Synthetic grass/turf around my vegetable garden

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by Mark, Nov 20, 2015.

  1. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Over in this thread we discussed the use of Pour on Rubber to go around the pathways of my vegetable garden in order to suppress weeds but due to the costs and other unknowns I'm now considering synthetic grass to do the job.

    As a rough guess, I'd estimate about 30 - 40 lineal metres of synthetic turf would cover most of my pathways around my vegetable patch but buying locally is starting to look quite expensive with Bunnings for example selling between $29 - $60 per metre which is over $1000 at the cheapest!

    The $29 stuff is 10 mil thick and that's probably all I need for this purpose; however, online here on eBay OzPlaza is selling a similar synthetic grass for under $7 with free postage making the cost for 40 metres less than $280 and this seems very reasonable to me!

    There are others I'm looking at - namely ones with a 15 mil pile that I'm thinking might be better than the 10 mil here's the search results on eBay AU.

    There are some warnings about being aware of poor quality synthetic turf and I guess this is always an issue when buying online because you can't actually see or feel the product but I reckon at these online prices the local hardware store is just a rip-off and I'm buying mine online.

    If anyone has any experience in buying or using synthetic turf feel free to offer any recommendations or advice.

    I'll update this post when I make my decision on what to buy.
     
  2. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I've purchased some synthetic turf already - took the plunge and got 40 metres square in 2 x 20 x 2 metre lengths of 15 mil pile.

    The cost was $328.50 works out to be just over $16 per linear metre and I got mine off eBay from PYZH Shop here.
    The reason I purchased the grass from this seller was their reputation mainly and explanation of the product item.

    I decided to go with the slightly thicker 15 mil over the much cheaper 10 mil pile because I think it might be a better quality choice - we'll have to see how it goes...

    Keeping in mind the 10 mil pile at Bunnings sells for $29 per metre so if this stuff is better, which I'm hoping it is of course, I'll be very happy on the cost saving alone.

    Edit (28th Jan 2017) I've been using this synthetic grass now for over 12 months and it's already showing signs of wear and degrading. It doesn't seem to handle direct sun or weathering at all very well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2017
  3. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I think you are excluding a great resource Mark.
    Being the weeds themselves!
    A sharp heavy hoe will easily cut them off for use in the compost pile or compost tea as weed tea.
    Because of the nature of the weeds, they bring to the surface minerals, etc that are otherwise not available.
     
  4. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I'm not against weeds in my garden beds only the ones coming up in my pebble pathways - it's too hard to control them all.
     
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  5. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    Do you have to spread sand over the grass? I've heard that you need sand to hold it down or something?
     
  6. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Yes that's correct you use a fine sand and brush it into the pile. I probably won't go overboard with the sand but I will add some and peg it down.
     
  7. Kasalia

    Kasalia http://retired2006.blogspot.com.au/ Premium Member

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    How is the grass going, I got a quote last year for the nature strip to be replaced, but the council wouldn't allow it to be done. Luckily for christmas we got a years mowing as a gift. That is all the grass we have other than roughly 2 sqm in front of the tool shed, which I am thinking of synthetic grass.It is stopping normal grass growing through that is the problem, it has to have a proper base, and the weeds still grow between our pavers.
     
  8. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I haven't put the synthetic grass down yet because I'm working on getting rid of my rock border around my vegetable garden and reverting the outer paths back to normal grass. This is a BIG job especially in heat! Today, I spent 8 hours preparing the old gravel paths and topping them with soil so I can lay the turf, which is being delivered tomorrow morning.

    The gravel/pebble paths around our raised garden beds did a terrific job at transferring it from a muddy patch in the wet season to a well drained pathway; however, keeping up with the weeding has worn me down and was an unexpected consequence of getting rid of the grass.

    Hence, the grass returns but this time it'll be on top of a sand, gravel, and soil base so we shouldn't have the sloshy problems around the vegetable gardens like we used to - hopefully - that's the plan anyway :)

    The synthetic grass will be laid in those places where I can't get my ride-on mower so I'll get to that once I have sorted the real grass out.

    Incidentally, the large rocks that were around our patch have been used out the front yard to make two new garden beds. I'll post some pics soon...
     
  9. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    My goodness Mark you sure chose the wrong days to do such hard work!
    I decided it was too hard to do any sort of work yesterday & took myself off to the movies to see Star Wars in 3D for my 60th birthday. Nice sitting in the aircon & interesting seeing movies in 3D for the first time. Hard to believe it is 40yrs since I went & saw the first Star Wars for my birthday.
     
  10. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Yeah Clissa it has been a tough few days plus I got stung several times on my right arm by paper wasps yesterday - they made a nest under a shelf on our mini shade house and attacked me when I went to move it. Usually a few stings just hurt but this time my arm swelled and lymph gland under my arm pit was so sore I could hardly use my arm! I took an antihistamine plus some pain killers and was able to keep going in the garden but I had a terrible sleep...

