrie and Brendan...

story by Skyler Munday | photos by Greer Inez

The rain came down in buckets in May. It fell in epic, biblical proportions. Yet despite the record-breaking spring rainfall, drought remains a serious long-term concern for Oklahoma.

A passion for water conservation fueled Carrie and Brendan Parker’s desire to create Always Greener, a synthetic grass company. The couple lived in Los Angeles, and found inspiration in lovely, sustainable fake grass landscapes that popped up with increasing frequency there. They knew Oklahoma could benefit from fake grass, or “frass,” too.

The Parkers are on point. According to Oklahoma State University’s ThinkWater program, drought is “absolutely” still a concern despite the recent rain. “Historically, rainfall has always fluctuated—and climate change affects unpredictability,” explained ThinkWater Communications Director Leighona Bernstein. “As soon as July and August, we expect things to get dry again and the lake levels to get low.”

According to the EPA, the use of synthetic turf saved between 3 to 6 billion gallons of water in 2010. With an average lawn size of 1,800 square feet, the annual savings tally quickly:  an estimated 99,000 gallons and $700 a year. Carrie’s product doesn’t require water, sprinklers, maintenance, or chemical pesticides. Further, 75% of the world’s water waste is due to residential water. Always Greener claims the product pays for itself in two to five years. “We love the designer aspect of creating a tailored outdoor experience for our clients,” Carrie said, in the company’s inspiring video by Choate House. “There are no muddy paws from pets, and there are less bugsand allergies.”

ThinkWater recently installed a beautiful drought-tolerant garden at the Oklahoma City Zoo, and its events calendar and website contain great resources for those willing to live a little more harmoniously in today’s Southern Plains ecosystem. “People just don’t know about water conservation techniques in Oklahoma, but they’re available,” encouraged Bernstein.

We’ve been barefoot on frass, and were surprised by how comfy it felt underfoot. Also, let’s be honest, succulents and rocks aren’t as kid-friendly as frass (or as fun to say). What we might like best about Always Greener: fun stays at the heart of the hip little shop—clever rugs, portable putting greens, and furniture also go green here. We’re also a little proud of this Oklahoma business expanding into showrooms and boutiques in Dallas and Atlanta.

Styling by the Idea Collective. Always Greener,7316 N. Western Ave. (405) 810-5383. agokc.com thinkwater.okstate.edu