body background

Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Buying Artificial Grass … lessons from an installer

Without an insider’s view, buying turf could cost you thousands more than it should. Or create years of headaches.

At SYNLawn, we not only follow the industry’s top standards, we innovate and lead the way for how turf should be produced, and installed.

Here’s a quick look at the 5 most common mistakes we’ve encountered during our 15+ years of installing turf.

1) Selecting turf based on price.

Do. Not. Make this mistake. Turf is not an item to find in the bargain basket. It’s a major investment in your property, and needs to last 15-25 years to be worthwhile and improve your home’s resale value, not detract.


Turf that seems cheaper up-front will cost you dearly down the road. There is a flood of imported cheap turf in the market, which may look identical on the surface but lacks substance in quality.

The result is a turf that fades, falls apart and/or flattens after light traffic. This often requires a total tear-out and re-install, or risk your home assessment value plummeting. In the end, buying cheap up-front is always more expensive. Not to mention the 15 year migraine you will experience.


2) Selecting based on look & feel, from a sample. 

Soft is nice and feels great under your feet – but isn’t always best for long-term durability and looks.

The best artificial grass for medium-high foot traffic is a hybrid of soft / stiff fibers. Additionally, a small 1×1 or even 2×2 sample does NOT give a true representation of how it will look installed over a large area. Turf always looks more plush and longer in a smaller sample; after installation turf appears shorter and more cropped.

Consider this when reviewing samples – if you prefer a longer more lush look, select a sample that appears a bit too long in a sample – knowing it will feel shorter after installed.

The reason is two-fold. 1) Most freshly cut grass is longer than most all artificial grass. Your eyes are used to a longer blade, so artificial grass will instantly feel shorter than you are accustomed. 2) After installed, there will likely be plants, flowers and taller landscaping surrounding the turf. This creates the illusion of a shorter turf height.



3) DIY Installation / using the wrong hardware.

Installation can make or break your turf experience. And DIY mostly = break. This is not a weekend warrior project, and MANY steps beyond interior carpet. There are endless youtube videos on “how-to install artificial grass” – some of which are accurate, many which are not – or incorrect for your region. For example, areas that experience freezing temperatures in the winter should NOT use nails, where this is perfectly acceptable in warm climates. Colder climates should use perimeter anchor boards, and wrap / staple the turf.

In areas with extreme sun or reflection from windows, this can melt turf, and there may be mitigating steps required to reduce window reflection such as window film. The direction of the turf blades and roll orientation are also important based on the perspective of the primary user.

There are many factors only a seasoned installer will consider.


The wrong blade orientation.

The wrong blade orientation.

4) The wrong sub-base depth & materials. 

Meghan Trainor was clearly talking about turf in her song “All about that bass.” Without a proper base, you will get wrinkles, and bad drainage. Bad news for a happy human life-span, let alone in the world of turf!

Turf requires precise excavation and forming of sub-base materials, producing a compact yet porous substrate for drainage. The wrong balance can result in turf shifting / wrinkling / pot holes and/or poor drainage creating standing water or sub-base wash-out. Yes, it’s as terrible as it sounds!

Even a mistake such as using the wrong crushed rock type, and the wrong depth for your region can cause major issues down the road.

In colder climates, we recommend using 1/4″ minus crushed rock, and building a 4-6″ deep sub-base, compacted medium-firm. This should be surrounded with perimeter boards and the turf should be wrapped & stapled to the boards, eliminating edges for a more attractive & safer environment.

5) Not using pet deodorant, and the wrong infill type or amount.

Making this mistake, stinks.

If you have pets, or ever expect to have a random friend’s dog or stray cat in your yard – you NEED a proper pet deodorant infill, such as Zeofill. The proper amount depends on the turf selected, as the tightness and fiber density affects how much infill a turf will accept. Typically this ranges from 1.25 lbs – 3 lbs per square foot.

For non-pet areas, using an infill such as Envirofill is a good decision. We recommend avoiding using pure silica sand, which can harden over time, and does not have anti-microbial properties like Envirofill. Additionally, Envirofill is coated with a colored (available in green) acrylic resin which blends into the green turf better than sand, creating a better looking finished product.


Bonus Mistake #6) Accepting all turf warranties as equal. 

Most synthetic turf warranties are pro-rated on day 1 after purchase. This means if a turf has a warranty of 10 years, and you file a claim in year 9, the most you could possibly recover is 10% of the turf value. Look for warranties with a slow proration period, such as SYNLawn’s 15 year warranty with the first 8 years non pro-rated (on most products).


We hope this guide helps you avoid costly mistakes, and makes your life easier during your turf purchasing experience and the life-span of your artificial grass.

Certified SYNLawn installers are available regionally throughout the US. Contact us anytime for a free estimate and more free tips!


This article was produced by:
SYNLawn of Nebraska / Iowa – regional installers throughout Omaha, Lincoln, Des Moines and beyond
14706 Giles Rd.
Omaha, NE 68138


This entry was posted in Customer Spotlight, SYNLawn Artificial Grass, Transfer and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Trond
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Excellent write up and really informational for those that are on the fence about whether or not to have artificial grass installed at their home. You really touched on some great points that many people probably overlook– like selecting based on look and feel from a sample. Fantastic point. I always try to take my prospective customers out to a complete job that I’ve done previously with the grass that they like so that they can be sure it’s what they have in mind. I also buy them lunch along the way. I find this small investment of time and the price of lunch is well worth it when I end up converting them into new customers as a result, and they feel at peace with their decision before the work has even begun. Love the post, well done.

    Trond from Scottsdale Turf Pros

  2. Grass Life
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I was thinking about installing it myself but I have decided to go with a professional after seeing the third picture of a DIY project haha!

  3. Jessica_melbourne
    Posted March 7, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Also if you need to hire an synthetic turf installer, you should look at their online reputations and talk to a few past clients of them to make sure you hire the right person for the job.

  4. Callum Palmer
    Posted March 27, 2018 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    I agree, one of the biggest problems with trying to install artificial grass on your own is that you might not have the right equipment. This can be a huge problem because you run the risk of making your lawn look exceptionally bad. That is why it is important to hire a professional and experienced contractor to lay down your turf or other artificial grasses.

  5. Moira Blythe
    Posted March 29, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    My husband and I are thinking of installing turf. I had no idea that there were so many ways to install it incorrectly. The fact that so much goes on preparing the ground underneath the turf itself sounds so complicated, I don’t know why people try to do this themselves!

  6. Jim Walton
    Posted April 9, 2018 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the piece of the information. It will help people to think before going to install an artificial grass.

  7. Posted June 6, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Great Info here! we will definitely be showing this to our clients if they ask any of the questions you have covered. thanks!

  8. Turf Queensland
    Posted September 24, 2018 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    When I installed a new turf, I lay it over the old turf which I realized later that was a big mistake. Then I clear the old one and install new turf in Brisbane with proper care, including spiking and fertilising. this gives the best results. Thanks for sharing.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>