By: Liz Baessler
What is artificial grass? It’s a great way to maintain a healthy looking lawn without watering. With a one-time installation, you avoid all the future costs and hassles of irrigation and weeding. Plus, you get the guarantee that your lawn will look good no matter what. Keep reading for more information on installing artificial grass.
Artificial Lawn Installation
The first thing you want is a clear, level area. Remove any existing grass or vegetation, as well as 3 to 4 inches (8-10 cm.) of topsoil. Pry out any rocks you may find and remove or cap any sprinkler heads in the area.
Apply a base layer of crushed stone for lasting stability. Compact and smooth your base layer with a vibrating plate or roller. Give the area a slight grade, sloping away from your house to improve drainage.
Next, spray a weed killer and roll out a fabric weed barrier. Now your area is ready for artificial lawn installation. Make sure the area is completely dry before your proceed.
Information for Installing Artificial Grass
Now it’s time for installing. Artificial grass is usually sold and delivered in rolls. Unroll your grass and leave it flat on the ground for at least two hours, or overnight. This acclimation process allows the turf to settle and prevents future creasing. It also makes it easier to bend and work with.
Once acclimated, position it in roughly the layout you want, leaving a few inches (8 cm.) of leeway on each side. You will notice a grain to the turf- make sure it’s flowing in the same direction on each piece. This will make the seams less noticeable. You should also point the grain so it’s flowing in the direction most often viewed, as this is the direction it looks best from.
Once you’re satisfied with placement, start securing the turf with nails or landscape staples. In places where two sheets of turf overlap, cut them so that they meet flush with each other. Then fold both sides back and lay down a strip of seaming material along the space where they meet. Apply a weather resistant adhesive to the material and fold the turf sections back over it. Secure both sides with nails or staples.
Cut the edges of the turf to the shape you want. To keep the turf in place, lay a decorative border around the outside or secure it with stakes every 12 inches (31 cm.). Finally, fill the turf to give it weight and keep the blades upright. Using a drop spreader, deposit the in-fill of your choice evenly over the area until no more than ½ to ¾ inch (6-19 mm.) of grass is visible. Spray the whole area with water to settle the in-fill.
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Read more about General Lawn Care
There are many reasons why it is necessary to shape artificial grass when laying it:
1. Existing stone work and other hard landscaping requires the artificial grass to be shaped to its contours.
2. The garden is designed very well and the only thing letting it down is the lawn.
3. Traditional gardens often suit curved lawns as opposed to modern gardens which tend to suit more angular lawn.
It has taken us years of practice to perfect curves in an artificial grass lawn. Here I will show you how we went about installing a curved lawn in Welling, London.
Project in Welling with a curved lawn
Without cutting and fitting the artificial grass precisely the curved landscaping would not flow and the garden would look awful.
To achieve the perfect curve in this garden we began by removing 4 inches of topsoil. We then put in our groundworks starting with a Weed Membrane to prevent weeds growing through the artificial grass.
To achieve the perfect curved edging we put in a 2 inch by 2 inch concrete fillet fixing around the perimiter of the intended lawn. This gives us a great surface to which we can attach the artificial grass. Finally 3 inches of Type 1 are added followed by an inch of granite dust.
We cut the grass to shape using sharp Ox Hook Blades before wrapping it over the fillet and nailing it securely in place. This gives us a clean edge tight up against the hard landscaping.
Which type of lawn is best?
There are a few common options for achieving a lush, green lawn. Sod can be rolled out for an immediate green look, seeding or hydroseeding are inexpensive options which allow you to choose the exact varieties of grass in your lawn, and artificial turf is a maintenance-free alternative that is especially appealing in desert areas.
“Sod is the most common option people choose,” says Daniel McClure of LKM Mowing and Landscaping in Normal, IL. “It has instant appeal, the initial maintenance to get it established is much easier, and it has a tight root system so few weeds grow into it,” he says. However, sod can be more susceptible to disease than a seeded lawn, and the initial installation costs more than seeding.
A hand-seeded lawn is an easy option for homeowners who want to do it themselves. The advantage to seeding is that you can tailor your seed choices to the soil type, sun, and amount of traffic the lawn will get. The disadvantage is that when you create ideal conditions for lawn seed to sprout, weed seeds will also come up.
Hydroseeding is a fast option for seeding large areas of lawn quickly and inexpensively. You’ll need to hire a professional or rent a hydroseeder for this process. McClure points out that one of the advantages to hydroseeding is that the papery mulch used keeps seeds warm, and therefore encourages better germination rates than hand-seeding.
Once installed, artificial turf needs no maintenance beyond keeping the surface free of leaves and other debris, so it’s a popular choice in places where there are water shortages. Artificial turf is especially great in tiny spaces that may prove difficult to irrigate or mow, and on putting greens where a consistent surface is of benefit. However, it does heat up in the sun, so may not be ideal for families with pets or small children.
How to Prepare Your Garden For Artificial Grass Installation
So, you’re thinking about having your artificial grass installed and if this is the case then you’ll need to get your grass prepped and ready. There’s a certain amount of pre-work involved, but it’s possible to get it done right as long as you know what you’re doing.
