In 2014, in the throes of the drought, fourth-generation contractor Beau Lee Schmidt and Jessica Girard started EcoLawn when they saw a need for more efficient yet still beautiful landscapes.
“On average, approximately 30 percent of a homeowner’s water bill is attributed to landscaping,” said co-owner Chloe Kirk, but it’s not just residential customers. In just the past four years, EcoLawn has also installed synthetic grass at schools such as Marymount and Bright Start Child Development Center as well as at the Hotel Californian, Bacara, and Santa Barbara Zoo.
“More and more commercial and institutional properties are converting to artificial,” said Kirk. “Advantages include lower groundskeeping maintenance costs, no water needed, and the benefit of a perpetual pristine appearance.”
She recently answered a few more of my questions.
How has synthetic grass technology advanced over the past few years? Synthetic turf has been exponentially increasing in quality. Attributes like yarn construction, blade structure, heat resistance, durability, and appearance have been constantly improving every year. We are constantly working with manufacturers to find the most cutting-edge technology.
Are sales still on the increase? Yes, sales continue to rise as people’s perception of synthetic turf changes. Not only do people want to save money and water; they also don’t want to spend their Saturdays mowing their lawn. Many of our recent installs are for pet owners or families with children. It makes for a safe and clean play area.
What should a homeowner consider when considering the switch? Synthetic turf is a big upfront investment but over time pays for itself in time and money saved. The turf is expected to last 20-25 years.
What are some misconceptions that still linger? Oftentimes people are concerned with the grass being hot, but due to the new technologies, that is no longer an issue. A lot of people still think of synthetic grass as AstroTurf, but the new styles of grass actually have yellow and brown thatch woven in, making it look like realistic California grass.
What other services does your company provide? We are a full-service landscape contractor. In addition to synthetic grass, we also provide pavers, native landscaping and design, drip irrigation, decks, arbors, dry creeks, fences, outdoor kitchens, fire pits, and any other type of exterior construction.
What was one of your favorite projects? The installation we donated to DAWG. Being pet lovers, it was fun to be able to help out and give back to the community.