Skip to Content

Green Forever: A Detailed Guide On How To Install Artificial Grass

Installing artificial grass can be a game changer for homeowners who want to enjoy the beauty of a green lawn without the time-consuming maintenance and watering. This low-maintenance option is gaining popularity due to its durability and year-round appeal.

In this article, we will walk you through the steps to properly install artificial grass in your yard, ensuring a professional finish no matter your level of experience.

How to Install Artificial Grass

Choosing Artificial Grass

When selecting artificial grass for your lawn, there are several factors to consider. Quality and durability are essential attributes to look for, as they will determine the longevity and overall appearance of the turf. Good quality artificial grass will provide a realistic and low-maintenance alternative to natural grass, making it an excellent choice for homeowners.

It is crucial to select a type of artificial grass that suits your specific needs and preferences. For instance, if you have pets, consider choosing a turf designed for pet-friendly use. These options usually have features such as improved drainage and odor control to offer a clean and comfortable environment for your furry friends.

Another factor to contemplate is the appearance of the artificial grass. Look for products with natural color and texture that resemble real grass. High-quality turf will not only be aesthetically pleasing but also soft and comfortable underfoot.

As you compare different artificial grass options, consider the installation process and maintenance requirements. Some turfs are easier to install than others, and their maintenance needs will vary. A low-maintenance option may be more suitable for busy homeowners who want to enjoy the benefits of an attractive lawn without spending excessive time on upkeep.

Preparation of Area

Before starting artificial grass installation, it’s crucial to properly prepare the area. This involves the removal of existing lawn, debris, and obstacles, as well as preparing the soil and utilizing weed barriers and weed killers to prevent future maintenance issues.

First, you must remove any existing lawn or vegetation in the installation area. Use shovels or a rototiller to dig out and remove grass, dirt, and debris, ensuring a clean surface for the artificial grass to adhere to. Make sure to remove rocks, twigs, and other obstacles that could hinder the installation process or cause unevenness in the final result.

Once the area has been cleared, it’s essential to level and compact the soil to create a stable base for the artificial grass. If the soil is too loose or unlevel, it can cause dips and bumps in the artificial turf.

Installing the Base & Creating a Drainage System

Drainage system in artificial grass floor, top view

Once you’ve prepared the area, the next step in installing artificial grass is preparing the base. The base is typically composed of a sub-base material, such as crushed rock or gravel. These materials provide a stable and well-draining foundation for the artificial grass.

One common option is to use a layer of crushed rock or gravel, as it allows water to pass through easily. A 3/4″ crushed rock is highly recommended for most applications. Another option is to lay down a layer of sharp sand as a sub-base, which also provides a firm, even foundation to support the foot traffic on the artificial grass.

To begin, spread the sub-base material evenly across the prepared area, ensuring a consistent depth of at least 2 to 4 inches.

Once the sub-base material is in place, it’s time to compact it. A plate compactor is an ideal tool for this job, as it will evenly compact the material and create a firm and stable foundation for the artificial grass. Make sure to compact the sub-base material systematically, working in parallel lines to cover the entire area. This will help to achieve a consistent level of compaction across the installation site. If a plate compactor is not readily available, using a hand tamper can achieve similar results, although it may be more labor-intensive.

To ensure proper drainage, it is necessary to install a slight gradient to the base, usually a slope of 1% to 2% away from buildings or other structures. This ensures that water will flow away from the site and not pool underneath the artificial grass.

After compacting, it’s a good idea to moisten the sub-base material lightly and compact it once more. This step will further consolidate the base and reduce any potential for settling over time.

Next, install a weed-protective membrane over the base material. This layer not only prevents weeds from growing through the artificial grass but also helps with moisture drainage. Ensure that the membrane is properly laid and secured, as this safeguards the integrity of the drainage system.

After the membrane is in place, sprinkle a layer of crushed rock on top to further improve the drainage capabilities of the system. Smooth out the layers of soil, crushed rock, and weed-protective membrane to maintain a level surface for the artificial grass to be installed upon.

In some cases, it might be necessary to design a more elaborate drainage system, particularly in areas with heavy rainfall or where the natural soil does not allow for adequate water flow. This could involve installing a French drain or other subsurface drainage systems to handle excess water effectively.

Once you’ve successfully installed your base and drainage system, you’re ready to move on to the next step!

