Base for artificial grass

If you live in a low-water area, or if you’re just tired of constant lawn maintenance, you’re in good company.

More homeowners are saving time, water — and their backs — by switching from real grass to artificial turf.

Synthetic grass for landscaping and recreation is growing 10% to 15% a year in the U.S.

That means more and more homeowners are using fakes for:

  • Lawns
  • Dog runs
  • Play areas
  • Pool surrounds
  • Rooftops
  • Putting greens
  • Decorative borders between patio pavers

Contents

Faking It is Right for You If:

  • You’re tired of watering, weeding, fertilizing, and cutting real grass.
  • Your summer water bills are too high.
  • You don’t want to use chemical fertilizers and herbicides.
  • You believe artificial grass looks as good as real grass — maybe better.

What Exactly is Artificial Grass?

Fake grass consists of filaments threaded into a backing that lets water through. The backing is laid on a drainage layer, usually compacted gravel, and fastened along the perimeter. Then it’s filled with recycled crumb rubber or sand to keep it from blowing away in a stiff breeze.

Synthetic grass is growing in popularity in the United States by 10% to 15% per year. Image: SYNLawn of Central California

Today’s synthetic grass is made of nylon, polyethylene, or polypropylene that’s colored to look like various species.

Synlawn, one of the largest manufacturers of synthetic grass, offers: SYNBermuda, SYNFescue, SYNZoysia — you get the idea. Some grasses even have a thatch layer that makes a yard look less Stepford-like and more realistic.

Let’s Talk Money

Artificial grass comes with a big upfront cost — $5 to $20 per square foot, installed. Once it’s down, it’s free for the next 15 to 25 years.

Professionally laid sod, on the other hand, costs only 14 to 60 cents per square foot. But that’s where expenditures (and upkeep) begin. You’ve got to water, mow, fertilize — all of which cost money and take time.

Let’s crunch some numbers on a hypothetical 500-square-foot yard.

First year costs:

Artificial Grass
Installation ($12.50/sq. ft. average) $6,250
Natural Sod
Installation (37 center/sq. ft. average $185

Annual costs:

Artificial Grass
Watering n/a
Fertilizing n/a
Gardener/Lawn Man n/a
Annual Total: $0

So, it would take about seven years for maintenance-free artificial grass to recoup its initial cost. If you’re planning on staying put for longer than that, you’ll begin to save money each year.

What are the Good Points of Artificial Grass?

  • It saves water.
  • It’s easy to maintain.
  • Synthetic grass can be environmentally friendly.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority says a home owner saves 55 gallons of water per year for every square foot of natural grass replaced with synthetic. Plus, some water companies in drought-prone areas will offer a cash rebate for artificial grass, up to $1 per square foot.

You’ve got to blow off leaves and other debris, and hose off pet waste. But there’s no mowing, seeding, edging, and fertilizing — lawn maintenance chores that take the average home owner about 150 hours per year, says Ted Steinberg, author of “American Green: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Lawn.”

The Synthetic Turf Council says synthetic lawns’ recycled crumb rubber infill keeps 20 million rubber tires out of landfills every year.

What are the Drawbacks?

  • It’s not completely maintenance-free.
  • It can’t absorb and break down pet urine.
  • It heats up in direct sun.
  • It can’t be recycled.
  • Some HOAs and municipalities ban fake grass.

Weeds can still grow in the dust or rotted leaves that can accumulate; so, you’ll have to spend time blowing or raking.

If you don’t hose off pet runs regularly, they’ll stink.

It radiates heat to surrounding people, pets, trees, and buildings. Shade trees, which prevent real grass from growing, will prevent fake grass from getting too hot.

Although the industry is working on ways to recycle old synthetic grass, currently fakes end up in landfills.

Alternatives to Fake Grass

  • Low-Maintenance Turf Grasses
  • Natural Lawn Replacement Ideas

Or, if you want to green up your lawn in a hurry, try lawn paint.

It seems like the perfect solution. Replace thirsty lawns with something that plays the part yet is perfectly (un)dead and therefore requires no water, no maintenance, and no sweat. But the story of artificial turf is not as simple as it sounds, and most of that has to do with the “no sweat” part of it. Let me explain.

We get so much more from living plants than just a splash of color. And, as thirsty as our living lawns are, they provide so much more than a place to tumble around on. For those of us who want the look and feel of grass and the water requirements of concrete, artificial turf might seem like the answer. Just make sure you know what you’re getting into.

Here are ten reasons why artificial turf may NOT be the answer you’re looking for….

