Archive for June, 2006

For the Do-it-Yourself Type, Installing Your Own Artificial Lawn Makes Sense

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

Artificial grass front yardSo, you’ve decided you want the pleasure and year-round beauty of a synthetic lawn for your home and you’re considering installing it yourself.

Self-installation of today’s next-generation products, such as NewGrass™ from NewGrass, Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz., is not for the faint of heart. The company always recommends letting the professionals tackle the job to get top-notch results.

But if you’re up to the challenge, if you have landscaping or gardening skills, and if you don’t mind a little work, you should give self-installation some thought.

Handling your own installation can save you quite a bit of money. Of course, it will also provide the satisfaction of accomplishing a home-improvement job with your own two hands. Well, a job accomplished with your own two hands and a little bit of help.

The basic steps for installing an artificial lawn are:

  • Planning
  • Designing and layout in detail (you don’t want surprises later!)
  • Installing what is called a ground stabilization tarp; this provides a long-lasting, solid foundation
  • Installing your base material
  • Placing the grass, which will probably require seaming two or more sections together
  • Installing fill material (various sands, small rocks, stone dust and compounded earth that help keep your grass blades rooted and lifted)
  • Cutting and trimming

Ask Questions, Expect Answers
Planning your installation and designing the layout for your new lawn are absolutely the most crucial steps. You should seek good advice and ask lots of questions from your artificial grass salesperson. A reputable and professional artificial grass dealer will be happy to answer your questions for your self-installation project.

Distributors of NewGrass™, for example, are trained to not only answer questions about NewGrass™ and provide expert installation if you want it. They also understand that even if you choose to install the product yourself, what matters at the end of the day is that you have a perfectly installed lawn that you are proud of and meets your expectations.

What You’ll Need – The Basics
If you’re going to install your own artificial lawn, here’s a quick list of the equipment you’re likely to need. This may help you decide if it’s a job you want to tackle yourself.

  • Carpet cutter (industrial style)
  • Chalk line
  • Drop spreader
  • Hammer
  • Landscaping rake
  • Plate tamper or small riding roller (rental)
  • Self-leveling rake or chain screen
  • Shovel
  • Sod cutter (if necessary)
  • Spray nozzle and water hose
  • Stiff bristle broom
  • Straight edge (for seaming)
  • Wheelbarrow or Bobcat (recommended for larger lawns)

Here are the materials you’re likely to need to install your synthetic grass, like NewGrass™, yourself.

  • “5-minute” epoxy adhesive
  • Base Materials For Crushed Aggregate – crusher fines, screenings, StoneDust (1.9 tons per 100 Square Feet) or Concrete (3 ½ inches fiber filled)
  • Seaming material (see manual for choice)
  • Top dressing material

After Years of Doubt, One Artificial Grass Proves as Real as Mother Nature

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

Synthetic grass yardSCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – After years of saying no to artificial grass, a north Scottsdale community decided that one local company has a product that is enough like the real thing to be allowed to grace its front yards.

Scottsdale Ranch, an upscale community of 4,000 homes, amended its covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) to allow residents to install NewGrass™ synthetic grass products from Scottsdale-based NewGrass, Inc.

For years, Scottsdale Ranch, like many other communities, argued that artificial grasses look too fake and would hurt property values.

“Scottsdale Ranch has homes that are beautifully landscaped, and the community wouldn’t have changed its CC&Rs to allow NewGrass if our products weren’t as natural-looking as the real thing,” said Trevor Brooks, NewGrass Executive VP, Marketing.

The approval of NewGrass at Scottsdale Ranch comes as affluent communities nationwide continue to debate whether to allow artificial grasses in their front yards.

Over the years, longtime resident Gene Galinski has seen artificial grasses that looked too much like plastic … and didn’t get the community’s approval.

“NewGrass is the first product we’ve seen that provides the appearance of a well-manicured lawn,” Galinski said.

The ongoing debate goes beyond landscape aesthetics, however. Particularly in the arid Southwest, the argument also touches on water conservation and the simple freedom from maintenance and care that a synthetic lawn offers.

More than 50% of the average homeowner’s water bill goes towards maintaining their lawn, according to the American Water Works Association.

Synthetic Grass Gaining Hold in Water Conservation Efforts

Thursday, June 8th, 2006

artificial grass vs natural grassWater conservation organizations, environmental groups and public agencies are increasingly suggesting the use of synthetic grasses in the fight for water conversation.

The trend has been gaining momentum over the past few years. But installing artificial grass in place of natural turf still seems to come farther down the list of water conservation measures, say, installing household fixtures and appliances that consume less water.

Nonetheless, products like NewGrass™ are gaining ground – so to speak – as many areas of the country learn to live under continued draught conditions.

The Cochise, Ariz., water conservation office on its Web site has this to say about artificial lawns:

“While natural turf certainly has its place, artificial turf is often a viable alternative, particularly where turf applications are decorative or cover large expanses. Artificial turf eases the labor burden, the expense and time involved in weed and pest control and grooming, as well as the costs of equipment associated with traditional turf.

“Most importantly, (artificial grass) not only eliminates the need for irrigation with ground water, but acts as a permeable mulch, as it allows rain water to pass through and infiltrate into the ground.”

Reno, Nev., in 2003 started paying homeowners willing to remove grass from their yards $1 per square foot. The program paid out $13 million in its first seven months.

Tempe, now in its ninth year of drought, also pays homeowners to remove grass and plant cactus. Along with paying homeowners $100 each to remove grass, Tempe offers grants up to $20,000 to businesses that reduce water consumption by at least 15 percent. One of the key advantages of products like NewGrass™ is that they require no watering at all.

Since Phoenix installed a synthetic field in its Desert West Sports Complex last fall, it has saved over 1.5 million gallons of water and estimates it will save over 2 million gallons in its first year, according to news accounts.

In addition to the savings that water conservation bring, the city is saving money because maintenance crews that once tended to the natural field daily now only need to spend a couple of days a month there.

Payson was the first Arizona city to install a synthetic grass field, in 1997, and has added others since. The synthetic playing field has saved 1.6 million gallons of water per field per year, city officials report.

The city recently reported that after nearly 10 years of use, the artificial grass is in nearly the same condition as when it was installed.

The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension office suggests down-sizing, eliminating or replacing natural turf with a synthetic lawn, such as NewGrass™.

“Turf can be the most water-intensive planting in a landscape,” the Extension reports on its Web site. “If you don’t need the turf, replace it with lower water use landscape options. If you need turf, consider a synthetic lawn or a native grass turf.”

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