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An easy guide to buy artificial grass

Posted on May 31, 2016

Do you know that on an average around 30,000 liters of water is used to keep the garden healthy, clean and green? Depending on your location, the figures can be blustered up to 70,000 liters or more (obviously a garden in dryer and hotter climate requires more water). These are really astounding figures and cost a minimum of $200 per year (based on the average figure of 30,000 liters).

What if you can save this huge money-bomb and still enjoy a lush green lawn? You can really save thousands of liters of water every year just by installing an artificial lawn!

But how to proceed with buying the right artificial turf for the right location? Here is a buying guide that will guide you through various prerequisites, perspectives, and considerations involved in choosing the best artificial turf. In this buying guide you will:

  • Understand the terminologies of artificial grass
  • Learn the types of artificial grass
  • Learn the factors to consider while buying artificial synthetic grass
  • Know the uses of artificial grass
  • Explore the grades of artificial grass
  • Get hands-on knowledge about the infill types

Understanding the terminologies of artificial grass

Before proceeding towards ‘how to buy artificial turf’, you must understand what goes into making artificial grass? This will gear you with the right knowledge about the characteristics of turf components. Below is the brief explanation of each component that you will come across while purchasing an artificial turf:

  • Pile Height: This is the length of the longest blades. Pile height lies anywhere between 1.5” to 2.0” for landscape grass and 2.0” to 3.0” for athletic field. You should know that pile height accompanied with fiber density also impacts turf’s matting (the effect when blades get pushed down).
  • Face Weight: Face weight means how many ounces of yarn are used per square yard. The more yarn used per yard, the more dense and expensive it is. The denser the turf is, the softer it will feel under the foot.

*PS - We hope it’s not up to your surprise that the combination of pile height, face weight and yarn type altogether determine the product’s density and artificial grass cost per meter.

  • Backing Type: While making the purchase, you may often come across the the term backing type. Basically there are two types of backing: Primary Backing and Secondary Backing. Primary backing is the layer(s) of material through which the yarn is punched during the process of making artificial turf. Primary backing acts as the base for punching yarn, thus, the more the layers, the better and more firmly they hold the yarn. Greater layers of primary backing add extra binding to the turf and help the blades stand up better. Secondary Backing coats the back of the turf. This coating adds weather durability and longevity to the turf. Polyurethane and latex are the common choices for this. The former is more durable and stronger while the latter is known for its environment friendliness. Knitted turf is the exception in case of secondary backing. It does not have a secondary backing but attains durability and longevity by wrapping the blades of yarn around a single layer of mesh backing.
  • Backing Weight: Total weight of the layers of primary backing combined with the secondary coating used per square yard are collectively known as backing weight. On an average, an ordinary turf has 6-8 ounces of primary backing and 20-22 ounces of secondary backing for a total of 26-28 ounces per square yard. As a rule of thumb, the higher the weight of backing, the higher will be its durability and tuft bind. For example, buying a turf with backing weight 26 ounces per square yard is better that the one that consists of backing weight of about 16 ounces per square yard.
  • Total Weight: Total weight is the combination of backing weight and face weight. Don’t get lured by the promotions claiming 84 ounce product as it might be the total weight of the turf per square ounce. So, it is always a good idea to know the product’s face weight, backing weight and total weight.
  • Yarn Type: Basically only three types of yarns are used in artificial grass: Polyethylene, Nylon and Polypropylene. Polyethylene is known for its versatility and exceptional balance between aesthetics, durability and softness while nylon is well known for its porous nature and is used for long blades in landscape grasses. Polypropylene yarn is typically used as a thatch layer on landscape grasses and for sand-filled home putting greens.
  • Roll Width: Synthetic grass in Melbourne is made in two common widths: 12.5 foot and 15 foot. Based on the dimensions of the location, you can choose the one that makes the artificial grass installation easier and creates less waste.
  • Infill: Infill granules are used to impart a soft and natural look to the grass blades. Infill also holds these blades into straight position. Various types of infills like rubber crumb, organic, silica infill etc. are available across Australia.

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Consider the following while buying artificial grass

While scouring the internet, you may come across many do’s and don’ts regarding the purchase of artificial grass. Here is the most comprehensive list which describes exactly what all you should count. Make sure you don’t miss them.

