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Guide to Installing Artificial Backyard Turf: Step-by-Step Instructions for a Perfect Lawn

Transforming your backyard into a lush oasis of green can significantly enhance your outdoor living space, making it the perfect environment for entertaining, playing with your kids, or simply relaxing with a book.

Installing artificial turf offers a low-maintenance solution for those seeking to improve the aesthetic and functionality of their backyards.

This guide aims to provide essential information and easy-to-follow steps for a seamless backyard turf installation experience. Keep reading to learn more!

This beautiful backyard woodland garden features a maintenance free lawn made of natural looking artificial grass, a huge landscaping trend for small spaces.

Comparing Natural vs. Artificial Turf

Natural vs. Artificial Turf

Natural turf consists of real grass, grown from seeds or purchased as sod, that requires ongoing maintenance such as watering, mowing, and fertilizing. On the other hand, artificial turf, also known as synthetic turf or artificial grass, is made from engineered synthetic materials that mimic the look and feel of natural grass.

While artificial turf doesn’t require the same level of maintenance, it requires periodic cleaning and proper installation to ensure longevity.

Quality and Types of Backyard Turf

There are several types and quality levels of both natural and artificial turf. For natural turf, common grasses used include Kentucky Bluegrass, St. Augustine Grass, Bermuda Grass, and Zoysia Grass. Each grass type has its unique characteristics and maintenance requirements.

For artificial turf, the quality is determined by factors such as the material used, pile height, density, and the number of fibers per square inch. Higher-quality artificial grass will more closely resemble natural grass in appearance and feel. There are different types of artificial turf available to suit various purposes, such as residential lawns, play areas, and sports fields.

Benefits of Backyard Turf

Natural turf offers several benefits:

  • Soft and comfortable underfoot, providing a pleasant walking, playing, and lounging surface
  • Acts as a natural cooling agent by releasing moisture into the air
  • Absorbs noise pollution
  • Enhances the aesthetic appeal of outdoor spaces

Artificial turf also has its advantages:

  • Low maintenance, as it does not require mowing, watering, or fertilizing
  • Resistant to damage and wear, making it an ideal choice for areas with heavy foot traffic
  • Suitable for use in places where natural grass may struggle to grow, such as shaded areas or those with poor soil quality
  • Conserves water, contributing to eco-friendly practices

When considering backyard turf, it’s critical to understand the differences between natural and artificial options. While natural turf offers the authentic look and feel of grass, it requires ongoing care and maintenance, such as watering, mowing, and fertilizing.

On the other hand, artificial turf is manufactured from synthetic materials and involves a higher upfront cost, but it may prove to be a more durable and low-maintenance choice in the long run.

Artificial Turf Site Preparation

Best Artificial Grass

Assessing the Area

Begin by carefully inspecting the chosen space for your backyard turf. Assess the overall size and shape of the lawn in order to determine the amount of turf required and any obstacles that may be present. Take note of any rocks, debris, or uneven ground that may need attention before turf installation can proceed.

Removing Existing Grass

To properly install new turf, you must remove any old grass and weeds from the area. Using a sod cutter or shovel, eliminate all existing vegetation. This ensures that the area is free from any intrusive plant roots that could inhibit the growth of the new turf.

After removal, dispose of the old grass, rocks, and debris to provide a clean and suitable base for the turf.

Leveling and Grading

The next step in site preparation is leveling and grading the area. This stage is crucial for the establishment of a healthy, well-draining lawn.

Create a slight slope away from buildings and structures to facilitate proper drainage. Ideally, aim for a 1-2% grade to prevent standing water on the turf and possible water damage to nearby structures.

Use a rake or other landscaping tools to even out the soil, eliminating any bumps and low spots, and remember to press down firmly on the ground to ensure a level surface.

Adding Base Material

Once the area is level and graded to satisfaction, it is time to add a suitable base material. This base layer can consist of a weed barrier, crushed rock, or decomposed granite, depending on your specific needs and preferences.

The base material should be spread evenly across the area and provide a stable foundation for the turf to be unrolled. Additionally, a weed barrier can help prevent the growth of unwanted plants beneath the new turf.

By completing these crucial site preparation steps, you have created an optimal foundation for your backyard turf installation.

How to Install Artificial Grass

Installing Artificial Turf, Step by Step

1. Measuring and Cutting the Turf

Before beginning the installation process, it’s crucial to measure your backyard accurately. Determine the square footage of the area where you want to install the turf. Once you have precise measurements, order the artificial turf rolls accordingly.

Upon delivery, use a sharp utility knife to cut the turf into strips as per your backyard’s design. Always ensure a little extra material on the sides for final adjustments and seamless fitting.

2. Positioning and Securing Turf

When positioning the artificial turf, make sure to lay it down carefully, ensuring there are no wrinkles or folds. To secure the turf in place, use landscaping staples or nails along the edges and seams. It’s essential to space these evenly for consistent tension and prevent any movement.

It might be helpful to use a shovel or another tool to tamp down the areas around the nails, so the turf lies flat.

3. Filling Seams

Once the turf pieces are secured, you’ll need to fill the seams for a smooth and natural appearance. Start by positioning the edges of each turf piece to overlap slightly. Then, using a utility knife, cut through both layers simultaneously, removing only the necessary material to create a tight seam.

Firmly secure the joint with seam tape and glue, ensuring that fibers don’t get trapped in the adhesive.

