Artificial grass looks like a perennially green solution for a lush, low-maintenance lawn, but the prospect of installing it may trigger concerns about cost. It beckons the question: what is the most economical way to transform your outdoor space into a vibrant, artificial oasis without breaking the bank? Read on and I will share the secrets to achieving a vibrant artificial lawn on a budget. These tips are based on years of experience and practical insights, offering you a comprehensive guide on how to lay the grass without emptying your wallet. Let’s dive in! Also Read – Budgeting for Artificial Grass: Cost Considerations And Budgeting Tips For Irish Homeowners
Factors that Impact the Cost of Artificial Turf Installation
The grass itself accounts for a significant portion of the total project cost. There are a few key specifications to understand when selecting materials:
- Pile Height: This refers to the blade length of the grass fibers. Longer fibers are generally softer but cost more. A pile height between 1.5-2 inches provides a good balance of comfort and affordability.
- Face Weight: This measures the density of the fibers and ranges from 30 oz. to over 100 oz. per square yard. Heavier face weights feel more lush but cost more. Opting for a face weight in the lower end of the range (30-50 oz.) can save money.
- Backing: Woven polypropylene backing offers good drainage and stability at a lower cost compared to latex or urethane backing options.
Tools and Site Preparation to Lay Synthetic Grass
Basic hand tools like a spade, rake, and utility knife can tackle most fake grass installations. Renting or borrowing equipment like a plate compactor, vibrating plate and push broom helps prepare the site without purchasing specialty tools. Clearing existing vegetation yourself also reduces preparation costs significantly.
Do-It-Yourself vs. Hiring Professional Grass Installers
While DIY installation takes more time and effort, you can save approximately $2-$5 per square foot by putting in the grass yourself versus hiring a landscaping crew. This can equate to thousands in savings for a typical residential lawn.
Quality vs. Cost
Higher-end, premium new artificial grass with advanced performance features and long warranties can cost $8 per square foot or more. Opting for a mid-range product with a decent warranty (8-10 years) provides a good balance of quality and affordability.
Buying Artificial Turf Remnants
Purchasing leftover grass remnants or rolls being discontinued at steep discounts can yield huge material savings. Availability varies, but remnant inventory is worth monitoring.
Material Cost Comparison
As you can see, selecting a basic polypropylene grass in the 40-50 oz. face weight range yields significant savings over higher pile weights and more advanced backing systems. Discounted remnants provide even more dramatic savings, with costs as low as $0.79 per square foot.
Your DIY Installation Guide
Installing artificial grass yourself isn’t overly complicated, but proper planning and preparation are crucial to getting great results. Here are some key steps:
- Measure the area and sketch a layout indicating the turf roll widths to efficiently cover the space with minimal seams.
- Account for edging/borders and seam location in your planning.
- Remove existing grass, plants, rocks, sticks/debris.
- Till and rake soil to a depth of at least 6 inches.
- Compact and level the soil using a plate compactor, roller, or simply walking on it.
- Apply weed barrier or weed membrane fabric if desired.
- Unroll turf and trim with a turf cutter as needed to fit the space per your layout. Allow extra for edges.
- Fasten edges using 6” galvanized spikes, burying edges in trenches, or adhesive.
- Seam turf rolls together as needed, gluing or taping below the backing.
- Spread and brush the fibers to remove creases and give a natural look.
- Infuse and brush in infill material if desired. Silica sand, sharp sand or crumb rubber spreads best.
- Trim excess turf around perimeter and edges for a clean, seamless look.
- Conceal edges with pavers, gravel, or a border.
- Inspect for bumps or irregularities and correct as needed.
Cost Saving Tips and Tricks
Here are some extra ways to keep your DIY artificial grass project budget-friendly:
- Buy remnant grass on clearance whenever possible.
- Rent tools like a plate compactor to avoid purchasing.
- Buy tools second hand instead of new when buying is needed.
- Use hand tools like spades and utility knives for most tasks.
- Reuse and repurpose materials like pavers or edging from other parts of your yard.
- Plan your layout efficiently to minimize seams, extra cuts, and wasted material.
- Install on a slope or hillside? Plan the turf direction to use widths efficiently and avoid extra seaming.
Also Read – The Role of Artificial Grass in Urban Gardening: How Artificial Turf Is Revolutionizing Small Urban Spaces In Ireland
- DIY removal of old sod, plants, and debris can save thousands compared to hiring help. It just takes some extra elbow grease!
Artificial Turf on a Budget – Final Takeaways
Installing synthetic turf doesn’t have to drain your wallet if you follow a few simple principles:
- Stick to basic polypropylene grass in standard pile heights and face weights.
- Take advantage of remnant deals and clearance pricing when available.
- Rent/borrow tools when possible and reuse existing materials from your yard.
- Do as much of the base preparation and installation yourself as you can handle.
- Measure precisely, plan your layout wisely, and install carefully to avoid waste and issues.
While a DIY approach takes more effort, you can save 50% or more off the cost of getting artificial grass professionally installed. And you’ll gain the satisfaction of completing your beautiful new lawn with your own two hands. The cheapest way to enjoy a lush, low maintenance synthetic lawn is rolling up those sleeves and tackling