Installing Shock Pads

Shock pads are an essential part of artificial grass installation, providing a cushioned surface for a more comfortable and luxurious feel. When it comes to installing shock pads, there are a few steps to follow, ensuring a seamless process and an excellent result.

Begin unfolding the shock pads and aligning them on the ground. It’s essential to make sure that there are no gaps or overlaps between the pads, as this could compromise the appearance and performance of the artificial grass.

There are two methods for connecting the shock pads together: adhesive or physically interlocking. In the case of adhesive, carefully apply the appropriate adhesive to the edges of each shock pad. Take care not to use too much glue, as it can cause an uneven surface when the pads are pressed together. For physically interlocking shock pads, simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions on securing the pads together.

After installing the shock pads, it’s time to lay the artificial grass on top of the padding.

Laying the Artificial Grass

artificial rolled green grass; closeup

Now, it’s time to unroll the artificial turf and let it sit in the sun for half a day. This process allows the synthetic fibers to acclimate and makes them easier to manipulate during installation. After the turf has acclimated, roll it out onto the prepared base, ensuring proper alignment and placement.

Take precise measurements to cut the artificial grass to fit the desired area. Use a sharp utility knife or heavy-duty scissors to make smooth, clean cuts. When cutting the turf, be cautious not to trim the fibers, as this may damage the appearance and quality of the synthetic grass.

If you have multiple pieces of artificial turf to join, place them adjacent to each other with fibers facing the same direction. This positioning ensures consistency in appearance and creates a seamless look.

Seaming Artificial Grass

Joining tape is a vital component for seaming artificial grass. Start by placing the joining tape along the length of the seam, shiny side down, with the crease facing up. Make sure the tape is centered under the seam and there are no wrinkles or folds.

When using grass glue, properly prepare it by following the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s important to use the recommended amount and apply it evenly to the joining tape, covering the entire surface. A glue spreader or notched trowel is a helpful tool for this step.

Next, carefully fold the edges of the artificial grass onto the adhesive-covered joining tape. Be sure to apply pressure along the seam to form a strong bond. Ensure the grass fibers don’t get caught in the glue by lightly brushing them away from the seam as you work.

Allow the glue to set according to the manufacturer’s recommended drying time. This will ensure the bond is secure and the seam remains invisible. Once the glue is dry, use a stiff broom or brush to fluff the grass fibers along the seam, blending them together for a smooth, natural appearance.

By following these steps, you can confidently create a seamless and professional-looking artificial grass installation. Remember to use high-quality joining tape and grass glue, as well as proper preparation and technique, to achieve the best results.

Securing the Edges

Artificial grass in the garden

When installing artificial grass, it is crucial to secure the edges properly to ensure that the turf remains in place and maintains a neat appearance. To accomplish this, there are several methods and materials that can be employed.

First, you will need some tools, such as nails and a hammer, as well as edging materials like bender board or other edging solutions. Nails help to anchor the turf to the ground and prevent any lifting or movement, especially at the edges.

Begin by ensuring that the turf’s edges are cut cleanly and straight, keeping the artificial grass fibers away from the edge. This will prevent the fibers from being trapped or damaged when securing the border.

One option for edging is to use bender board, a flexible and durable material that easily curves to follow the shape of the turf. Install the bender board in a trench around the perimeter of the artificial grass by securing it with stakes. Once the bender board is in place, attach the edges of the turf to the board by using galvanized nails or artificial grass-specific nails. Space the nails every six inches for a secure fit.

Another effective method for securing the edges is using other types of edging, such as timber, composite plastic, sleepers, aluminum, steel, paving, brick, block stones, concrete gravel boards, or rubber edging. The choice of edging material depends on personal preferences and the desired aesthetics of the artificial grass installation.

Filling and Polishing

After your turf is secured, you’ll need to go about infilling it. Artificial grass infill is the material that is placed between the fibers/blade of grass.

During the infilling process, either sand or rubber granules are added to the artificial grass to act as a ballast. This ballast provides stability, helps to maintain the grass’s upright position, and enhances durability.

In most cases, sand is used as the primary infill material. However, for high-performance or specific sports applications, rubber granules may be added as well. The typical infill materials are:

  • Sand: A popular choice because it is readily available and affordable. It is usually applied at a rate of 1.5 to 2 pounds per square foot. Sand also offers excellent drainage and helps to reduce the chances of turf becoming compressed or matted over time.
  • Rubber: While slightly more expensive than sand, rubber infill provides additional cushioning and resilience. Different types and sizes of rubber granules are available, depending on the desired end use of the artificial turf.

