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Have you ever covered a pimple with a make-up stick, dyed your grey hair back to it’s original shade, or painted your brown grass to a healthier looking green?

While lots of us have tried the first two, not to mention many other things to improve the aesthetics of ourselves and the things we own, fewer of us have tried the latter.

My friend who recently sold her house did, and she was thrilled with the results.

“We’d worked hard getting ready for the sale – inside and out,” Jen said about her L.A. home. “But without being able to water the grass, our curb appeal was lousy.”

That didn’t make any sense to me since California has been struggling with a record-breaking drought. Surely everyone must be sporting the same dead lawn look?

“No,” she sighed. “All our neighbours had their grass painted awhile ago. We were the last hold outs.” Seems lawn painting is all the rage in California and other drought affected areas where people want to restore their lovely yards but can’t turn on their sprinklers.

For $375 she had the light brown grass in both her front and back yards painted a natural looking green and she’s convinced that’s what helped sell their home for more than she and her husband were expecting. There was no need to inform the buyers of the cosmetic trickery either. It’s commonly understood and accepted that if your grass is green there, it’s either spray-painted or synthetic.

After another dry, hot summer in the Okanagan Valley where I live, there’s plenty of brown grass here as well because of our water restrictions and all the people who choose not to turn on the taps even when they can. But with the exception of golf courses, lawn painting has been far less common. That’s starting to change thanks to people like Lee Coulthard, a young man from Kelowna who’s now out there with his sprayers.

Lee had watched the trend grow in the U.S. and educated himself on the environmental ramifications, doing research on different products that could accomplish the goal of improving the appearance of a yard while not causing any damage. His results ended with him starting up a business called Okanagan Lawn Painting last month, and he’d been revamping yards ever since.

“The reaction has been very positive,” he said. “Everyone’s been happy to end up with green grass.”

100 per cent non-toxic and biodegradable, the organic dye is absorbed by the blades of grass and is completely pet and child friendly. The product uses only Earth derived pigments, and claims to be the best colour match in the industry with an application that won’t rub off on shoes or clothing, nor will it wash away with regular watering or rain fall.

On completely dormant grass, some customers have reported the green lasting four months, but Lee says it will likely need retouching anywhere from two to 14 weeks depending on weather, grass growth and lawn traffic. His minimum charge is $150, which covers about 600 square feet. Every square foot after that is 25 cents.

Overly fond of bright hues myself, I couldn’t help but ask what options there were for folks wanting a more creative paint job – perhaps a sea of blue or rainbow stripes.

“Sadly, the distributors haven’t developed other colours besides green, white and bark mulch,” he said. “However, I could foresee some colorful lawns in the future once people catch on to the potential of this applicant. That is some uncharted ‘turf’ at the moment.”

Of course there are alternatives to the traditional green grass for anyone wanting to conserve water and display something different. My friend Kim transformed her yard with some decorative, low maintenance rock work last summer, and another couple friends plan to tear up their sad looking lawns and replace them with drought tolerant plants and ground coverings that might not be ideal for kids to roll around in, but they’ll be gorgeous to look at.

More gorgeous than a sea of blue grass or rainbow stripes? Depends who you ask. Beauty is most definitely in the eye of the beholder.

For more information about Lee’s business please visit: or google search other lawn painting businesses in your area.