Dog Fake Artificial Lawn

The Green family dog rests on their new $9,000 artificial lawn in Ottawa's Centretown neighbourhood. (Stu Mills/CBC)

One Ottawa family has traded their lawnmower for a vacuum after installing an artificial lawn at their Centretown neighbourhood home.

Keelan Green said he and his family tried for two years to grow grass before installing artificial grass at their McLeod Street home in September.

“We don’t have a lot of places to put the snow, so what we experienced in our first couple of years is, when the snow would melt there would be depressions and the grass was just beaten,” he said.

“The first two summers we tried to grow actual grass but with the shade, not (having) a big plot of land, we’re enclosed with a fence. It just didn’t happen.”

He said the surface resembles the longer grass found at pro sports stadiums instead of the old-fashioned AstroTurf.

Realism means more interest

The 12-by-12-foot section in his front yard and the 15-by-60-foot backyard cost about $9,000, a price tag he said is similar to laying down stones (called “interlocking").

“You dig down, you create a gravel base, you level it and then the artificial grass comes in rolls,” he said.

Keelan Green Fake Artificial Grass Lawn

Keelan Green stands in the artificial lawn he had installed in September 2013. (Stu Mills/CBC)

“It’s got perforations in it so water can run through and drain … I think the warranty is for 10 years.”

Landscape architect Eva Schmitz, who runs a garden centre in the area, said the fake grass looks more realistic so interest is growing.

“For low maintenance in small spaces where people struggle with real lawns, it’s a very good thought,” she said. “I've seen new production of fake grass this year at shows that looks real. They even have little bits of thatch in it so it looks like the real thing.”

Vacuum attachment used to clean

Instead of mowing the lawn, Green said he uses a vacuum attachment to a leaf blower that tidies it up.

There's one downside, he said. The surface can get really hot when the sun is shining and you can't walk on it in your bare feet, likening it to how asphalt warms up in the summer.

Schmitz also said it can look strange when everyone else’s grass is brown while artificial lawns stay green all year.

"If you look around to other places in the neighbourhood, their grass is just starting to see the sunlight as the snow melts," Green said.

"You look at ours and it looks like we put a lot of fertilizer on it in the fall."