Turf Replacement: Education Matters! Email
Written by Lisa Pace   
Tuesday, October 10, 2023 12:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Turf replacement is expensive—costing anywhere from $2 to $15 per square foot—and doesn’t always guarantee water savings. In April, Colorado Springs Utilities set out to establish a turf replacement program for residential customers that’s affordable, guarantees water savings and ensures a resilient landscape change.

After much research and customer feedback, we established the following:

• When homeowners are having trouble maintaining their lawn, they are more willing to consider water-wise landscape options.

• Transitioning non-essential turf to native grasses is the most resilient, appealing option.

• A DIY conversion to native grass is a reasonably priced landscape change and something our customers want.

• Promoting a full-irrigation zone change along with free, high-efficiency nozzles best supports efficient water management.

Educating customers on how to do all of this work is the most important factor! Based on this, we created a program that provides:

• An initial education session about native grass and how to convert your lawn that sets expectations for what it will take to be successful and what to expect through establishment, accompanied by a DIY manual

• Multiple check-in sessions across the landscape transition period to answer customer questions and provide support, ensuring that customers feel confident doing the work.

• A second educational session to train customers on irrigation efficiency and provide free, high-efficiency nozzle replacements for the transition area

• Free native grass seed after customers determine the right grass type for their conversion project and demonstrate (through photos) that they have removed turf grass.

Given the amount of media attention turf replacement has received in Colorado, we knew it would be easy to get customers interested in this program. With very little promotion, we quickly had 300 sign-ups. About 250 customers attended our first class, and 135 moved to the second education class, received irrigation head upgrades and placed native grass seed orders. In early June, we handed out native seed, and about 75 customers have received seed. To learn more, visit csu.org/Pages/Events/ TurfReplacementProgram.aspx. |