Putting Greens

With a backyard putting green, you'll be able to work on your golf skills without driving to the course.
With a backyard putting green, you'll be able to work on your golf skills without driving to the course.
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The Backyard Brigade helped turn an old horse corral into a golf-lover's dream. The homeowner's owned and tended to horses for as long as they could remember but wanted to focus on improving their putting game ... while also adding a little color and privacy to their expansive back yard.

Start by using spray paint to outline the areas for the putting green and the dry riverbed. This is the easy part — the toughest will be digging up all the hard soil for the riverbed, green and sand traps. They begin by leveling and prepping the area for the green, digging a gully for the dry riverbed, and cutting the stump of the pepper tree. Then complete the layout and pour the cement for the putting green. Get the sand in place for the sand traps. The remaining tasks are finishing the sand traps, completing the putting green, adding the groundcover, and of course, cleaning up.


Install the Putting Green

First, clear the intended area of debris and stones and then till the hard soil. [Tip: When tilling, always spray water to keep the dust levels down.] Then, rake and level the putting green area to prepare for the cement. To install the putting green, frame the green with flexible bender boards nailed to stakes — this works best for curved structures. Where needed, add a second frame after the top boards are level and in place. Next, lay out the rebar in a square pattern — this will reinforce the structure and prevent cracking. Then, pour the concrete and level with a straight edge. Finally, smooth out the surface with a bull float. The concrete will dry in about a day. Use decomposed granite around the putting green to create a gentle grade up to the cement. On the concrete, drill five holes: first, drill a pilot hole; then using a slow speed on the power drill and water to avoid overheating, drill the main cup holes. For turf layout, begin by simply laying it out in place, then gluing it to the cement pad and rolling out any apparent bubbles (using a heavy roller). Then, use a carpet knife to cut off the excess turf at the green boundaries and to cut holes for each cup. Tack the surrounding fringe to the ground with nails. Trim the turf, using adhesive tape on the edges and making sure to check the seams for the correct grain line-up. Finally, spread a thin layer of sand mixed with rubberized granule over the turf.

Sand Traps

After the holes for the sand traps are dug, carefully dump the clean, filtered sand in. The sand traps should be accompanied with stone retaining walls to hold back the sand and dirt. Stagger the rocks around the sand pits, trying to avoid major gaps where rain or wind might allow dirt to push through. Back-fill other gaps with dirt, and also use dirt to level out uneven stones.

Plant the Dry Riverbed

To begin, the gully for the riverbed must be completely dug out. Next, start the process of hauling the rocks for the riverbed. Remember, place big rocks on the bottom and small rocks on the top. Then, fill the dry riverbed with shredded bark, and use shovels to layer and smooth.

Plant Ficus Trees and Lay Down Ground Cover

Ficus is excellent for coverage, which will be dually beneficial — saving Christine and Danny's neighbors from wayward golf balls and giving the homeowners some added privacy! Begin by digging holes along the outside of the yard, or the fence, and measuring the holes to make sure they're accurately sized. Then, plant the ficus trees. Use shredded bark as ground cover, and shovel the bark throughout the barren areas of the yard, especially around the sand traps.