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Homeowner warned after seeking advice on convincing HOA to allow lawn transformation: 'Please don't…'

"Something worth keeping in mind."

"Something worth keeping in mind."

Photo Credit: iStock

One Washington homeowner was met with a stark reality when they asked Reddit how to convince a homeowners association to allow the installation of artificial turf in their front yard.

"Since some cities are asking residents to cut back on water use, is there a way to get the city/county/etc. to step in and 'force' HOAs to allow fake grass in front yards?" the poster wrote in early October in the r/Washington subreddit. "... This is our first house in WA. all of our houses in AZ had fake grass. yes a long time ago fake grass was obvious. now fake grass can look pretty good. I'd rather take the hit on installing fake grass, than dealing with the constant mowing, watering, seeding, fertilizing, etc."

A few commenters pointed out that HOAs aren't allowed to restrict drought-resistant landscaping, and one cited a statute specific to the state.

"Please don't use fake grass. It sheds large amounts of microplastics. You'd be poisoning the ecosystem," another said. "No HOA should allow fake grass on the basis it permanently pollutes the environment, and our environment is going through enough [right now]. 

"Considering native xeriscaping. You can actively help the ecosystem by feeding pollinators and providing habitat rather than putting down fake grass that leeches toxins into the earth."

Someone else called fake grass "disgusting," and one user wrote: "Apologies for not directly answering your question, but I do want to chime in that I hope you consider the environmental impact of fake grass and consider more natural, native species of plans. Also, I think some of the researching coming out about fake grass and turf, etc., potentially causing cancer is something worth keeping in mind."

Xeriscaping is landscaping that requires little to no irrigation, and if ditching your lawnmower is the goal, the results can be breathtaking, as they were for the Redditor who shared their yard transformation this summer.

The benefits include drought resistance, water conservation, lessened or eliminated need for chemicals, and the promotion of biodiversity, which solve all the poster's stated issues and more.

Artificial turf is also not the panacea it's marketed to be — "don't make such an investment thinking it's a low-cost, zero-maintenance, long-term solution," The New York Times said — and can even carry a funk factor if you have a pet that urinates outdoors.

Moreover, it has been linked to cancer, including the deaths of six former Major League Baseball players who long played on the synthetic surface.

A 2022 study showed that chemicals in turf — including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, phthalates, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — are known carcinogens, neurotoxicants, mutagens, and endocrine disruptors.

The plastic-based substance is harming the environment as well, contributing to microplastic pollution, the urban heat island effect, and air and water contamination.

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