May 2005 – Several weeks ago, the City of Inglewood’s Department of Public Works installed a new synthetic material called AstroLawn in the parkway at 2320 West Manchester Boulevard (directly adjacent to E.J.’s Hand Car Wash) in an effort to demonstrate the viability of one of several water conservation measures undertaken by the City’s Department of Public Works. The artificial turf offers the aesthetics of real grass, and enables the business owner to reduce water consumption by turning off the irrigation system in the parkway.
AstroLawn is manufactured by AstroTurf, one of the most established, and oldest, artificial turf manufacturers in the world. It is made with a rubber base composed of recycled tires and a polyethylene material, which is a very tough yet soft fiber and will not fade for fifteen years. Because AstroLawn does not require mowing, watering, or fertilizing, the maintenance costs are extremely low. It only needs a quick raking or blowing for leaf removal. Further, it reduces the amount of fertilizer that enters the City’s storm drain system, which will help keep the Dominguez Channel and the Pacific Ocean cleaner.
The cost of AstroLawn is initially higher than sod, costing anywhere between three to seven times more than sod. For the City, the cost was only a few dollars more per square foot than sod because the City installed the AstroLawn rather than paying installation fees to an AstroLawn distributor. Over time, it is expected that AstroLawn will actually save the City money by not having to provide service and maintenance to AstroLawn until the fifteen-year life expectancy elapses.
The City installed the artificial turf at E.J.’s to promote water conservation and has plans to work with other businesses for similar installations. The City also plans to install AstroLawn in certain street medians to improve the look of those medians and reduce water use.
Normally, employees at E.J.’s would have to water and maintain the parkway nearly everyday of the year to maintain curb appeal. Now, they barely think about it. “Customers have commented on it and say they like it” E.J.’s owner said, “and they ask questions about it. I have seen some people stoop over to feel it.” E.J. also commented on how much better his business looks as a result of the installation of the AstroLawn.