Artificial Grass Installation Guide
A great water and money saving investment for homeowners with yards of all sizes and applications. Easy to install and maintain, artificial grass can help home owners maximize their home investment, enhance quality of life and transform unused areas into functional living spaces. Whether you are planning on laying artificial turf on decking, concrete or an existing natural surface, our guide on how to install artificial grass will help you complete the process.
Measure your lawn.
Measure your yard with a 100-foot tape measure. Additionally, you can use an aerial map application like Google Maps to determine how much turf you will need.
Remove the existing lawn and top level of soil.
To remove the existing landscaping or ground cover you can use a sod cutter, skid steer, back hoe or other tractor, or even shovels. This can be a very time consuming and labor-intensive process if there is a lot of preexisting landscaping that needs to be removed.
Carefully plan drainage.
Installations built on top of well-draining soil should give you little to no problems, as the synthetic grass is usually permeable. If, however, you have no choice but to install on top of poorly draining soil or a hard surface such as concrete, it’s best you take the following precautions: in the absence of a drain near the lawn, install an efficient drainage system before you continue. There really is no way around it. If the area experiences very light rainfall, small drainage gaps at around every 6” around the perimeter should be enough to keep things moving.
Lay weed barrier.
Weed barrier is optional but this extra step eliminates the hassle of weeds poking through your synthetic turf. It won’t break the bank to include in your installation plan. This is that extra precaution in case your weed killer stops working just as you’re about to install your turf, sometimes even after the turf has been laid out. The weedbarrier does just what it says. It prevents weeds and grass from growing up through your fake grass. We know that one of the reasons our customers opt to use artificial turf lawn replacements is because it is supposed to be low-maintenance. The customer is not going to want to spend their time pulling out real weeds from their fake grass.
Add the base.
With a landscaping rake, smooth out the base material. You can make use of a string, bubble level, and ruler to grade flat surfaces to a 2–3% slope. This downslope will contribute to the efficiency of your drainage system. Depending on where you live geographically, the material you use for your subbase and the depth in which you need to dig could vary. Places like Arizona and Nevada actually have decomposed granite and crushed rock beneath it already. Regions that experience harsh winters like Minnesota or Wisconsin, need a trench of at least 6-8 inches to accommodate the extreme weather that makes the grass expand and contract. With artificial grass -it’s all about the subbase. But for an area with a mild climate, here’s what to do: Buy gravel, crushed rock, decomposed granite, or pretty much any material smaller than ⅜ inches. Pour around 3 – 4 inches of the base material to improve drainage and prevent the grass from slumping.
While shock and lawn pads are optional, if you’re installing your lawn over a hard surface such as concrete, a self-leveling compound or a quality rubber shock pad should work well as a drainage slope. Of course, if children or elderly people will frequent your synthetic lawn, you may want to add a shock pad to minimize injuries and as a solid precaution.
Roll out the lawn.
On the side of your prepared base, roll out the lawn as it dries. Unrolling the turf during this time, gives it a couple of hours to recover its shape after being tightly packed for shipping and transport. Check that the base material is dry, smooth, and firm before you proceed with the next step. If the base is not smooth, more compaction is required. Turf generally comes in 15’ rolls. The turf first must be cut and pieced to fit correctly with all seams and turf grass blade directions placed accordingly.If the base is lower than expected, you may need to add another layer of material. This is to guarantee that when you join the seams of the synthetic turf together, it isn’t an uneven mess. Any misstep in this step (no pun intended), will result in an overall wavy look to your yard or space.
Laying your seam.
Lay your seam fabric over the base layers, serving as the layer just right below your grass.
Stretch out the turf.
DO NOT drag the grass over the base or you might ruin the smooth surface. Using a carpet stretcher or a carpet kicker is an optional but otherwise helpful step. A carpet stretcher can stretch the strips of turf shortly before you fasten or seam them.
Stretching the turf using this tool eliminates wrinkles, reduces expansion brought about by heat, and helps secure the surface tighter to the ground. Synthetic turfs blades tend to bend towards a specific side. A good rule of thumb when deciding where your grass should be pointing is to use your eyes. No literally, they should be pointing towards your eyes when you’re looking at the space as a whole. For instance, grass you’re installing on your front yard, should point to the street, for grass installed in your backyard, the blades should be pointing to your house. That’s it’s ‘good side.
Trim the turf.
Trim at least by 2 – 3 stitch rows out. The edges of the grass patch are the weakest parts of the turf, so as to avoid the edges of your yard caving to either side, eliminate the problem. Cut it off! You can use a utility knife or a carpet cutter to cut the underside of the turf. For long cuts, cut short distances at a time and repeatedly compare the edges to make sure there are no visible gaps. You may also use a marker to draw a line guide onto the back of the turf.
Seam the turf.
Peel back about 2 feet of your loosely laid turf to reveal the seaming tape beneath it (remember? We put it on top of the base layers), and then apply your turf glue in a serpentine pattern and make sure that the glue is bulging up and not flat. Some installers lay seaming tape on the ground and then place the two turf strips on top of it. Others simply fasten the strips using staples or nails, with ideal positioning at approximately 1 every 3 inches. After you seam the grass, put some weight on it and let it dry for two hours before proceeding to the next step.
Secure the turf.
Stake down the turf along the perimeter every three feet or so. If desired, add edging, rock or another border. Use landscaping anchor pins or 4 – 6 inch galvanized stakes to fasten the turf in place, just around the perimeter at around 6 – 8 inch intervals, also along the seam. Although you need to hammer them flat, you should be extra careful and avoid excessive hammering as it can cause dips in your lawn. For a more secure fit, offset the stakes on opposite sides instead of using 2 lines of stakes opposite each other.
The last step in the artificial turf installation process is to spread the infill. Majority of artificial turf require specialty infill to keep the blades standing, to weigh the grass down, and to provide the cushioning for intensive use. Before applying the infill material, make sure that the lawn is completely dry. You can use a drop spreader or simply scatter the infill by hand. Rake in every layer until smooth. For the best results scatter 1.5 inches to grass with face weights of up to 60 oz. Anything more than that face weight should know you’re done when approximately half the blade length has been covered.