'Lawn Painting' Turns Brown Yards Green In New York And New Jersey

By Christopher Michaud

NEW YORK, July 19 (Reuters) - Despite the summer's persistent heat waves, the grass really is greener in some neighborhoods in New York and New Jersey.

Homeowners with brown, dried-up lawns are turning to "lawn painting" to liven up their yards.

Business is booming, according to Joe Perazzo, who launched his lawn painting company in New York's most suburban borough of Staten Island a few years ago, inspired by the tinting process used to color professional athletic fields. Other companies have sprung up in the region and elsewhere in the country.

"We've had a lot more calls and jobs in the past few weeks," said Perazzo, who added that this season's heat has been particularly hard on lawns due to a lack of rain.

For about 15 cents a square foot ($1.61 a square meter), or $150 for 1,000 square feet ($161.40 for 100 square meters), Perazzo will spray a plant-based, non-toxic turf dye on lawns or even dried-up shrubs and trees.

The biodegradable spray can last up until next spring's new growth if grass is truly desiccated, he said.

For lawns with a bit of life left in them, the paint will last for "two to three mows," he said.

In such hot weather, with temperatures hovering near the triple digits, lawns are not growing very fast, he said.

Rich Pacailler of Howell, New Jersey, had his 1,500 square foot lawn sprayed this week.

"It gave me the green lawn I've been working for," he said. "I come home and see I've got the greenest lawn on the block."

He said it was very natural looking, "like new sod."

"It's not hampering the lawn, but really showcasing it and giving it that curb appeal," he said.

Perazzo said he can custom mix the lawn shade, "depending on how yellow or brown the turf is."

Someone recently suggested painting a lawn red, white and blue for the Fourth of July holiday, he said.

"I haven't gotten into blues and reds," he said. "But I've researched it, and it's a definite possibility." (Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Cynthia Johnston; Desking by Cynthia Osterman)