Chad Lewellyn said the decision to put artificial grass in his backyard was a no-brainer.
“It’s been tough between drought for two years,” Lewellyn said. “Most of the perimeter of this home is predominantly turf.”
Lewellyn has small plots of turf where most homeowners have grass.
As one of the owners of Panache Landscaping & Design in Boerne, Lewellyn said extreme heat and ongoing drought made it an easy decision for him to prioritize drought-tolerant plants and artificial grass in his own yard.
“As a company, that’s what we push,” Lewellyn said. “I don’t want to use a lot of water.”
The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that parts of San Antonio and the Hill Country are experiencing extreme drought conditions.
Some parts of South Central Texas have even seen more than 680 consecutive days of drought.
Some counties across these areas are seeing strict water restrictions. Lewellyn said he’s down to watering his plants from a well one day a week.
“Water is more important for us to be able to take a shower and wash your clothes than it is to have 18 pallets of sod in your front yard,” Lewellyn said.
How much water is available is also a worry for Helotes Fire Chief Scott Moreland.
“Our focus is primarily on knowing where we can obtain water if we need it,” Moreland said.
Moreland said ongoing drought raises concerns for wildfires. Between Jan. 1, 2023, and July 30, 2023, the Texas A&M Forest Service reported 362 fires across Texas.
Between the same dates in 2022, the service reported 1,431 fires across Texas.
Moreland said parts of South Central Texas have been “lucky” this year when it comes to the number of wildfires, but he said his concern is still clear.
“Texas heat is brutal. And those of us who’ve grown up in it, we don’t think much about it,” Moreland said. “We get used to it and we work around the problem.”