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Installing Synthetic Turf Products






Seaming the lawn turf is fairly simple. Underneath each seam an 18" wide piece of mylar or other seam fabric is laid out. On top of the mylar an outdoor adhesive is spread out and the two pieces of turf that are being seamed together are placed onto the adhesive. The seam is rolled and concrete blocks are set on the seam while the adhesive sets up. The perimeter of the lawn area can be buried and secured with landscape staples or fixed to a recessed treated board with galvanized nails.






If you're looking for a new product or service to help your business grow, you should be taking a serious look at the synthetic putting green and lawn industry. While the synthetic putting green industry has been around for 20 years now, the lawn side of the industry has just caught on over the last 5 years and has been well received and shows signs of significant growth for years to come.

Backyard Putting Greens

While every golfer would like to have their own backyard putting green, it was always the high cost of maintaining a natural green that kept them from realizing this dream. With improvements made in the manufacturing of artificial turf, a variety of synthetic putting green turfs were introduced back in the 1980s that simulated the roll of a nice bentgrass putting green. This was not your typical indoor/outdoor carpet. These products were manufactured specifically for use as a putting green and provided golfers with a realistic practice tool that they could use in their own backyard.

By eliminating the maintenance of a natural green and providing golfers with a realistic roll, the backyard putting green industry was off and running in the late 1980s. Jerry Carr with Turf America in Indianapolis was one of the first to offer such a service in 1986. In 1989 they introduced their Dealer program where Landscape Contractors could add this service on to their existing businesses. Today, there are hundreds of Landscape Contractors nationwide offering backyard putting greens, and while there are no exact figures, it is estimated that there will be several thousand putting green installations nationwide in 2006.

The installation process is quite similar to installing a brick paver patio, except that rather than covering the compacted stone base with pavers, you cover it with synthetic turf. The typical Landscape Contractor has most of the equipment and manpower needed to install a green, however, most of them need help with how to seam and install the turf along with the cups. Seaming the turf is not that difficult once demonstrated, and most contractors have very little trouble after their first installation.






Installing a backyard putting green is similar to installing a brick paver patio. The main difference is that instead of covering the base with pavers, it is covered with turf. A typical Landscape Contractor has most of the equipment and manpower needed to install a green.


Base Construction

The key to building a great putting green begins with the base construction. While most contractors like to use a crushed compacted stone base, others are building greens with a concrete base. They each have their advantages and disadvantages, and it usually comes down to what the contractor is more comfortable working with.

The goal with each green is to provide the golfer with putts that roll straight as well as those that break left to right and right to left. The undulations that are built into the base to provide the breaking putts need to be looked at very closely. Too much break and the ball will roll off the green. Not enough and the ball will not break at all. According to Carr, there is a very fine line here. "We are building a practice putting green and not a miniature golf course. Serious golfers are buying these greens to practice their short game on, and the green needs to be similar to a green you would putt on when out on a golf course".






Synthetic lawns are much easier to install than putting greens. Lawns should always be installed on top of a stone base. Water will percolate through the turf but not if the turf is installed on top of a soil base. Three or four inches of stone will create enough room for water to move down through the turf and into the soil.






Top-Dressing

Depending on the type of turf used, some of these synthetic putting greens need to be top-dressed with sand or coal slag. The top-dressing is applied with a spreader. The top-dressing is needed to fill in between the fibers and weigh the turf down. In addition, the top-dressing also helps to achieve a realistic putting green speed. The speed of a putting green is measured with a Stimpmeter. A Stimpmeter is a three-foot-long ramp that you roll a golf ball down. You then measure the distance from the bottom of the ramp to where the ball comes to rest. The distance between the two is referred to as the Stimpmeter reading. A nice country club putting green speed is anywhere from a 9' to an 11' on a Stimpmeter. When the Stimpmeter reading is below a 7' it is considered to be too slow and when it's above a 13' it is considered to be too fast.

Depending on the type of base construction and the turf used, the selling or installed price of greens today can vary anywhere from $10 - $20 per square foot. When using a crushed stone base and an inexpensive polypropylene turf, the costs for the installer can be as little as $3 - $4 per square foot. When using a concrete base with a high quality nylon turf, the costs for the installer can get up to $10 - $12 per square foot. Either way, there is a good profit margin built in for the installer.

Additional Landscaping

Once the green is installed, there is always additional landscaping work to be done. Some greens are finished off by bringing in topsoil and sod, while others may include stone walls, plants and water features. The perimeter work surrounding the green can often times cost as much as the green itself. Many homeowners end up redoing their entire backyard landscaping along with the green, often times giving the backyard a golf related theme complete with benches, ball washers, sand bunkers and custom signs.






Depending on the type of turf chosen, most should be top-dressed with sand, rubber or a combination of the two. For areas that get little foot traffic, sand will work fine. Areas that get a great deal of foot traffic such as a playground, should be top-dressed with a crumb rubber product. These top-dressings are needed to help weigh the turf down, keep it in place, and provide a softer cushioned surface, much like a thick natural lawn.


Synthetic Lawns

The synthetic lawns are much easier to install than the putting greens. The lawns should always be installed on top of a stone base. Water will percolate through the turf but not if the turf is installed on top of a soil base. Three or four inches of stone will create enough room for water to move down through the turf and into the soil.

The variety of synthetic lawn turf is quite impressive. Just like the putting greens that are manufactured to simulate bentgrass, the lawn turfs are manufactured to simulate Bluegrass, Rye, Bermuda, St. Augustine and more. Once installed, it is very difficult to tell a synthetic lawn from natural grass.
Courtyards and playgrounds are also popular areas for these new turfs. These turfs can solve many ongoing problems that most landscapers have to deal with, that being those areas where they simply cannot get grass to grow for one reason or another.

Depending on which turf you choose, most of them should be top-dressed with sand, rubber or a combination of the two. For areas that get little foot traffic, sand will work fine. Areas that get a great deal of foot traffic such as a playground, should be top-dressed with a crumb rubber product. These top-dressings are needed to help weigh the turf down and keep it in place as well as in the case of the rubber, to provide a softer cushioned surface, much like a thick natural lawn.






Small areas that do not have irrigation such as parking lot islands and medians are a perfect location for a synthetic lawn. Courtyards and playgrounds are also popular areas for these new turfs.


Seaming

Seaming the lawn turf is quite simple. Underneath each seam an 18'' wide piece of mylar or other seam fabric is laid out. On top of the mylar an outdoor adhesive is spread out and then the two pieces of turf that are being seamed together are placed onto the adhesive. The seam is then rolled and concrete blocks are set on the seam while the adhesive sets up. The perimeter of the lawn area can be buried and secured with landscape staples or fixed to a recessed treated board with galvanized nails. Landscaping is then brought right up to the edge of the new lawn. Maintenance of these lawn products is similar to that of a patio, keeping the area cleaned off with a leaf blower.

If you are not up to speed and aware of these new synthetic turf products you may be missing out on a good business opportunity. Each year there are more and more watering restrictions put in place around the country, leaving homeowners with brown, weed infested lawns and they need options.







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December 8, 2019, 8:14 am PDT

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