Photo by www.crinklecrankle.com/

1. IT’S ACTUALLY A PLASTIC RUG

It looks perfect … at first. That’s because it’s made of plastic and recycled rubber from tires. You’re essentially laying down an outdoor carpet, albeit one that has been meticulously designed to look like a natural plant material. Typically, polyethylene, polyester, polypropylene, nylon, or a hybrid of these different materials is used to make the “blades” of grass. The blades sit on layers developed through primary and secondary padding material, which receives an acrylic coating before being coated by other chemicals, such as polyurethane or latex. The spaces between each blade are filled with some kind of infill material, most often sand and crumb rubber, usually made from recycled tires.

2. IT ADDS TO THE URBAN HEAT ISLAND EFFECT

Because it is essentially made of plastic and rubber, not plant material, it doesn’t offer any of the benefits of plants, such as abating the urban heat island effect. More on this later….

3. YOU WILL NEED TO CLEAN IT

Just like any other rug, it will collect bits and pieces of pet and bird droppings and liquids from humans (saliva, blood, or sweat). Unlike natural plant materials, which lose parts and regrow them, the blades and the bedding of artificial turf remain the same. You’ll need to rake it to fluff up and straighten the fibers. And you’ll need to hose it down with water. In fact, for most professional and recreational spots use, the Synthetic Turf Council suggests the installation of a manual or automatic irrigation system with artificial turf to improve field sanitation and to make it more comfortable for players in warmer climates.

4. IT IS NOT AS SAFE AS YOU THINK

Why would artificial grass need an irrigation system when installed in a warm climate? Well, it can get really hot. Surface temperatures of artificial grass are about 20-50° F higher than natural grass and typically reach the same temperature as asphalt pavement. The highest temperature measured during research was 200° F. Wow! Now, manufacturers of the product are aware of the issue and are working to improve how hot the materials get. The Synthetic Turf Council has even published guidelines for minimizing the risk of heat-related illness. Still, it’s plastic in the Valley of the Sun, not a great pairing if staying cool in your yard is a priority for you.

5. IT IS NOT AS SOFT AS YOU THINK

It’s hard, and it can hurt if you fall while playing sports or tumbling around with the dog. Unlike grass, it doesn’t give (it’s a rug, after all). If there’s concrete under the artificial turf, it’ll obviously make it worse. But even a sand base can be hard because it becomes compacted without roots and added moisture. Manufacturers of artificial turf and associated components have been working on improving the design to improve the experience for sports, such as increasing shock absorbency and reducing likelihood to cause skin abrasions. It’s better than it used to be, but it is still a problem you should consider before choosing to go artificial for kids or pets.

6. IT WILL NEED TO BE REPLACED

Eventually, you will need to replace the artificial turf. Its life expectancy is still unknown. Some companies claim a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years, while critics are estimating closer to eight years. We’ve experienced the incredible ability of the Arizona sun to destroy rubber and plastics, so any estimates (and cost recovery estimates) will need to take that into consideration. Like any other product, as technology and design improves, the life expectancy will improve, as long as the product is properly maintained. Proper maintenance of artificial turf can help maximize the appearance and longevity of that product. Routine maintenance includes keeping the product clean, ensuring that the infill material is kept at proper levels, and brushing the surface to keep grass fibers upright and infill even. The design, installation, and quality of the product that you purchase are just as important.

7. IT’S EXPENSIVE AND UNTESTED

This has to be asked …. Are you ready to invest a large sum of money to install a product that has not been tested under desert conditions? Installation costs can range from $5 to $20 a square foot. Consider how willing you are to risk this investment by thinking about the following questions: How long will these products last? What will happen to the chemicals in this product if the components begin to break down in my landscape? How much hotter will my landscape get? Will it make my house hotter in the summer and increase my energy bills? How will the summer temperatures affect any plant materials that are nearby? If you decide that this product is for you, just make sure you research both the company and the product to ensure it is high quality. The Synthetic Turf council has minimum specifications for turf grass that may be helpful.

8. IT’S NOT ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY

Many of us are drawn to artificial turf because we care about the environment. We want to save water. We want to save time. We’re tired of the grueling tasks of mowing and weeding, as well as applying fertilizers and pesticides when they’re needed. However, if your priority is caring for the environment, artificial turf is not going to be the best option. It’s made of plastic and difficult to recycle and reuse. In fact, while manufacturers promise recyclability, it is likely to end up in a landfill. When components break down, it’s possible for the chemicals or plastic materials to escape into the rest of the environment. Instead of increasing the life of your soil, it compacts soil and creates an inhabitable environment for the living organisms in your soil, rendering it unable to grow plant materials until that soil has been brought back to life.

