MARBELLA – Extreme weather conditions have led to a severe drought affecting the province of Malaga. However, the lack of rain brings with it a remarkable trend: the use of artificial grass has exploded on the Costa del Sol.
In November, the western Costa del Sol faced extreme drought, leading to strict water conservation measures. In particular, residents of the La Axarquía region and places on the western Costa del Sol can use limited water. There is a ban on watering gardens and public green areas. As a result, the demand for artificial grass has increased significantly.
Alternative to natural grass
Francisco Carrasco, director of Econatura Andalucía, a company with more than 18 years of experience in the supply of artificial grass, confirms this trend. He explains that artificial grass, which requires no water or maintenance, offers a solution to the current situation. Econatura Andalucía opened a new branch in Estepona in early 2023 to meet growing demand.
Municipalities are also looking for solutions
Several municipalities, including Málaga, Marbella, and Estepona, have responded to the drought by replacing their natural lawns with artificial grass. This is a practical solution for an area known for its green appearance, but now facing an unsustainable situation due to the lack of water.
Luxury real estate sector is in dire straits
The drought also has major consequences for the luxury real estate market in this area. Villas with large lawns, ranging from 150 to 2,000 m², can no longer guarantee the required water for maintenance. Alejandro Guerrero, a landscape architect specializing in luxury villa gardens, expresses his concern about the situation: “Plant producers cannot meet the demand and we do not dare to plant the vegetation because they need the most water in the first weeks.”
Sustainability and innovation in garden design are needed
Guerrero emphasizes the need for smart plant choices and the use of water-saving technologies in garden design. He says they focus on plants that require less water and the use of efficient irrigation systems. These systems measure soil moisture and precipitation to irrigate only when necessary.
Customers aware of water problems
Customers of the luxury segment, mainly from Northern Europe, are becoming increasingly aware of the water crisis. This has led to greater acceptance of more sustainable alternatives, such as artificial grass, in their holiday homes on the Costa del Sol.
More scared than during the pandemic
Due to the extreme drought, activity in plant nurseries and green sellers has also plummeted. “There are initiators who are putting aside investments in the green areas of projects, for fear that they will not be able to water and will have to let everything die. Some of my suppliers have seen their orders canceled due to the impossibility of watering the gardens on-site. This is in addition to the scarcity of water to be able to produce the plant itself. The situation is uncertain for everyone and some companies are now more afraid than in 2020, in the middle of the pandemic,” Guerrero complains.