There's a reason why the grass is greener on some Toronto lawns: it's not real and it can result in a costly municipal penalty.

In fact, homeowners who opt for artificial turf run the risk of a $1400 fine for breaking city landscaping rules.

Karen Stintz, a former city councillor for Ward 16, has a personal connection to the issue: she herself has an artificial lawn.

"I call it year-round grass," she said, showing off her a front yard carpet of green.

 "It doesn't need to be watered. It doesn't need to be maintained. There's no mowing. There's no care and feeding."

As for the threat of being fined, a "vague" bylaw is to blame, said Stintz, who ran as a mayoral candidate last year before dropping out of the race last August.

"I can't explain why it is that inspectors feel it's a good use of their time to go and ticket people for having an artificial lawn. But they are."

Fighting city hall

The law needs to change, she said, taking aim at city hall.

"The inspectors go around in January and they find the greenest lawns and they tend to be the ones that are artificial. That's when they fine homeowners."

City officials were not available for comment on Friday.

Karen Stintz

Former city councillor Karen Stintz shows off her artificial lawn and says a city bylaw against artificial turf has to change. (CBC)

Stintz's neighbors may not have joined her on the artificial bandwagon, but they're not strongly opposed, either.

"They want a fake lawn, they can have a fake lawn. They want fake flowers, they can have fake flowers. They want fake kids, they can have fake kids," Stintz's neighbour Tony Altilia told CBC.

"One day I came out here and they're vacuuming their lawn, whereas, we're cutting a lawn," Altilia said.

"Honestly I didn't notice it," another neighbour, Mary Muir, said.

"I've seen a few of them. I think they're pretty good. And for trying to conserve water it's probably a good idea in some respects."