4. Applying Infill

The final step in the turf installation process is applying infill. The purpose of infill is to help hold the turf blades upright and provide a cushioned surface. It also helps to maintain the attractive, natural look of the turf.

Choosing the right type of infill depends on your specific needs and preferences.

Common infill options include sand, rubber, or a combination of both. To apply the infill, use a drop spreader to ensure even distribution.

After spreading the infill, use a broom or a power brush to work it into the turf fibers until it settles at the base. This creates a more pleasant and stable surface for use.

Post-Installation Care of Artificial Backyard Tuf

Artificial grass in the garden

Maintenance Tips

After installing your backyard turf, it’s essential to take some basic maintenance steps to keep it in top condition. Despite being low-maintenance compared to natural grass, artificial turf still requires some care.

Gently raking or brushing the turf will help maintain the upright position of the blades and also remove any debris. Avoid using a metal rake as it can damage the synthetic material.

Fertilizers and mowing are not necessary for artificial turf, making it an ideal low-maintenance solution for your backyard. However, monitoring and treating weeds that grow around the edges or seams of your turf is essential to maintain its appearance and functionality.


While artificial turf does not require watering for growth like natural grass, it is essential to provide occasional irrigation to help clean and maintain its appearance. Rainwater can naturally clean the turf surface, but during long periods without rain, use a hose or a sprinkler system to rinse the surface to remove dust and pollen.

Additionally, proper drainage should be installed with your turf to prevent water pooling and potential damage.

Cleaning and Odor Control

Cleaning the turf regularly is crucial for both appearance and odor control. A mixture of water and mild detergent can help clean the entire surface of your turf.

For more localized stains, such as pet accidents or spills, spot clean with the detergent and use a soft-bristle brush to remove the stain. Rinse the area with water to prevent residue buildup.

If you have pets, it’s vital to address and control odors on your artificial turf. To remove odors, apply an enzyme-based cleaner specifically designed for pet waste. These cleaners break down the compounds that cause the smell and can help maintain a fresh and clean backyard environment.

Additional Considerations

This beautiful backyard woodland garden features a maintenance free lawn made of natural looking artificial grass, a huge landscaping trend for small spaces.

Coping with Weather Conditions

When installing backyard turf, it is important to consider the impact of weather conditions on your artificial grass. In summer, high temperatures can cause turf to heat up, which may require additional measures, such as installing a sprinkler system to keep it cool. During drought conditions, artificial grass is a practical alternative as it does not require watering like real grass.

Homeowners in areas with heavy winter snowfall or frequent rain should ensure proper drainage is in place to prevent water buildup or flooding. Regularly clearing leaves and debris from the turf will maintain its appearance and functionality.

Understanding Turf Warranty

Before installing artificial grass, homeowners should thoroughly review the warranty provided by the turf manufacturer. Warranties typically cover factors such as wear and tear, colorfastness, and manufacturing defects.

It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s installation and maintenance guidelines to uphold the warranty. Reading the fine print can help homeowners understand exclusions and limitations, ensuring they are protected in case of any issues with their turf.

Cost Analysis

The cost of installing backyard turf can vary depending on the size of the space and the type of artificial grass selected. Pricing for turf typically ranges from 36 cents to 96 cents per square foot, depending on the specific grass type.

In addition to the cost of turf materials, there might be additional expenses such as professional installation, delivery, and landscape drainage improvements.

Ultimately, homeowners need to weigh the initial investment against the long-term benefits of artificial grass, such as low maintenance, durability, and resistance to extreme weather conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I prepare my yard for installing turf?

To prepare your yard for artificial turf, you’ll first need to remove any existing grass or vegetation, ensuring the surface is leveled.

Excavate the area to a depth of around 3 to 4 inches, then add a base layer of gravel or crushed stone, compacting it well to create a stable surface.

Finally, install a weed barrier before proceeding with the turf installation.

Is it difficult to install artificial turf by yourself?

Installing turf by yourself can be a challenging yet rewarding DIY project. With proper planning, the right tools, and attention to detail, you can achieve professional-looking results.

However, it may be time-consuming, and mistakes made during the process can affect the turf’s appearance and longevity. If unsure about your abilities, it is always best to consult professionals.

What is the cost of turf installation?

Turf installation cost can vary depending on factors such as the type of turf, the size of the area, and your location. In general, the cost can range from $5 to $20 per square foot, including materials and labor.

It is important to get multiple quotes from local contractors to get an accurate estimate for your specific project.

How do I install artificial turf on concrete?

To install turf on concrete, follow these steps:

  1. Clean the concrete surface to remove any dirt, debris, or grease.
  2. Repair any cracks or broken areas in the concrete.
  3. Apply a suitable adhesive to the back of the turf, following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  4. Lay the turf on the concrete surface, ensuring proper alignment and tight seams.
  5. Use a heavy roller to press down the turf, making sure it adheres fully to the concrete.
  6. Trim any excess turf, and secure all edges with adhesive or other recommended methods.

Wrapping Up Artificial Backyard Turf Installation

Following the right techniques, preparing the ground, and using the appropriate tools will ensure a successful backyard turf installation. By paying attention to the unique characteristics of your backyard space and climate, you can tailor the process to achieve the best results and enjoy a beautiful and functional backyard haven.

For more blog posts about creating your best outdoor space to spend time in, check out our Backyard Living page.