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Dr Ian Plummer

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Lawn Care
Synthetic Croquet Lawns

Colin Pickering writes

I think synthetic croquet surfaces have a place particularly where maintenance costs (and water) may be a problem. By far the most important part of the project will be the base preparation and you should not cut costs in this area. You must have a level (obviously), well drained base. Avoid concrete, tarmac, dolomite and similar solid bases these are uncomfortable to play on resulting in sore legs and if you experience temperatures of 28°C or more the base will absorb the heat and radiate it back for several days afterwards.

We had two such courts in Adelaide in the mid-80's laid on dolomite which were a disaster and became unplayable very quickly mainly through lack of expertise available at that time. Adelaide University where I worked for many years at the Sports Association, built an excellent synthetic hockey ground with a base which was a mixture of ash and clinker from a smelting works together with sand and soil the proportions of which were known only to the builder! He also used the same formula for synthetic bowls lawns. A 15 to1 sand/cement slurry was spread over the top to provide a hard enough crust on which to stick down (and pin) the carpet prior to filling it with sand.

Ideally you would want a carpet with at least a weight (?) of 7500 denier and a tuft length of 1½". Fill with sand leaving ½" of tufts above the sand. If this is too slow you can always speed up the surface by adding more sand. If you make it too fast to start with you will have big problems removing sand from the carpet. You will not have a maintenance free surface. It will need regular brushing to keep the tufts up also you will get wear in the hoops which will necessitate replacement of those areas which is very easy to do by simply cutting out the worn patch with a stanley knife and sticking a new piece in (preferably of the same size). You may experience problems getting the hoops to stay in the ground this was another problem with the Adelaide courts probably due to the base that was used. You may need to do a bit of experimenting to see what works. It may be as simple as putting a hollow cement brick (besser block) filled with soil under the carpet where you want the hoops. Any way I hope this gives you something to think about. Good luck with your project.

Cheers Colin Pickering

Author: Colin Pickering
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Updated 28.i.16
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