Firstly, you’ll need to remove the existing turf, and there is a wide range of tools available for this. It’ll consist of some fairly well-known tools such as a spade and turf cutter, all available from good DIY stores if you don’t have ones of your own. You’ll need to do some digging, and the soil will need to be dug to a depth of around 1 to 2.5 inches. The new artificial turf will need to sit about ½ an inch above the edging.
Suppress those weeds
You’ll need to provide some protection for your new turf. This is because there’s a fair chance that weeds and plants will grow through. If you don’t add some kind of protective layer, then weeds will come up through the artificial turf leaving it buckled and misshapen. You can use a sheet of membrane that suppresses weeds, and this is placed on the top of the ground and underneath your artificial grass. It’s easy to find in any DIY store just like the tools we mentioned above.
This is an important priority. Before the artificial turf is lain you need to apply a layer of something that can absorb fluids, it can be anything from crushed stone or grit to a layer of sand. This will give your soil a solid base and a well-drained surface beneath the grass. This will go over the membrane, and then after the membrane and sand, lay down a shock-absorbent material and this will give your artificial grass a lovely soft, springy cushioning.
Lay down your artificial grass and enjoy it.
Once you’ve done all this, your lawn is ready for the artificial grass to be laid. You’ll need to cut the new artificial turf to the right size and align it correctly, nail it in place each corner and then your new lawn is ready to enjoy for you and your family and friends.
Artificial Turf Scotland – Experts in Artificial Grass
You may find that although you have a fairly good idea of what needs to be done, you may not have the time. If you think you’d like to let someone else take care of it, then why not leave it in the capable hands of us here at Artificial Turf Scotland as we’ve had plenty of experience installing artificial grass in Scotland for many years and we have the expertise to get the job done well. Get in touch with the artificial grass experts today.
How to Install Artificial Turf on Soil or Grass?
First, prepare the actual surface of your yard or garden. Prepare the top layer of soil by removing the dirt and other debris using a shovel. Apply a light layer of fertilizer, if necessary, to ensure the new synthetic turf is growing correctly.
Artificial turf comes in many different colors and types. Find the ones that will work best for your needs and budget. The color and type of grass will be affected by the climate where you live, so a little research is in order. Most artificial lawns are tolerant of some soil types, so you may need to test the area to see which will work best.
After this preparation is complete, prepare your tools and your materials. Note which areas will require the most work and make a list of all materials needed to complete your project.
If more than one person is working on the project, they will need to divide the workpiece by piece. The materials required for each section should be listed, along with the size of each piece and its job requirements.
As per the specifications in your artificial turf contract, the stripes' width and depth will vary according to the type of grass you have chosen. Most synthetic turf grasses come in "smooth" and "rugged" styles the difference is in the turf's actual cut.
Disregard this if you are having your turf professionally installed. If not, you might want take another look at your tool shed to make sure you’ve got all the necessary equipment to install artificial grass.
Your preferred choice of artificial turf
This site features some very helpful posts that will not only explain which turf will best suit your personal needs, but also reviews of popular turf brands.
A spade or turf cutter
Laying turf is much like laying carpet and like such, a perfect fit is crucial. Artificial grass is sold in large square sheets and many people choose artificial grass to accommodate intricate landscape designs. A spade or turf cutter will help ensure a tight and precise fit.
While installing the foundation, you’ll be working with hefty amounts of sand, gravel, crushed stones, grit, and/ or dirt. A wheelbarrow will aid in carrying and distributing the material.
A weed-suppressing membrane is simply a layer of material you’ll lay right on top of the bottom layer of gravel (or whatever serves as your yard space). As its name describes, this membrane will prevent rogue weeds from sneaking into your yard and disfiguring your turf.
Sand or crushed stone
Sand and/or crushed stone is used for draining purposes- if you were wondering, this is why we didn’t suggest dirt. Stone and sand allow water to move freely while also serving as a firm medium to support the turf layer.
Flatboard with a level
In this case, you can also substitute a piece of wood. You will need this to smooth out the surface once you’ve assembled the layer of crushed stone and sand. The level is a bonus as it will enable you to form a more precisely even surface.
Shock Absorbent Layer
This is an optional material, but recommended if you want to create a realistic feel. A shock absorbent layer is a thin layer of fabric that creates a cushion right beneath the layer of turf. This makes stepping or sitting on the grass feel more like the real thing.
This is an optional step and depends on whether you’ll need to layer or add odd bits and pieces of turf, usually something you’d do when covering a large area. The adhesive is useful because it secures the turf and ensures that it doesn’t fold in, flip over, or buckle.
Silica Sand (Seed Spreader & Coarse Broom)
The silica sand is also an optional material and you only need a seed spreader if you’re using silica sand. The sand adds an extra layer of stability to artificial turf and on top of giving it a more realistic feel, it also prevents the grass from moving.
An additional tool that’s only used if your adding silica sand is a coarse broom- you’ll use it to mix the sand in and brush off the excess.
To lay on concrete or a patio base
Firstly, make sure that the surface to be covered is clean and smooth. A self-leveling compound may be required to remove surface imperfections that may show through to the top surface especially on thinner pile height products.
This can be purchased from DIY stores.
To provide a softer more absorbent feel, loose lay under the grass a 12mm exterior under felt available from our store. Ensure that any joints are neatly butted together.
Lay, join and trim the artificial grass as above