Think About the Dog….

….do you really want them to have a yard that is muddy and messy?  Can it get any worse than having a wet, muddy dog after they have been out in your yard?

This is yet another reason to choose artificial turf as a part of your landscape plan.  Go for it: get the fake stuff to:

  • Reduce mud in your yard.
  • Always have a green stuff of the dog to play and “go” on.
  • Help with drainage.

See your artificial turf professional for help in choosing the right turf for your pets and yard.

The Grass Queen

Six Things to Know Before Hiring a Contractor

We’ve discussed this in this space before, but it is worth the reminder. As you do your planning for home and office improvements for the coming year, be sure you know enough about your contractor before you hire them.

Here’s a list that will help you choose and make the decision:

  1. Get multiple estimates. It will help you understand what the job should cost.
  2. Read consumer reviews. Hearing what others have to say about your candidate can help sway your decision.
  3. Call Licensing boards.  Be sure they have adequate liability coverage.
  4. Get several references.  Talking directly with their clients helps you understand how the contractor works.
  5. Negotiate a maximum hourly rate.  Helps contain costs.
  6. Always demand a lien release.  Protect yourself.

We’ll go over each of these steps in detail in future posts.  In the meantime, read the article from which this was borrowed in the January/February issue of AARP The Magazine (

The Grass Queen

Artificial Turf by the Pool

Now, really, I know winter is approaching.  But as you begin to plan your household budget for 2011, do you have some bucks set aside for those areas around your backyard swimming pool?

Seriously, you can save yourself a lot of trouble and spruce up that are just beyond the pool deck.  If your deck ends and the lawn begins, is that area muddy? Does the family dog swim as well and does he or she drag their wet body across the lawn and create mud?

Here’s the short answer: replace that lawn area with fake grass.  It will do these things for you:

  • Keep an area green that probably turns to mud when water from the pool splashes there or gets dragged there.
  • Reduce the amount of mud dragged either into the pool or into your home.
  • Eliminate having to replace the lawn year after year because of this overabundance of water.

Pool owners are you out there?

The Grass Queen

How Artificial Turf is Like Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving upon us, we couldn’t help but compare fake grass with the Thanksgiving holiday.

Both are always there:

  • Once installed, artificial turf is there all the time.
  • Thanksgiving comes every November.

They both have multiple names:

  • Artificial turf, fake grass, Astroturf
  • Turkey Day, Thanksgiving, Day of Thanks, Football Thursday

They both have components:

  • Backing, drainage layers, blades
  • Turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, parades, football, family.

Both serve an important purpose in your life:

  • Artificial turf saves you time, money, energy, water and the environment.
  • Thanksgiving brings you together with family and friends to appreciate the good things in life.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

The Grass Queen

MLB and Artificial Turf

With the Major League Baseball Playoffs in full swing, the subject of artificial turf comes up.

Except not in Minnesota, but in Tampa Bay.  With domed stadiums being fewer in MLB, the use of fake grass is down.  However, The Trop (Tropicana Field) as it is known still utilizes the artificial stuff.

Must work–the team is in the playoffs again this year.  And still in it for now.

Consider the Twins gave up their dome and fake grass and were eliminated by the Yankees.

Hey, Minnesota: care to go back?

The Grass Queen

Getting an Estimate for your Artificial Turf Installation

As you go out and price and select a dealer and installer for your new artificial turf project, make sure you get an accurate and complete estimate.

It’s the first clue your installer knows what they are doing.

Look for these elements in a complete estimate:

  • A schedule. When do things start? How long will it take to install?
  • Pricing. How much per square foot? What are you getting for the price? Do they break out labor from materials?
  • Guarantees and Warranties. What’s covered and what isn’t? Who does repairs? Will they cost you?
  • Expectations. Are you required to do anything–move things, haul away items?

This is just a starting place, but make sure you get things in writing and a commitment.

One more thing: before you start, can they give you a “ballpark” estimate for the project or cost per square foot?  This shows they can think on their feet.

The Grass Queen

Creating the Backyard Environment with Artificial Turf

Whether you call it artificial turf or fake grass, it is a great accent or even a focal point for your backyard.

This is space where you relax and recharge. Why not rely on artificial turf to ease you mind when it comes to maintenance as well as aesthetics.

The look, care and combination with other materials (stone, rock, wood materials) give the space its feeling.

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An Ideal Dog Run

When Linne and George Fitzgerald wanted to get a dog, they knew they needed a special place for him adjacent to the house.

The side yard was a mess, but was an ideal place to turn into a dog run. Their first call was to a synthetic grass provider.

“The space had been a muddy catch-all of junk,” Linne Fitzgerald said. “With the help of Tim from Synthetic Grass Pros we were able to reclaim 300 square feet of my home.”

Now Parker, their Chocolate Lab, has a clean space to call his own.

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Poolside: Fake Grass

And you thought the only places you could install artificial turf was on the sports filed or under your dog.

Well, think again.

Putting turf near and around your swimming pool does a lot of good things:

  • Helps drainage.
  • Eliminates mud
  • Is decorative

Here’s an example. Try it.

The Grass Queen

Sand and Infill

Of all of the elements of the artificial grass install, few are as important or as misunderstood as the application of infill.

The infill is the final “part” to be attached to the installation. In most instances it is silica sand poured onto and sifted into the blades of the turf.

The silica sand used is more “pure” than run-of-the-mill sand purchased at the hardware store for your kid’s sandbox or of the type used in the production of concrete. Silica sand granules are close to being perfectly round and easier (more likely) to be sifted to the bottom of the blades and onto the base of the turf.

The application of sand does two things:

  • It holds the turf in position.
  • Makes the individual blades of grass stand upright.

By weighing down the turf, this allows the glue to take hold and supplements the holding power of the stakes driven into the turf.  The whole package keeps the turf from shifting and allows it to feel firm as the real grass it replaces.

Raking in the sand makes it sink to the bottom of the installation.  Hundreds of pounds of sand are used on each installation.

Making the blades of grass stand up not only makes the close-up appearance look real, it also makes the “step-back” look of the turf look real.  You have to see it to appreciate it.

The Grass Queen