After selecting the infill material, it should be spread evenly across the artificial grass using a drop spreader. The rate may vary depending on the specific product and application, but a general guideline is to distribute approximately half of the infill layer first, brush the grass fibers with a power broom or stiff broom to encourage the infill to settle evenly, and then apply the remaining half of the infill material.

Polishing the turf is the final step in the installation process. Use a power broom or stiff broom to brush the turf again, which helps to work the infill material deeper into the artificial grass fibers. This process also gives the artificial grass a more natural and well-groomed appearance.

Post-Installation Maintenance

After installing artificial grass, it is essential to maintain it properly to ensure its longevity and appearance. One of the primary benefits of artificial grass is that it requires less upkeep than natural grass. However, some maintenance tasks are still necessary to keep it in top condition.

Regular cleaning is crucial to maintaining the aesthetics of the artificial turf. Use a leaf blower or a rake to clear debris such as leaves, twigs, and other objects that might accumulate on the surface. Additionally, it is recommended to hose down the grass periodically to rinse away dust, pollen, and other small particles.

Artificial grass is well-suited for various climates, including areas that experience drought. Unlike natural grass, it does not require watering to maintain its vibrant green color and fullness. By not needing frequent watering, the turf not only conserves water but also saves time and effort for the homeowner.

The climate might affect the frequency of maintenance required for artificial turf. For instance, in regions with a higher amount of rainfall, homeowners might need to pay closer attention to drainage issues to avoid waterlogging and ensure the proper functioning of the turf’s drainage system. Addressing these concerns promptly will help maintain the turf’s structural integrity and prolong its lifespan.

Post-installation maintenance for artificial grass is necessary to keep it looking its best and preserve its durability. To achieve this, adhere to regular cleaning practices and be vigilant about addressing potential issues related to climate and environmental factors. By doing so, the artificial grass will remain a beautiful and functional addition to any landscape.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

When installing artificial grass, avoiding common mistakes is essential for achieving a professional-looking and long-lasting lawn. In this section, we will discuss the most prevalent mistakes made during the installation process.

One of the primary pre-installation mistakes is insufficient excavation. Laying artificial grass directly on top of soil or existing grass will not work; it will result in an uneven surface. Proper ground preparation is vital for a beautiful, long-lasting artificial lawn. The right excavation depth varies depending on the specific project, but aim for at least 2-3 inches, which allows room for the base materials.

A significant issue that arises from improper preparation is weed growth. To combat this, it is essential to lay down a weed membrane. The membrane is a crucial barrier that prevents weed growth in the area beneath the artificial grass. Not using a weed membrane can lead to persistent weed issues under the synthetic turf, negating one of the key benefits of artificial grass.

When preparing the base, using the correct fill material is vital. Decomposed granite or crushed stone is a popular option. These materials provide a stable and permeable base that promotes drainage and prevents uneven surfaces. Skipping this step or choosing the wrong material can lead to poor drainage and a less-than-desirable finished look.

Another mistake to avoid is not using a vibratory plate compactor to compact the base materials effectively. Proper compaction is necessary for creating a sturdy, well-drained foundation that holds up under regular foot traffic and keeps the surface level. A vibratory plate compactor is the best option for ensuring a stable and long-lasting base.

Lastly, when joining pieces of artificial grass together, it is essential to pay close attention to the direction of the pile. Aligning the pile in the same direction is critical for a seamless look. Without careful attention to this detail, the joined pieces may appear mismatched and unprofessional.

Proper planning, preparation, and attention to detail are crucial factors in the successful installation of artificial grass. By avoiding the mistakes discussed in this section, you can ensure a beautiful and long-lasting lawn that meets your expectations.

Time to Create the Lawn of Your Dreams

Installing artificial grass in your yard is a great way to level up your landscape. Additionally, having an artificial lawn cuts down on all those hours of yard work, giving you more time to sit back, relax and enjoy the outdoors!

We hope this guide was helpful in walking you through the process of how to install artificial grass, and we hope you love your new lawn!

Interested in other ways you can jazz up your yard space? Check out our backyard living content for more inspiration posts, how-to guides, and more!