Mission Viejo residents can begin to put away their lawn mowers and weed-whackers. The City Council unanimously agreed with city staff's recommendation Monday to allow fake grass in front yards.
Under the new law, up to half of a Mission Viejo front yard can be occupied by professionally-installed artificial turf. No city permit will be required to install the turf.
The council also approved staff guidelines for landscaping with the grass substitute. It should be green, lead-free and fire-resistant. Blades can be as short as 1.625" and the turf should come with a minimum eight-year warranty. Certain backings and bases are not allowed.
The city will also draft a brochure to guide homeowners interested in installing fake grass.
Two residents spoke in favor of artificial turf Monday, and none spoke against it. But that doesn't mean the new law lacks critics, Mayor Rhonda Reardon said.
"Those who are against artificial turf are really, really against it and just don't like it, period," she said. "But I'm not sure they've seen the really nice artificial turf."
Reardon said she approved the law because it's a water-saver. But she warned fake grass can get hotter than the real thing. She recommended keeping sprinklers available to cool artificial turf on hot days.