  • Type of use: For which purpose do you want to buy an artificial turf? Is it just to make your garden beautiful or to give a clean, fuzz free playing area to your pet? Decide the motive first and then proceed.
  • Fiber Density: Fiber density is vital to consider. The denser the fiber, the softer it is to walk on.
  • Fiber Height - Artificial grass below 25 mm of fiber height is not recommended as it erodes quickly and results into threading. If the maximum height is taken into consideration, 45 mm is just fine
  • Colors - Basically, artificial grass if available in four major colors namely: green, olive green, blue and red; out of which for residential as well as athletic purpose, green and olive green are the most common ones. Blue and red are primarily used to highlight a specific portion of the putting green or add a difference to it. Some funky artificial grass colors are also available on special orders though there use is limited to interiors or kids’ play areas.
  • Personal Choice - Choose colors and textures according to your personal taste. If possible see the practical artificial turf installation of the artificial grass that you selected
  • Product Quality - Always ask the supplier if the selected turf has undergone all the necessary protection processes
  • Safety features: The last thing that you expect from your artificial lawn is its wear and tear due to climatic havocs. Your artificial turf must be:
    • UV protected - It protects the color of fibers from the sun
    • Flame Retardant - It prevents the disasters caused due to fire
    • ISO Certified - These certifications are only given to the manufacturers who are committed to international quality control
    • Warranty - Best manufacturers provide a warranty for the qualitative models. Make sure that you get the original warranty card of the official manufacturer and not just an overpromise when you make the purchase
    • Price Range - High quality artificial synthetic grass will require a high initial investment from you. But the maintenance costs are manageable and lucrative in the long term. Price also varies according to the factors discussed above.

Widen up the usage options

Artificial grass can now be used ahead of conventional applications. We have handpicked some options that might be of interest to you too!

  • Outdoor garden - Undoubtedly, artificial grass can turn a monotonous, drawn-away garden into a greener and exciting one - it can save water too!

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  • Sports grounds - Grass used on sports grounds is known for shock absorption, vertical deformation, energy restitution and rotational resistance. Few artificial grass types available in the market possess these qualities which make them ideal fit for sports grounds or playing area.
  • Indoors - Yes, you heard it right! You can even use artificial turf to decorate your indoors. The green color will make a huge difference in your home décor and will make the ambience in your home more warm, relaxing and comfortable. Using artificial grass mat or carpet grass are not the only options. Here are few creative examples:

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Know the types of artificial synthetic grass

If you spend a good amount of time scouring and researching about artificial grass on internet, you will find a lot of contradictory information that is enough to make your head spin (though leaving you perplexed at the end). In this section you can know about different types of fake grass that you will find online as well as offline. We don’t want to leave any scope of information gap, so, we are providing an in depth categorization of artificial turf based on the pile length and usage. This will help you to determine what exactly a company is trying to sell to you and how far it is of your use.

On the basis of pile length

Based on the pile length, artificial turf can primarily be classified into three types: short pile or monotone, two tone and long pile or four tone. It would not be right to conclude that one turf is better than the other just because of its pile length, rather, different components like backing, makeup, durability, affordability and artificial grass cost make them ideally suited for different uses. Here is a brief explanation of these varieties that can help you decide the one that goes well with your purpose:

  • Short Pile or Monotone Turf: Being around 10-15 mm in length (on average), the short pile is the cheapest of the turfs and is commonly preferred option used with leisure activities. Short length and hardness of this turf makes it an ideal choice for cricket pitches and tennis courts. It can also be used during marquee events like outdoor functions or weddings as a temporary alternative. The short pile grass isn’t as durable as its two tone or four tone counterparts. Its pile length and bright green color makes it look more fake and unsuitable as a direct replacement of lawns. Despite of these drawbacks, monotone turf holds its own benefits. You can use this kind of turf if you have pets or want to cover the driveway area which is not covered by concrete. Short pile keeps it from being matted down, so, having your dog run on it and try to dig it up or parking your car over it won’t really affect the appearance.

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  • Two Tone (Mid-Range): Two-tone range of artificial turf looks more like real grass and feels softer under your feet as compared to the monotone turf. This range has more color variation as compared to the monotone one and looks more real from a distance. They have longer blades which are usually coated with silicone to give them a soft feel. You can go for them if you are considering some real looking grass for your backyard or other not-so-often visited areas.

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  • Long Pile or four tone: Long pile artificial grass is known for its high cosmetic appeal and therefore can be generally seen decorating the lawns of many properties. It is tested to withstand extreme weather, heavy foot traffic, and wear and tear and as such is incredibly durable. A strong adhesive holds the blades in place, making it less susceptible to being pulled off its foundation layer. Irrespective of the advantages, long pile grass also have its own drawbacks. It is more expensive than the other two and due to the length of the grass blades, removing garden debris from them becomes slightly difficult and time consuming. So, if you have a larger space to cover, consult the experts before selecting long pile artificial turf - as it may require high investment and maintenance. Most of the long pile turfs come in a four-tone variety for creating maximum color differences and imparting more real look even when up close. Long pile artificial turf cost might be the highest in the market.