9. IT DOESN’T SWEAT

Plants don’t actually sweat – they transpire. Artificial turf does neither. This is a big deal if you’re expecting the turf to not just look the part but also act the part of passively cooling the environment. Plants have pores on their leaves that take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen (air we breathe) and water molecules. These water molecules almost immediately evaporate, cooling the environment. This cooling effect is not just great for us humans and our energy bills; it’s also appreciated by other plants. The more plants you have, the cooler the environment. Unfortunately, artificial grass can’t provide that powerful cooling effect.

10. SERIOUSLY, IT’S NOT A PLANT

See, it really comes down to why we grow plants in the urban environment. Plant materials provide so much more than just aesthetic value. They help improve water and air quality, reduce temperatures, reduce storm water runoff, and provide habitats for animals, insects, bees, and birds. With our increasingly built urban environment, less and less of our land is porous, allowing rainwater (and, sadly, irrigation runoff) to infiltrate into our soil, which acts as a natural filter. This means our landscapes need to act more like sponges, allowing water to move slowly over the soil and spread its benefits. Contouring the landscape helps water sink into the soil, and adding plant materials and mulch increases the absorbency of our soil. Artificial turf is an investment in fancy outdoor carpeting, but it is not an investment in a lively, beneficial landscape that keeps our cities cool, provides a natural habitat for wildlife, and gives back to the environment that sustains us.

SO, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO INSTEAD?

A beautiful low-water-use landscape can still include small amounts of grass, along with a variety of desert-adapted plants, trees and hardscape, such as pavers,

A functional amount of artificial turf might still work for you, depending on your goals for your landscape. To know for sure, consider designing with Xeriscape, a creative approach to landscape design with water in mind. The principles of Xeriscape help everyone plan and maintain a landscape that meets your family’s wish list while also conserving water and contributing to the local environment. Don’t miss Water – Use It Wisely’s new 10-part video series on transforming your landscape from drab to fab.

From time to time, Water – Use It Wisely features guest blogger who write about topics related to water and water conservation. The author of this blog post, Tina Sleeper, is a Water Conservation Coordinator with the city of Tempe, one of 18 Water – Use It Wisely partners to offer water-saving advice and programs. And special thanks to Donna DiFrancesco, Conservation Coordinator with the City of Mesa, and Kai Umeda, Extension Agent in Turfgrass Science with the University of Arizona Maricopa Cooperative Extension, for their contributions.

DIY Artificial Grass Installation

Fake Grass is more popular than ever. Lay your Artificial Grass Direct lawn yourself and you can save yourself some money. Our artificial grass installation guide will help you plan how much artificial grass you’ll need and how much it will cost you. Download the Planning Tool by clicking on the link below. Here’s how to use the planner:

Step 1
Work out the size of the area you want to replace. Calculate this in square metres.

Step 2
Use the blank grid in the Planning Tool (PDF attached) to help you work out how many rolls of fake grass you’ll need. Position the rolls so that you have a minimum number of joints. Allow some extra lawn length for a small amount of wastage depending on the design of your garden and how the rolls are laid.

Our artificial grass is supplied in 2m (200cm) and 4m (400cm) widths (see drop down box for availability) and any lengths up to 25 metres. Remember, all rolls must be laid in the same direction to give the best finish and ideally so that you are looking into the pile.

Step 3
Order the amount of grass, fixings, accessories and tools you require in our online shop.

Need some help?

We’re here to guide you every step of the way and make sure your lawn looks great. Get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to answer your questions and help you with a perfect installation.

You might also need …

Some Artificial Grass Direct ranges require additional products. You might need a weed membrane, underfelt, ground fixing pins, tubs or tubes of adhesive, jointing tape, mastic gun tool, adhesive spreader and a craft knife. Just visit our online shop. We can supply everything you need and tell you know exactly what to do. Just ask.

Download our free planning tool and guide here.

Fitting guide

With just a little preparation you can achieve some great results and massive savings by installing your new lawn yourself.

At Artificial Grass Direct, we supply the highest quality, artificial grass at the lowest prices available today. So buy now and you can transform your garden quickly and easily.

We won’t be beaten on price!

Laying on soil or sand base

Preparation
For best results, you should lay your turf on a 35mm layer of compacted sharp sand. To maintain levels it may be necessary to remove an equivalent amount of the topsoil. It is unwise to leave vegetable material under your new grass as this will rot down unevenly. The ground or sand should be compacted. For smaller areas you can do this with the back of a shovel or builders plank, or for larger areas use a vibrating plate compactor which can be hired at most equipment hire centres.

