DIY How To

How to Lay Artificial Grass

There are many reasons one might choose to lay down artificial grass, as opposed to a traditional grass lawn. For some it is simply a matter of not wanting to do maintenance work and gardening/mowing on a weekly basis. Some choose it because of where they live and the fact that a real-grass lawn doesn't grow easily and looks like it has dead weeds. And for some it might be used in a setting where sports are being played which artificial turf is easier to run and play on than traditional grass lawns. Regardless of the reason you choose artificial turf it is important to ensure you properly lay it down and install it. These are some things to consider prior to beginning the installation process.

Installation Techniques

Choose the type –
There are several options to consider with artificial turf. Some are brighter, some have different shades of green others have different textures and lengths. Depending on where you plan on installing artificial turf you have to choose the proper style/type to ensure you install it properly.

Remove the existing turf –
If you have a traditional live lawn and garden you have to remove the sand, grass, pull weeds, remove dirt, rocks and debris. Once completely removed you will need to dig the soil out to approximately 5-10 cm in depth, as the turf will sit approximately 2-3 cm above any edging which is in place.

Prevent weeds from developing –
The last thing you want with artificial turf are weeds seeping up through the cracks. When installing the turf you should lay down a sheet of weed suppressing membrane on the lawn space and cut it with a utility knife to fit perfectly into place. This will prevent the turf from buckling or getting damaged. It also ensures the turf won't move once it is laid down atop the membrane.

Apply sand –
Applying a layer of sand above the weed membrane is the next step in the process. You should choose a thin, aggregated sand to lay down before installing the turf and should compact it to create a solid base. The more compact it is the better water and irrigation work will flow and the less likely it is the artificial turf is going to move or get damaged.

Smoothing the surface –
After sand is applied you want to properly measure the space and you will lay a 1-2 cm layer of sharp sand above the aggregate. You can use a board or piece of wood to smooth out the sharp sand as this will help keep the turf in place and create an even, leveled surface when you are ready to place the turf down.

Shock absorbent material –
You should also install a layer of shock absorbent material down before installing the turf; since turf is more rigid than grass it can move or get damaged if there is too much pressure on it. With the shock absorbent material this won't occur. You will use your utility knife to cut the material to fit the space where the grass will go. This is optional but will provide more cushioning and help in preserving the turf once you install it.

Sizing of space –
If working in a larger area when applying adhesive material to the turf you should consider applying a thin layer beneath joints. This can prevent buckling and movement when attaching the turf boards. In smaller spaces, this might not be required and you can simply apply one layer of adhesive.

Remove grass borders –
If the turf you purchased has a grass-free border you will remove it before installation. Not all brands have this border so make sure you are familiar with the turf you purchased as this step might not be required for all people installing the turf.

Aligning the grass –
Here is where precision and accuracy are critical. You want to work along the borders in installing the artificial turf squares. You should work slowly to ensure a proper fit. You also should push the turf into the edges/borders so it won't create any seeps or space which can eventually lead to buckling.

Cutting the turf –
Once you've finished laying the turf down you should wait 24-48 hours to allow it to dry and settle completely (some turfs will take more or less time, consider relying on the instructions provided by the manufacturer for best results). If you plan on cutting the turf into a particular shape, size, or design your utility knife is going to come in handy once again. At this point, the turf is installed you simply have to choose the desired shape/size, and work around it.

Silica sand –
You should consider applying a layer of silica sand above the turf after installation. A spreader will ensure even coverage; the sand will help prevent movement after you install the turf. You will then use a coarse brush to brush the silica sand throughout the grass and can use a rigid broom to help get it to penetrate the sand. Once complete, you can wash the turf with a water and soap solution to remove debris if there is any visible on the turf.

Depending on the brand of turf you purchase, the size of the area where you install it and whether there are specific styles (cutting, designs, shapes, etc.) these steps can vary from home to home when you are ready to install the new turf. Of course, it is worth speaking to a professional for guidance and you can always rely on the manufacturer instructions to help further guide you in the installation process. But, with most traditional turfs this is a simple guide which will help you not only properly install the new turf but also ensure it isn't going to move or get damaged after you have laid it down and applied adhesive materials into the edging, and below the turf squares you are installing. If you are interested in purchasing some artificial grass and would like someone else to fit it for you then I would recommend doing some research in to the cost of getting it fitted.

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