Sunday, July 26, 2015

Backyard Putting Green!

All the menfolk in my house share a deep and abiding obsession with golf.  Like, as an infant, the Kiddo would happily flip through my husband's golf magazines for long, quiet stretches.  The Mr. has an official handicap.  My dad has probably read every word Mr. Pelz has ever published. It's pretty serious around here.  

So when my big mouth, once again, just couldn't contain a big crazy idea, needless to say they were all on board.  

Backyard Putting Green.  Yeassssss.

We started with a jungle of patchy grass, where the shady soil never fully dries out.

 Then, using a flat (square headed) shovel, we took just the very top layer off.  Because our soil has thick clay so close to the surface, the plant roots are all shallow, and get taken off in this step.

 After a lot of sweat, we were left with some fairly level dirt.

 But it's always good to double check.  Plus, we wanted to make sure we still had a good drainage slope, away from the house.

Then, we packed down our soil base.

Next, we put down the first base layer for the green.

 Evenly distribute it with a flat metal rake.

Then, we rented a plate compactor from our local Home Depot, to save our arms and make sure the compaction was a little better than the hand tamper we'd been using.

 We made a bunch of passes over the whole area.  The compactor is really good at going in straight lines, but difficult to turn.

 We had some wet spots, which left us with some muddy patches.

 Then, we repeated the dump-distribute-compactor with the next layer - sand.

Nice and smooth.

Then, it rained for so long, I thought our next project would need to be an ark.  So we tarped over all our hard work and waited for sunnier skies.

While it rained and rained and rained, we did a little indoor work cutting the PVC for the holes.

 Hand cutting is not recommended.

Compound miter saws make these cuts much easier.

We set some caps in to make a clean base for the cups.

 And drilled some drainage holes in the bottoms.

 Then, we dug out the holes for the cups, being careful not to disturb the nice smooth surface surrounding it.

I left just a little bit of room around the PVC.

 And made sure the top of the cup was relatively even with the ground.

Then, we set them in concrete, post-hole style.  Adding dry concrete mix in the gap...

 Then wetting the mix.  It sets up nice and strong.

Then, we had to turn our attention to the fancy artificial turf we special ordered.  This is a lot nicer (and pricier) than the stuff on the back wall with the carpet at the home supply store, so we really wanted to make sure we measured 5 times, cut once.

 We had to move every piece of furniture in our biggest room to roll this baby out to cut it.

 And even then, we used some taped-together cheapy shower curtains to make sure we'd measured everything correctly before we cut the turf.

As with all carpets, this one was way easier to cut from the back.  A white crayon came in very handy in marking our cut lines.

 Sharp utility knife blades are MUCH easier to cut with.  Just a little FYI for you.

 Then we took our turf outside for the initial fitting.

Once we were happy with the placement, it was time to break out the glue.  And read the directions carefully.

 We laid down some of the plastic scraps to keep our to-be-glued surfaces clean while we fitted them. Then, ran 4 beads of glue down the seam tape, like our instructions told us.

Once the seams were nice and tight, we hammered in some seam pins to keep it from wiggling while the glue set long enough to be rolled.  We kept these in for about a day to give the glue plenty of time to cure, then removed them.

 There's probably a better roller for this job, but sometimes you go with what you've got on hand to finish the job.

After the seams were rolled, I made the final edge cuts with a utility knife.

 And hammered in the edging landscape pins every few inches.  These will stay in as long as the green does.

We put some of the seam pins in to mark the hole locations.  And played the worst game of horseshoes ever.

Then, cut an X over the hole, and trimmed the excess away.

 I ran superglue around the top of the PVC and pressed the edge of the turf to the cup.

Finally, we had to decide how to edge the green.  With the gray stone of the patio, we found the closest shade of small rock at Lowes.

 And ran it around the edges.


 Now, all we need are some pin flags, and we're all set!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

If it ever stops raining...

We're in the middle of installing an artificial turf putting green over the bits of our backyard that are otherwise icky mud puddles.  As soon as these summer storms stop, I'll have an actual exciting update for you here.  Stay tuned, friends, I haven't abandoned you!