Weed membrane
Should be laid immediately under the grass, this stops any seeds finding their way into the sand and germinating. Overlap the membrane by at least 100mm and take right to the edge of the area.

Acclimatising
Lay the artificial grass on top of the membrane. Allow approximately 50mm of artificial grass to trim off to make that perfect edge. It’s a good idea to leave the grass for a day to settle. This helps to stop any creasing or wrinkling.

Joining
Butt any grass edges together, when you are satisfied with the result, peel the grass back and lay our fibreglass backing tape under the join shiny side down. Using a spreader apply our Aqua Bond mastic adhesive or multi-purpose adhesive to the tape, then simply fold back the grass taking care not to squeeze the adhesive up on to the grass strands. See more on how to join artificial grass here

Trimming
Cut and trim your artificial grass, using a sharp craft knife, making sure there are no gaps between walls and grass. Always use sharp blades and change the blade regularly. The grass sometimes has a material trim to one edge this is just from production and needs to be removed before laying, it is not for joining the edge, you will need to use joining tape and adhesive for all joins.

Fixing
Use our ground pins, nailed into the ground at an angle every 200mm to secure the perimeter. Alternatively, you can create a small concrete haunch to glue to or bury lengths of treated timber to nail or tack to.

Laying on decking or for temporary use

Loose Lay
Lay the artificial grass out and trim to size. It will stay flat under its own weight. Garden furniture or planters can be used to hold it down in areas that are exposed to strong winds.

Underfelt
To provide a softer more absorbent feel, loose lay under the grass a 12mm exterior underfelt, available from our store. Ensure that any joints are neatly butted together.

Adhesive Fix
Use our Aqua Bond Adhesives to stick it to any smooth surface.

Mechanical Fix
Use a staple gun or tack/nail to fix directly to the wood.

To lay on concrete or a patio base

Preparation
Firstly, make sure that the surface to be covered is clean and smooth. A self-levelling 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.

Underfelt
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

Laying on flat roofs

It is important that the roof will weight bear and also important not to puncture the waterproof membrane. Loose laying will avoid this. Our Aqua Bond adhesive will provide a more permanent fix but you should take local professional advice prior to making any permanent fix to flat roofs.

3 Types of Sub-Base for Artificial Grass

The artificial grass installation industry is a $2-billion dollar industry. There’s a good reason for this. Artificial grass saves water, time, and money. Are you considering artificial turf for your home? You’ll need more than a few patches of artificial turf. You’ll also need a sub-base. Read on for information about the 3 types of sub-base for artificial grass.

Why Artificial Grass?

A beautiful lawn comes at a high environmental cost. About 30% of water usage is outdoors and more than half of that is for lawns and gardens. Nationwide, about 9 billion gallons of water per day goes to landscape irrigation.

Fertilizers and chemicals used on lawns are bad for the environment. They also pollute groundwater. Electric and gas-powered lawn tools create more pollution.

What’s the answer?

Artificial Grass

Artificial turf doesn’t need watering, mowing, or weed killer. It lasts as long as 25 years. And artificial grass is often made from old tires or plastic bottles. Modern artificial grasses are beautiful and come in different colors, textures, and lengths.

Your neighbors won’t know it’s artificial unless you tell them!

What is a Sub-Base for Artificial Grass?

Artificial grass isn’t always used on traditional grass areas. People also use artificial turf on concrete patios, decks, and pool areas.

The sub-base is the area that’s underneath the artificial turf. For the best looking artificial grass, use a great sub-base.

The existing soil in most grass areas expands and contrasts in hot and cold and wet and dry conditions. If you ignore the sub-base, you could end up with wrinkles and gaps or soft spots in your grass.

This creates uneven surfaces.

Use a sub-base that replaces the expansive native soil with a non-expansive surface. When installed right, you’ll get many years of useful life from your artificial turf.

There are several types of sub-base:

  • Crushed miscellaneous base (CMB)
  • Class II road base
  • Decomposed granite (DG)

CMB consists of recycled concrete or asphalt along with a sand/gravel mixture of 3/4″ to fine sand.

Class II road base is a more expensive version of CMB. It’s more expensive due to stringent testing. Most people don’t need the Class II road base.

The DG is granite rock. It’s weathered until it fractures into small pieces of weak rock as well as a mix of gravel, sand, and silt-size particles of clay.

The CMB is the most common choice for landscaping uses. It’s easily compacted and less expensive. DG creates a smoother finish than the CMB but is more expensive.

