With all the hubbubs that pop up when you decide to install artificial grass, it's tempting to hire the first contractor who gives you a good deal. In reality, finding a contractor who will help you spend money wisely and bring your vision of a dream yard to life, can be stressful. You may want to know how to protect your investment from common mistakes many homeowners do during the selection process.
General Synthetic Lawn Mistakes
1. Not Having a Clear Vision
Before your research artificial grass installation companies, have a detailed plan for what you want your outdoor space to look like when it's done. Once you start, changing your mind can be costly. Detailing out your vision will also give an installation company a clear idea of what types of turf are the best for you, and how to scope the work. The more you know up front, the more accurate your estimate will be.
2. Calculating Your Square Footage Incorrectly
It's a great idea to measure your lawn before heading out for a quote. It will give you a general idea of the overall cost of the project so that you can realistically stay within your budget.
The cost of artificial grass installation depends on the square footage of your yard. It includes the costs of materials, like the amount of infill, sub-base materials, and the grass itself. Synthetic turf comes in rolls and must be laid out precisely as the manufacturer suggests to make the final field look consistently seamless. You don't want surprises when the contractor steps on your property and take measurements that are different than you projected initially.
Measure your lawn carefully. If your lawn is not a perfect square or rectangle, it's easier to make a mistake in calculations. In most cases, it much more accurate when you take measurements using the software. Global Syn-Turf has developed an "Instant Lawn Size Checker" available any time and free of charge. It considers geographical data, including slopes and uneven surfaces to get the size of your property down to a "T."
Calculating artificial grass requirement is much more complicated than simply adding up the square footage of your yard. There are other things to take into consideration - such as the width of the rolls, and the direction of the turf pile, for starters - simply multiplying your measurements will not give you an accurate outcome. The professional artificial grass installer will know how to account for these factors and can give you an estimate based on your specifics. Keep in mind, that the salesperson's quote is only as good as your information; if you have wrong measurements or let out the essential details such as uneven surfaces, slopes, and garden specific requirements, the true cost of the project is impossible to determine without professional in-home consultation.
3. Rushing the Design Process
It's hard to hit brakes when you are excited about the upcoming project, but if you rush it in, you may regret it later. Artificial grass installation can take a day or two, depending on the size of your space, and when it's finished, you can't change the design plan unless you start over. The design process takes time, and that entails taking precise measurements and considering the overall functionality of your yard. Avoid plunging in right away and make sure everything is right the first time around.
4. Picking the First Contractor That Gives You a Quote, or the Cheapest Option.
Installing artificial grass is a specialty. Companies that work in the lawn-garden related industries are not all trained to install synthetic lawns. It takes dedication and on-hand experience to make sure of the proper drainage, weeds and pests protection, proper seaming techniques, etc.
Most likely, you decide to overview the ongoing installation personally, so it's important to pick a contractor who has the project management as well as customer service skills that will help you through the change so you can enjoy your project in the future.
It's a best practice to get at least three quotes from similar companies to get an apples-to-apples price comparison. Take a note of the following during your selection process:
- Does the company consider details?
- Do they have an extensive understanding of your yard?
- Are they asking the right questions related to your project?
- Can they explain the schedule, materials, and turf products to install in your renovation?
- Can they communicate well the differences in specifications and prices in artificial grass products?
- When will they deliver the complete estimate, proposal, and scope of work?
5. Setting an Unrealistic Budget
Lowballing the budget can lead to working with lower quality materials that do not meet the essential requirements in your region.
6. Skimping on Proper Sub-Base installation
This is just the worst mistake you could make when installing synthetic turf. It's hard to justify extra money spent on something you can't even see. You would likely prefer to save money and use it to buy things you can look at. But most of the time, it's what you cannot see that matters the most. For example, consider the mattress, or your truck tires. Neither have an aesthetic value, but both are vital for your health and comfort. The same goes for artificial grass sub-base.
Sub-base saves wear and tear on your grass by absorbing the impact of foot traffic, so the turf doesn't have to. It provides proper drainage, so you don't have water puddles after rain. Not only will a better subbase feel more comfortable to walk on; it will also help your lawn look better for a longer period than unprofessionally installed base would.
We cannot stress it enough; your synthetic lawn is only as good as your subbase. If you are dealing with a tight budget, we highly recommend spending a bit less on the turf and a bit more on the subbase installation. A shorter pile-height turf will look, feel, and perform better with a high-grade subbase.
7. Skipping on Drainage Considerations
Artificial grass drains quicker than natural, but it does not only depend on the permeability of the product itself, but also on getting the grade of a lawn and sub-base materials right.
8. Assuming Artificial Grass is the Same Because It Looks the Same
This warning especially true if you are getting quotes from different turf companies on different turf. Be sure you compare apples to apples. Artificial grass may look the same on a screen and even in real, but it does not necessarily mean they will look and perform the same.
So how can you compare different turf? Be sure it's made of the same type of fiber; they have the same thatch and the same blade shape. Always buy all your turf at once from one company. Turf is made in batches, and the colors may differ from one batch to another. Also, closely compare the manufacturer's warranties. If one company offers a 10-year warranty, and the other has a 15-year warranty, you are certainly not looking at the same quality of the turf.
9. Having Your Synthetic Lawn Unprofessionally Installed
If you have a basic, flat concrete or wooden, square or rectangular shape surface, such as a patio or balcony, there is nothing complicated involved. You may be able to install turf yourself or get your handy friend do it for you. Beyond that, you are likely better off having that artificial grass professionally installed. There is a reason why synthetic turf installers are called professionals. It's because they install turf every day, and have all the special tools and experience required to do it properly.
Yes, artificial grass installation can be expensive, especially if you need to install putting greens. But a poorly installed synthetic lawn will not only look bad; it will also fail to perform the way it should, and thus will require replacement sooner than it would have otherwise. Consider also that most warranties stipulate that the turf must be professionally installed to withstand claims. So, spend the extra bit of money up front to have it done properly, and save yourself a headache.
10. Choosing the Wrong Artificial Grass and Infill for Your Lifestyle.
It is essential to carefully consider your lifestyle when deciding on artificial grass and infill options. Your lifestyle and the conditions of your household should greatly influence your judgment.
For example, a large family with pets will have many different requirements than someone living alone. They will require a lawn that can withstand higher amounts of traffic and has better drainage. For dog owners, choosing ZeoLite organic infill that controls odors is the better option than silica sand, for example.
Those living in sunnier climates will be more concerned with heat-resistance and infills that prevent the turf from over-heating, while those in damper climates will want to pay more attention to the subbase and the drainage system.
Unfortunately, the artificial grass we need may not always be the grass we want. You can be easily swept up in images, featuring glamorous lawns with pristine turf. However, before you run out and get a quote for this luxuriously looking turf, consider if it will actually work with your lifestyle.
The Bottom Line
Getting the right synthetic turf installation quote is not easy. Browsing photos and ideas is a fun part of creating your dream yard. But making your vision a reality also takes planning and organization. It's easy to fall into tricky and costly mistakes, so before you start, make sure you have a clear vision of your project and have all measurements done correctly. Don't rush the design process and research your local contractors carefully. Get educated on the topic, and don't let installation companies run you into decisions you don't really want. It's up to you to determine what type of installation and turf you need to fit your lifestyle.