Why do I need a synthetic lawn in Oregon or Washington? It rains here — a lot!
SYNLawn is an obvious alternative for more arid areas who can’t get their grass to grow, but here in the Northwest it is just as useful.
Clay soil, poor drainage, and a lot of shade producing trees make it very difficult for the average homeowner to maintain a green lawn year round. Lawns here brown out in the summer time, and get spotty when they go dormant in the winter. When it does rain, it produces a muddy unusable area that has to be mowed and edged once or twice a week. That takes a lot of time, and most folks work plenty hard enough without it.
What is “Infill”, and what is the difference between an infill vs. non-infill synthetic lawn product?
Infill, in short, is a rubber sand-like product, created with ground up tires and tennis shoes. It is sifted into lawn product that are too thin for the blades to be able to stay upright on their own.
Potential problems with infill in the Northwest include the infill migrating and/or running off into the drain due to the sheer amount of rain we get here. Another is that an the infill will again move or get kicked up when using items such as backpack blower for leaves and debris, or a pressure washer or strong hose for cleaning.
More general considerations is that infill will get caught in clothing or pet feet and fur, which then gets tracked into homes. In regards to pets as well, infill will harbor the bacteria in pet potty spots, as it drains more slowly and is more difficult to clean.
Another notable point, as seen by the dramatic playground fire in Florida a couple of years ago caused by children playing with matches/lighters, is that rubber infill is quite flammable. The poly and nylon products by themselves are not flammable, and are in fact self extinguishing. Non-infill products are even rated safe for indoor use.
SYNLawn NW has 40 different landscape and putting green products, with over 20 non-infill landscape specific products to choose from.
What about kids?
Kids love to play outside. Unfortunately most of the year our yards are a soggy, mud filled mess, and any amount of running and sliding will result in a very dirty child and a ripped up, splotchy lawn. You also have to worry about pest control or fertilization product chemicals. Most of the time, this combination results in simply an unusable area for play.
With SYNLawn, the kids can go out right after it has rained and run and play to their hearts content. The only water on them will be the droplets left of the blades, with no chemicals and no mud!
What about dogs?
Our beloved pets are no friends to lawns, as much as they love to play in them. Yellow, burned out spots in the grass are the most common problem, and if you have a digger, your yard becomes a veritable mine field of problem areas. And those adorable pooches just love to track dirt and mud into nice clean homes.
SYNLawn will not be discolored by pet urine, and it drains through into the sub-base and ground below, just like a regular lawn would. As for the poo, owners just pick it up like they usually would, hosing off any leftovers that the rain doesn’t take care of for you. There are also many pet friendly cleaning products that can be used once a year, or however often you think you need.
What about moles?
Moles are very big in the northwest, and a main contributor towards patchy, uneven lawns. They like to feed on the grubs found among and below the roots of your lawns. With SYNLawn, there is nothing there for them.
If a mole does happen to come along to see what they can find, they will soon be very put off by the layer of compacted rock, and once they reach the product backing that they can in no way dig their way through, they will beat a hasty retreat. The usual mound of dirt they leave behind will simply be a ripple in your yard, similar to what the root of a tree does to lawn over time. Simply get or borrow a hand tamp, and pound that ripple back down. Your lawn will be good as new.
Do the products get hot?
The turf will warm up in hot weather (upper 80‘s or 90’s), usually 5-20 degrees over ambient temperature for non-infill products, even hotter with rubber infill. However, non-infill products cool down IMMEDIATELY with a quick spray of water or any amount of shade. The infill itself WILL retain the high heat for a much longer period, so that is another consideration when deciding which products to choose for your application.
Is this a Green building product?
Yes it is. The backing is made up largely of recycled materials and soybean oil. Water conservation is also a key part of the Green aspect, as well as the elimination of gases produced by mowers and other equipment. There is also the elimination of harsh chemicals running into our storm drains.
How is this installed? Can I do it myself? Can my landscaper do it?
The products are installed over a base of crushed quarter minus rock, which provides excellent drainage similar to a French drain system. The rock is brought in after removing excess sod and dirt, then is compacted down to a firm surface before the turf is rolled out over it. The turf is then cut to shape, seamed together where necessary, and tacked down with special rust resistant fasteners.
You can certainly do your own lawn installation. It’s labor intensive but very doable. Big equipment can be rented at numerous places around town, and we can provide the seaming materials and fasteners you’ll need. We are also more than happy to offer tips and tricks for installation, to you or your landscaper. We can even send a representative to your location to help (or for training your landscaper) for a daily charge.
Many individuals have also installed their own putting greens, but we ask that you please keep in mind that these are much more technical and difficult to do, and would recommend getting help with.
How much does it cost?
We have non-infill landscape products ranging in price and quality from $3.29 a square foot, up to $8.99. Most people wind up somewhere in the middle. Products requiring infill are less, however the additional cost of infill, and the maintenance involved usually balances that out.
Costs for product and installation both range anywhere from $8 – $14 a square foot (most residential applications are in the $10 – $11 range), depending on factors such as the product you choose, the square footage of the product, access to your area, etc. Putting green installations are usually a few dollars more, due to the technical and time consuming aspects of those applications. A representative will visit your site for measurements and evaluation of the project prior to purchase, in order for us to provide you with an accurate price quote for your job. No surprises.