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Turlock couple landscape with artificial turf, drought-resistant plants
turf people
Carolyn and Jerry Sanders stand in their front yard, which they designed to be water savvy. The couple not only installed artificial turf, but also designed banks of wooden bark accented by drought-tolerant plants to save water.

This week the City of Turlock notified its rate payers that watering would be cut to two days a week with limited hours, a measure taken as a result of state mandated water conservation rules. However, this rule does not apply to at least one household in Turlock.

Jerry and Carolyn Sanders have no grass at their home to water.

Precipitated by the ongoing drought, the Sanders performed a complete renovation of their front yard to include artificial grass and drought tolerant plants. The process began in mid-April after Carolyn attended the Turlock Garden Club’s annual garden tour.

"I went to one home that had a patch of artificial turf and thought, 'I could do that'," recalled Carolyn.

Then she did, evident by the fact that the Sanders’ front yard does not have a stitch of grass – though the artificial replacement is nearly identical.

"I wanted one that wasn't shiny," explained Carolyn. "We wanted it to look as real as possible."

"It doesn't grow and it doesn't need water. Those are the two bonuses," laughed Jerry.

While the Sanders sourced their turf from the Sacramento area, a Modesto landscaper caught wind of the Sanders' project and made a point to come out and observe the process. The yard features not only artificial turf, but also banks of wooden bark accented with various drought resistant plants. While passersby have perceived the Sanders' yard to be professionally designed, all of the credit goes to Carolyn. Designing her front yard to be water-conscious has allowed her to get creative and adorn her front yard with unique elements.

"I found those stepping stones on Craigslist," she laughed, indicating to slate style accents in the wooden bark. "They sat at my house for a year before I found a way to use them."

The boulders that accentuate the yard are also from an estate sale that proved less than fruitful otherwise.

While some of the decorative plants were preexisting before the Sanders installed the artificial grass, Carolyn sought the help of The Greenery to find drought resistant plants and suitable evergreens, or plants that don't lose their leaves in the winter. There is still a fountain in the Sanders yard as well as sprinklers, though neither is running. With one more patch of the yard to develop, Carolyn said she is planning a dry creek bed with more rocks and boulders.

"It's an ongoing project," she said.

As for the Sanders water bill?

"I'm anticipating the next one," said Carolyn, noting that their present bill still reflects their pre-artificial turf water usage. "I'm anxious to see how it compares."