Artificial Turf Install

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by pblc, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. pblc

    pblc LawnSite Member
    from South
    Messages: 232

    We installed sod in a customers backyard last fall. Because of a heavy canopy and severe drought most of the sod has not made it through the summer. The client liked the plush green look the sod offered.

    I am looking into replacing it with some artificial turf. What should I look for when looking at this product? I'm in western kentucky and the area to be covered is only 750 sq ft.

    What are the pros and cons that yall have experienced with this product? Thanks.
  2. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Well, the first major "con" is that the stuff is damm expensive! As in 5-10x the price of sod, installed. So take the price you charged for the sod job, multiply it by 5 or 10 and if you think that price is way more than your client would be interested in spending, then you probably need to think of another option.

    Aside from cost, there are some things you want to consider. First, understand that most all synthetic turf comes in 15' rolls. So there's almost always going to be some waste. Let's say the area is 20' x 38'. No matter how you do it, you're going to have to buy a lot of extra synthetic turf. If you run it length wise you'll need 1 15'x38' roll and another 15'x38' roll. The second roll will have 10'x38' left over. If you do it width wise then you'd need 1 15'x15' roll, a second 15'x15' roll and a third 15'x15' roll. But on the last roll, you'll have 7'x15' left over. So understanding this is really key to pricing your job.

    Second thing to understand is that seeming and stretching is a little bit of a βitch if you're a novice. You'll want some local support from your sales rep. If you're considering buying online to save money, this might be a bad choice compared to going with a local supplier who will probably have a sales rep. who can come over and help you through your first job - help you figure out how to seem and stretch correctly, among other things.

    Third, many synthetic turf require infill. And aside from the fact that this product costs more money, it also creates additional challenges. Infill tends to track onto decks, into houses, get caught in shoes and dogs paws.

    Fourth, often times synthetic turf gets matted down over time. So it's not an install and forget it thing. They will want to pay you to come back a few times each year to power-broom it back up so it looks nice. Otherwise, it will just get matted and ugly over time.

    Fifth, did I mention it's damm expensive???

    Sixth, synthetic turf stays about 15 degrees hotter than the temperature outside. So on a 90 degree day, that turf can easily be 105 degrees. Not the nicest thing to play on. So I am not sure what the heat is like there. But that's something to consider too.

    Aside from the seaming and stretching, it's fairly basic. Excavate down several inches, install several inches of tightly compacted gravel, like you would for a paver patio, lay down the turf, seem it, stretch it, screw it down, power broom it, infill it. That's about it.

    It goes a little slower than you think too. Again, having a local rep. really helps when you are new because he can help make sure you don't underbid it.
  3. Leon

    Leon LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    A lot of the artificial turf does look pretty good but it NOT really a "green" alternative. Needs to be washed frequently if there are dogs!, the tightly compacted base inhibits water infiltration which leads to more runoff into the streets. It will need replacing in a few years and there's the disposal issue. Besides, it's damn expensive and hot! but it looks good!
  4. Surf-Neck

    Surf-Neck LawnSite Member
    from FL
    Messages: 17

    Better have a good vacume to get all those leaves out of that artificial turf when they start falling.

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