Updated: Jun 28
Do you want it done right?
So, the decision has been made and you found yourself a trusted, certified, company or installer to start your project. Now you need to discuss the design and layout: It’s important to realize that most turf rolls are 15 feet wide and usually 100 feet long. There are some that are 12 feet wide but there are only produced in very limited varieties of turf to choose from. We will discuss the turf itself in another post but realize they are certainly not all equal and this will reflect greatly in the life and color of the turf.
As a professional installer my first vetting question is: do you want it done right or do you want it done on the cheap?
Here’s the caveat to being certified installer. We cannot sell or recommend anything that is contrary to a certified installation. We sign a code of ethics in effect making sure you don’t get taken advantage of. If you want to save money by cutting corners, then I usually recommend a wavier for the installers and setting up a maintenance contract to protect your investment if you’re an owner! When you cut corners, we usually see it in the base work which will create several issues later. I also want to point out that turf is installed best when it is run in one direction. Usually toward the house in the back yard and toward the street in the front yard. However, these factors may change with the size and design of the original layout before turf goes in. They also produce very different looking final products.
Questions to ask before determining the Layout.
What follows will determine everything else. Do you have pets and children? Are there windows that could melt your turf? Do you play golf? Drainage? (Which is a huge issue and we will also look at this in a later post in detail.) Flower beds and trees all a factor in the layout as well.
Once we have the scope of the project, I recommend a good working diagram to use for changes and agreement. Once everyone signs off on the layout, we have a working diagram for the installers and a checklist for the clients. If there are change orders that occur, you also have a reference for the changes. The reality is that clients change things and when billed extra there ensues an argument. Sometimes the installers make changes that the clients did not agree with which creates more work and more frustration. When you have a layout design and plan everyone is on the same page. It just makes the project run smoothly and efficiently. Everyone is in the know and a working partnership creates good communication and a happy ending.
Below is an example of an area with storm drains and a very high volume of water. Any aggregate base with nail anchors or metal edging will only lead to catastrophic base failure on the first major rain.
When I tell you that if your salesman or installer does not mention drainage, you need to thank them and consider other options, it’s the truth. There is a saying in the building industry, “If you don’t control the water, it will control your project!” This is a fact. I’ve literally walked onto multimillion dollar projects with bases washed onto patios or into the house. I’ve seen apartment complexes with sitting urine in the middle of the family area and whole sections of turf that slide off hills. Some of your most popular stores have had sink holes which created huge safety hazards and worse, displaced 6-inch nails just waiting for a foot. Yikes!
The worst part of this is that the cost to fix this is twice the cost of the original project.
Some factors to consider in your layout:
Factor one: The first general rule is the amount of water produced by rain. For every one inch of rain on 1 square foot you will produce 0.623 gallons of water. So, imagine you have a 2000 SF roof and it rains. You will produce 1246 gallons of water per every one inch. If you have no gutters, that water is cascading off onto the ground. This creates a drip line or small trench under the roof line. Have gutters? Then imagine a water hose that that you close down to a small opening. What happens? It creates high pressure. This same factor is occurring on and under your turf. If you are pushing water across the turf at high speeds the water will rapidly move someplace. If it’s not into drains it will back up or flood an area. If it’s moving at that pace under the turf, it’s displacing your base as well. And that’s just your house. Add your neighbors and you double the water flow and the problem.
Factor two: That same water then moves the very base it sits on. So, if it’s encased in a cheap border, the water simply washes over and out the base creating sink holes. Or worse, the turf collapses. I will talk in detail about this when I discuss bases.
Factor three: Irrigation. When you decide to install turf, you still have irrigation lines under the turf. This creates some positives and negatives. Positive if you have pets because you can create a flush system to help clean the turf. It also helps to cool the area as well. However, those pipes can also fail and when they do you have a mess on your hands. We keep a licensed irrigator on staff just for this purpose. We find it better to cap the main line and create a dead zone.
Factor four: Drainage itself. Remember when I said if you don’t control the water, it controls the project? Well, the actual movement of the water needs to be directed. We take ours into drains. If the pitch is slight, you can drain it off the turf but you have to be mindful of where its traveling. If your neighbor is getting your water, you might have problems. You also have to remember that same beautiful looking turf becomes a slip and slide for the water. Once the soil is saturated there is no place for the water to go. If it’s not drained correctly then the turf becomes impervious and water will pool. Once it develops weight it then moves in multiple directions. You just don’t want that direction to be inside your house, pool, or facility.
See why a design is important and it should include water flow as well?