Should You Paint Your Lawn Green? What to Know About This Trend

Updated: Jun. 20, 2024

Is this recent trend going to kill your lawn? A turf specialist weighs in.

Ever wonder how football fields and golf courts end up looking so green on TV? Sure, some of those fields may be artificial turf, but a lot of the time those fields have actually been painted to look good on your screen. And while this practice makes sense for a sporting event, a recent trend of painting lawns green has actually gained popularity over the past few years—and it may just be the lawn maintenance trend you’ve been waiting for.

But is the paint bad for your lawn? What is the purpose of painting your lawn green if it’s just going to die in the wintertime? We spoke with Dr. Jim Baird, a turf grass specialist at the University of California, Riverside, about this recently popular trend and if it’s something you should try at home for a greener, lush lawn.

Why Are People Painting Their Lawns Green?

This particular yard maintenance trend has gained popularity for a few reasons, mainly boiling down to the amount of water you’re conserving by painting your lawn instead.

First, by painting your lawn, you’re not using as many resources like water and fertilizers to keep it lush and green. This helps to cut down on the costs of taking care of your lawn, especially given how long these paints can last.

Second, painting the lawn can actually be beneficial for the environment. Less water is needed in order to keep the lawn green, and fewer chemicals and fertilizers as well, helping to decrease a person’s carbon and water footprints. This is particularly helpful in drier areas of the United States, such as California, where certain guidelines need to be followed to conserve water during seasons of drought.

Is Lawn Painting Safe for Grass?

Grass Painter Sprays dead lawn with green spray paint after extreme heat and droughtJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

Thankfully, painting the grass can actually be a safe practice. Many grass paints on the market are made with organic pigments instead of toxic paints, making them safe for pets and humans.

“I see nothing wrong with the practice, especially in a place like California which is trying to get more homeowners to move toward planting warm-season grasses—grasses that inherently use less water, yet depending on where you are and how cold it gets, go dormant in the wintertime,” says Dr. Baird. “So that’s a situation that where painting the grass could be really helpful.”

In Dr. Baird’s research on painting grass, he has also found that the paint can actually help to green up the grass quicker—meaning it helps to make the grass greener during a shorter period of time.

“It’s helping the plant to green up quicker in the winter because it will absorb more heat when it is darker,” he says.

What’s the Best Technique for Painting Grass?

According to Dr. Baird, the best time to paint your grass is to give it a coat while it is still green before it goes dormant for the winter.

“These products work better when the grass is still green,” he explains. “Put them down before they go into dormancy [and] the color of the grass tends to look more realistic instead of waiting until it goes brown.”

This is especially important for people who live in areas with restrictions on irrigating their lawns in the summertime, to preserve water in warmer climates. “It’s probably better for them to put those products down before it gets too bad because if you wait long enough you may risk losing the grass completely.”

When it comes to actually painting the grass, the only caveat Dr. Baird points out is how these products can actually stain the concrete areas surrounding your lawn—like driveways, walkways or sidewalks. “There were some products I used that took two or three years to go away,” he says. “So it’s important that if someone is going to do this at home and you get it on the sidewalk, they need to wash it off as soon as possible before it dries.”

Once the painting is finished, be sure to let it dry completely—it shouldn’t take more than 24 hours before the lawn is ready to use.

How Long Does Painted Grass Last?

Grass Painting Company sprays green paint on dead grass from drought and extreme heatJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

While it would depend on the type of grass paint you decide to use, experts generally say that painted grass will last between two and three months on your lawn, depending on how often you mow. Be sure to mow the lawn first and spray on a sunny day for an easier, faster drying process. Any puddles of water can dilute the product and make the coloring look uneven.