Synthetic turf is tough

by: Vern Uyetake, Rain or shine, Bonnie Freiston,left, and Donna Lindell can practice their putting strokes in the backyard of their Lake Oswego home. It’s now a good place for golfers and dogs.

For 10 years, Donna Lindell and Bonnie Freiston had been plagued by water drainage problems at their Lake Oswego home.

Not only was it the heavy rains that characteristically fall in this area during the winter months, it was the moisture coming off the surrounding hills and the large amount of underground water - so much that the area is called Hidden Springs, they said.

'Every summer we had to have our landscaping redone,' Freiston said. 'It was a constant effort to get rid of the water.'

It wasn't just that. Where there's water, there's mud, and the women's two dogs, Max and Bailey, would constantly come romping into the house with their muddy paws. And since they are cocker spaniels, that meant when it comes to muddy paws Max and Bailey rank at the top of the dog kingdom.

But happy days are here at last.

Last summer the women contracted with Chris and Lynn Holvey's Cascade Greens to install synthetic grass in their backyard, and now a swampy yard and muddy paws are things of the past.

'This is the first year we've been anxious for the rains to come so we can really test it,' Lindell said.

What stands out about their yard is that half of it has been turned into a putting green, which Freiston designed herself. Since both women are golfers, that is something to be prized just for itself.

But the best thing is that instead of soggy ground, the turf is firm. Drainage is excellent and it is easy to keep clean. There is even a rolling mechanical device that can change the speeds on the green by tightening up the turf or leaving it more grown out.

Other than using a plastic rake if the grass looks too flat or a hose if the lawn looks too dusty, there is no maintenance.

Best of all, the yard passed the dog test.

'They love it, that was the real test,' Freiston said. 'When I asked Chris and Lynn about it, they laughed and said, 'They won't know the difference.'

'When we're putting, the dogs wait for the balls to go into the holes. They think the putting green is their play area.'

And when the doggies do their business, Lindell said, 'We wisp it right up. It stands on top of the grass.'

Certainly, things have turned out about as well as could be hoped since Freiston started going lawn shopping last February.

'It took some research to find the right company,' Freiston said. 'There are 10 or 12 grasses out there, and some are terrible.'

But Chris and Lynn Holvey's product definitely measured up, according to Lindell and Freiston.

'It was a better product and it had a better warranty,' Freiston said. 'It was a lot more natural looking. It was the closest thing to natural grass we saw. There was more gravel and better drainage.'

The grass looked so real that I had to bend down and yank it,' Lindell said. 'That just about sold me right there.'

The Holveys have gotten used to such glowing reviews since they started Cascade Greens eight years ago in Albany.

'Chris had just gotten done with one business, and he was looking for another one to do,' Lynn said. 'Since he's a golfer, it made a lot of sense for him to go into a business where he designed putting greens.'

Front yards, back yards, putting greens - the Holveys pretty much do it all when it comes to artificial turf. Their business has doubled in size every year, they said.

'There are two things that make us better,' Holvey said. 'Our polyethylene grass is different from almost everything else, and our employees do the work. Either Chris or I work on every installation.

'We've tested it for kids, dogs, weedkiller and everything we can think of.'

Lindell and Freiston certainly appreciated such a hands-on approach.

'Lynn and Chris are such down-to-earth people,' Lindell said. 'They care about their customers.'

Now, Lindell and Freiston can look forward to the wet winter months without fear and loathing.

'There is life after rain,' Lindell said.

However, their new situation falls short of perfection.

'Now I can practice my putting all of the time,' Freiston said. 'But it doesn't make any difference. I'm not getting any better.'

But a balky golf game is something Freiston can live with. Especially when Max and Bailey come running back into the house on rainy days.

For more information about Cascade Greens, call 503-313-1229.