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On the basis of usage

  • Landscape Turf: Landscape artificial turfs typically have the maximum amount of yarn per square yard and is combined with stitching of thatch layer. The thatch layer of this landscape is also known as “micro fiber layer” or “root layer” and makes it distinct from the other kinds of artificial turfs. The curly lower layer of yarn holds up the long blades of grass and at the same time minimizes or eliminates (in some cases) the need of infill. As an alternate of centipede grass, this grass is ideal for the front lawns and gardens which witness the maximum footfall.
  • Pet Grass: With unique characteristics, artificial grass for dogs and pets is extremely useful for outdoors of the homes where pets live in and play in a spree. It has microbial agents built into the yarn to kill the odor creating bacteria and reduce the odor of pets’ spillage. It also has unique backing style to maximize drainage so that it does not look, feel and smell wet for longer durations of time. Typically in this type of artificial turf, no infill is used. So, ensure that when you are trying to buy pet turf, you don’t get fooled by the suppliers who sell their standard turf as something special for the dogs.
  • Athletic Field Turf: Without any thatch layer and with 2 to 3 inches tall blades, sports grass provides extra safety for athletic use and is easy to identify. It can be infilled with silica sand, crumb rubber, or most commonly a mixture of silica sand and crumb rubber. This kind of turf is not suggested to be used in residential premises as owners can find small rubber pellets (of infill) all over the house or property. And without infill, this kind of turf looks dull and unattractive.
  • Putting Green Turf: Basically two types of turfs namely nylon turf and polypropylene or sand filled turf are used for artificial putting greens. Nylon indoor putting green turf is used mostly for indoor applications (though it can also be used outdoors). Its yarn is about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch high. It generally does not require infill and for the do it yourself customers, it is extremely easy to install. But, its disadvantages include inability to adjust the speed and shorter expected life span as compared to polypropylene putting greens. It is also well suited as backyard putting green. The second type of putting green turf is polypropylene turf which is filled with silica sand (approximately 1/8 or 1/4 level below the top of the blades). Then water roller is used to bend down the polypropylene blades so that the finished putting green mimics a bent grass green. It has a long expected life span and acts more like natural grass. Though the rolling in process involved in installing this type of turf is time taking - it may take days or weeks to set. But, this option is the perfect alternate of no-mow grass.
  • Playground Turf: It is a very close landscape turf laid over a specific padding (commonly rubber or foam padding). The thickness of padding and density of artificial grass provides fall height protection of up to 10 feet without using rubber infill in the turf.
  • Specialty Turf: Special turfs used for indoors, balconies, tennis courts, running tracks, Bocce Ball courts and even road medians - all fall into this category. The cost of these types of turfs may range from the lowest artificial grass prices to the highest ones.

Arbitrate the grades of artificial turfs and know the quality

  • First Quality: This is the top quality turf produced by the manufacturers and come with a warranty against fading and fiber degradation. This kind of turf is free from any defects and performs as per the specifications mentioned in the product information sheet. Blade height, backing thickness and face weight/density of this turf should exactly match with the sample that was shown to you at the time of purchase.
  • Overruns, Factory Seconds and Closeouts: Resellers often use words like "overruns", "discontinued lines", "closeouts", "excess inventory" or "remnants" to sell factory seconds to you without your knowledge. To ensure that while grass installation you are not being fooled by the reseller, you may ask for the warranty card. There is no harm in buying the factory second graded grass if you are planning to install it at a place where defect may not make a difference.
  • Used Artificial Grass: This is the most common answer to “cheap turfs” or “discounted artificial grass for sale”. It’s better to avoid used artificial grass as it is on the last few percentage of useful life. When one considers the cost of artificial lawn installation, removal of the infill, adding new infill back into the turf, and maintenance all result into a single conclusion, that is purchasing used turf can be more expensive as compared to buying a new one.

Still confused, how to compare types?

Installing fake grass can be a smart choice, but how to compare the different types of grass from various brands?

