he Sunset Hills Memorial Park cemetery is giving up grass in favor of artificial turf. It's a move owners believe will save as much as $180,000 in water and maintenance costs over the next three years. The cemetery is the final resting place for cowboy stars Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.

"I actually believe it will revolutionize the cemetery industry eventually," said Sunset Hills co-owner Chet Hitt. He knows of no other cemetery that uses artificial turf.

Hitt originally started selling artificial turf just to people who wanted it for their family plots, but has gradually begun to put it down throughout the cemetery. He expects he'll have to replace it about once every eight years.

Artificial grass has several benefits besides saving money on water and maintenance costs, said Dave Hepburn of the Interment Association of California, the state's largest cemetery trade association.

Real grass can discolor tombstones and grow into graveside flower vases, damaging them, Hepburn said. Heavy watering can also damage concrete walkways and discolor headstones over time.