    Today I fought on on the heat and managed to get the turf laid - I had to drink a heap of water! From 8am till 7pm I worked laying that grass... and I'm stuffed :)

    Rest day tomorrow and I'll catch up with some online work on the website.
     
  11. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    So if you have followed this thread I was supposed to be laying synthetic grass around my vegetable garden but instead decided to go real grass and get rid of the border completely :rolleyes:

    Whilst the "no border" is not as dramatic to the eye framing the garden like rocks did, we just felt the border also acted as a deterrent or barrier for people to wander through the garden.

    The main reasons for real grass instead of synthetic is I think it will be cooler and easier to maintain for a start. Also, after lots of thought, I felt the synthetic grass might eventually become another weed haven just like the gravel or begin to look ragged. I still have plans to use the synthetic turf I purchased internally (where I can't mow on my ride-on) and also as a raised bed cover for resting garden beds.

    The turf is Nullarbor couch so it's pretty hardy and should withstand traffic. I threw down 4 cubes of garden soil over the top of the drainage gravel so this should fix the original issue of becoming boggy and unpleasant in wet weather - this was the whole reason we moved to gravel instead of grass and laying ag-pipe just wasn't practical in case people were wondering...

    The whole area is now raised about 4-6 inches so drainage should be a "no issue" anymore and the grass is starting to take so I'm pretty happy overall. Yes, it did cost a lot to turf with extra soil etc and 103 metres of grass cost about $700 but we don't mind investing in our vegetable garden because it pays for itself in food and healthy benefits.

    I thought about grass seed as a cheaper alternative, however, I knew what would happen... The summer rain storms would wash all my soil and seed down the hill so to save the heartache I got turf delivered :)

    The image shows an old shot of the patch with the rock border and then below the newly laid grass with border removed. It's still not even close to finished yet but I've been working hard to get it ready for the growing season over the cooler months coming.

    old and new vegetable garden replacing rock border with turf.jpg
     
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  12. Kasalia

    Kasalia http://retired2006.blogspot.com.au/ Premium Member

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    Certainly much easier to mow now, wise decision, and synthetic grass wouldn't have worked. I presume you can whippersnip all the edges to stop grass growing into the beds, from what I can see that would be your only problem.
    Landscapers use synthetic grass on a spec home where there is a neat boxed in garden around the edges. Saw a lot of it in Sydney at Kellyville where my son showed us several houses they were looking at to building their own. Very nice and neat for the smaller back and front yards of today.

    I think you have in the long run saved yourself a lot of time, by just being able to mow it.
     
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  13. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Thanks for the confirmation Kasalia, I agree, mowing and whipper snipping around the edges is much easier than bent over pulling weeds out of the gravel paths several hours a week! I was literally running out of time to do proper fun gardening, I'm not exaggerating, seriously, weeding was becoming ridiculous.

    Also, it's a small thing but we can now go to the garden barefoot whereas before the rocks were uncomfortable to walk on without shoes - it's amazing how many times one of us races down to the patch to quickly grab something for lunch or dinner and often this is without footwear.
     
  14. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    Looks good. Where are the rocks now... around the dam?

    I thought you did things like that... border rocks and fences because it was a habit from being in the army :D
     
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  15. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    There's probably a lot of truth in that... :)

    The rocks have been moved to the front yard to make two large garden beds along our front fence line. I still have to fill with soil and mulch but we've been meaning to make these garden beds for ages and it's good the rocks could be recycled. We have a rock border theme for garden beds throughout our place so it suits perfectly.

    I do have about 20 mid-sized rocks left over and as you say I might move them down to the dam and use them to divert or slow the water as it runs down the hill in that gully.
     
  16. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member

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    Awesome result Mark and I also agree it should be easier to maintain now. Perhaps higher garden beds might make it less likely that the grass would enter the beds themselves so the only work you'd have to put in is whip snip the grass encroaching on the sleepers.
     
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  17. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Thanks Ash, the lower maintenance will be a huge bonus with more time to do the fun stuff like planting, harvesting, and working the beds not weeding the paths :)
     
  18. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Here's an update on how it's looking now. I've nearly finished laying the rubber paving around the internal raised beds and the grass over the old gravel border is do well!

    vegetable garden no rock border plus rubber pavers.jpg
     
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  19. Steve

    Steve Valued Member Premium Member

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    Low maintenance is key with having a decent size backyard I believe.
    We've made a few decisions around our house currently being built to move away from maintenance hungry areas to save some precious time for gardening. For example, we've really wanted timber decking but decided it's just one more thing to maintain. It looks great but we've moved to practicality with tiles.

    Looks good Mark. Top job.
     
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  20. Kasalia

    Kasalia http://retired2006.blogspot.com.au/ Premium Member

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    Rubber paving what a great idea.
     

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