  • Firstly, look at the manufacturer’s brand image. Always go for the trusted ones and if it is from an unknown source, ask for some testing reports regarding durability and sustainability. Look for their fake grass reviews online.
  • Compare artificial lawn cost wisely. Make sure that you are comparing the products with same specifications and properties like fiber weight, quality of tuft backing, etc. Remember, you should compare apples to apples.
  • Check the type of yarn used in manufacturing the artificial grass. It will help you to decide the final pick on the basis of fabric softness and durability.
  • Ask for the necessary documents. If buying online, look for them on the company’s website
  • Don’t be tempted just by low price. It equals low quality grass with low fiber density. Invest in a quality product that would last and serve you for years.

Get hands-on knowledge about the infill material

If you are investing into artificial turf, you may come across various infill options available for it. Most of the artificial turfs need some or the other sort of infill which depends on turf thickness and turf installation location. Herein, we are not going thoroughly into technical details of synthetic turf installation, but are presenting gist of various infill materials that will help you to make the best use of your artificial grass:

  • Crumb Rubber: Derived from recycled scrap truck and car tires, crumb rubber is widely used infill in the synthetic sports field and landscape market. There are basically two types of crumb rubber fills, namely: Ambient and Cryogenic. But, as per researches, the crumb rubber infill may contain polyclinic aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals or carbon black which are harmful for health. So, conduct thorough research before choosing them!
  • Coated Rubber Infill: To reduce the harmful effects of crumb rubber, both cryogenic and ambient rubber can be coated with sealers, colorants or anti-microbial substances. It is a safer option and provides additional aesthetic appeal.
  • Organic Infill: The safest pick of all! Various organic compounds like ground fibers from the shell of the coconut or natural cork are used to produce this type of infill. Organic infill can be utilized in landscaping and professional sports turf application and at the end of its lifecycle it can be recycled directly into the environment.
  • Silica Infill: One of the most widely used infills, silica infill is chemically suitable, non-toxic and fracture resistant. It can be used in conjunction with other infill materials to provide a safe and realistic playing surface.
  • EPDM Infill: Highly resistant to temperature and pressure, the EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) is proven for its durability, elasticity and high performance.
  • TPE Infill: Thermo plastic elastomer (TPE) infill is free from heavy metals, very long lasting, non-toxic, available in a variety of colors that resist fading, and 100% reusable and recyclable.
  • Artificial moss Infill: For lawns at home, choose what’s called a moss infill. To create the desired effect, small threads of artificial moss are added into the base of the turf. This moss adds smooth and soft feel to the grass and it also helps to skin up the seams in the turf. If you have children who play outside or spend time in your yard, moss infill can be the right pick for making your grass appear and feel as natural as possible.

So, before making the purchase, make sure that you enquire about the preferred infill material too! This will of course display your command over the subject, and ensure that the artificial turf is used impeccably without any probable harm.

How to install artificial grass - DIY

If you are looking for artificial grass DIY and exploring the answers for, “How to lay fake grass on my own?” you are at the right place.

  • Laying artificial grass is an easy process. To begin with the process of DIY putting green, first mark the area in which you want to install the artificial turf
  • Remove all the dead grass and foliage with the help of a spade. Excavate to a depth suitable for your turf. Edge the selected area with timber, concrete or even brick
  • To lay a sturdy base and to level the area, lay down mix of fine dry sand and fine stones - this produces a natural appearance to the installation. Wet down the area to set the base in place
  • To avoid debris coming into the artificial grass, lay down a layer of weak membrane and cover the entire area. Before installing artificial turf, check the planarity of surface to ensure that there are no high or low spots
  • Roll out the artificial grass over the desired area and leave it for an hour to come down to the desired position
  • To join two adjacent pieces of artificial turf, cut down the seam line stitching. Fold back the edges and roll a joining tape (specially used in artificial grass installation) below them. Apply artificial turf adhesive on that for extra grip and join both the corners
  • Once all the grass is joined together, secure the joints by walking along the joined edges. Finish the corner edges too. Allow the turf to settle for about 2-24 hours so that it firmly sticks on the base. Don’t just throw away the artificial grass offcuts, as they might be used as attractive decorations inside the home
  • Apply the infill layer. This may include sand, rubber crumbs, etc. For residential properties (where most of the DIYs are carried out), sand infill is the best pick
  • Finally brush up the instant grass so that the infill can settle in. Thus, your question “How to lay artificial turf?” is answered and instant turf garden is ready to use

Conclusion

Now that you know almost everything about buying fake grass, you are ready to make the purchase as a more educated and savvy customer. Needless to say, you can now make an informed and educated purchase of artificial grass for your residential as well as commercial property. Should you have any queries or reviews, do leave a message in the contact us section.

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