If you’re creating a putting green with artificial turf, DG is a good choice. It’s more permeable than CMB.

Artificial Grass: A Great Choice!

Install a sub-base for artificial grass first and then you’re ready to go green! Once your artificial turf is installed, you’ll get many years of fun, maintenance-free use.

Artificial grass is a great eco-conscious option. Save water, money, and time while enjoying all the benefits of lush, gorgeous grass.

Are you ready for a maintenance-free beautiful yard year-round? Get all your questions answered today!

5 Important Artificial Grass Installation Tips

There are several different methods that can be used when it comes to artificial grass installation.

The correct method to use will depend upon the site on which the grass is being installed.

For instance, the methods used when installing artificial grass on to concrete will be different to those chosen when installing artificial grass in place of an existing lawn.

Clearly there will be differing methods of ground preparation.

For advice as to which method will best suit your individual circumstances, our firm recommendation is to speak with a local installer and invite them to your property to conduct a site visit.

An experienced installer will be able to advise on the correct method to choose.

In order to give you some background knowledge we have published a guide on How to Install Artificial Grass on Concrete and you can also find out to install artificial grass in a typical lawn replacement installation on this page of our website.

As the ground preparation depends on the installation, generally the methods used to lay the artificial grass itself are very similar, regardless of the application.

In this guide, we’re going to be giving you 5 important artificial grass installation tips for laying artificial grass.

A professional installer will generally be well versed in the process and very familiar with these tips, but if you are looking to attempt a DIY installation, or if you would like some background knowledge, you’ll be sure to find this article very useful.

So, let’s begin with our first tip.

1. Do Not Use Sharp Sand as Your Laying Course

Granite Dust Laying Course

On a typical lawn installation, the first stage is to remove the existing lawn.

From there, layers of aggregates are installed to provide your lawn’s foundation in preparation for laying the grass.

These layers will comprise a sub-base and a laying course.

For a sub-base, we recommend using either 50-75mm of MOT Type 1 or – if your existing garden suffers from poor drainage, or if you have dogs – we recommend using 10-12mm of granite or limestone chippings, to ensure a free draining sub-base.

However, for the laying course – the layer of aggregate that lies directly beneath your artificial grass – we strongly recommend that you use either granite or limestone dust, between 0-6mm in diameter at a depth of 25mm.

(to calculate how much aggregate you’ll need to install your artificial grass, use our handy calculators).

Originally, when artificial grass was installed in a residential environment, sharp sand was used as a laying course.

Unfortunately, some installers are still using sharp sand today, and there are even some manufacturers who still recommend it.

The only reason for recommending sharp sand over granite or limestone dust comes down purely to cost.

Per ton, sharp sand is slightly cheaper than limestone or granite dust.

However, there are problems with using sharp sand.

Firstly, artificial grass has perforations in the latex backing that allow water to drain through the artificial grass.

Up to 50 litres of water per square metre, per minute, can drain through artificial grass.

With this much water capable of pouring through your artificial grass, what happens over time is that the sharp sand will wash away, particularly if there is a fall on your artificial lawn.

This is bad news for your artificial grass, as the turf will become uneven and you will see noticeable ridges and dips in your lawn.

The second reason is that sharp sand moves around underfoot.

If your lawn will be receiving a high level of footfall, including from pets, then this will again result in dips and ruts in your turf where sharp sand has been used.

A further problem with sharp sand is that it encourages ants.

Ants will, over time, begin excavating through sharp sand and potentially building nests. This disruption to the laying course will likely cause an uneven artificial lawn.

Many people wrongly assume that the sharp sand will hold firm in the same way it does for block paving, but unfortunately this is not the case.

Because granite or limestone dust is far coarser than sharp sand, it binds together and provides a much better laying course.

The extra few pounds per ton in cost are certainly worth spending as they will ensure a much better finish to your fake lawn and provide a much longer lasting installation.

Whether you use limestone or granite depends entirely what is available locally to you, as you’ll probably find that one form is easier to get hold of than the other.

We recommend you try contacting your local builders’ merchants and aggregate suppliers to find out availability and costs.

2. Use a Double Layer of Weed Membrane

This tip will help prevent weeds from growing through your artificial lawn.

After reading the previous tip, you’ll now be aware that part of an artificial grass installation involves removing the existing lawn.

As you might have guessed, it’s recommended that you install a weed membrane to prevent weed growth.

However, we recommend that you use two layers of weed membrane.

The first layer of weed membrane should be installed to the existing sub-grade. The sub grade is the earth that is left after excavating your existing lawn.

This first weed membrane will prevent weeds that are deeper in the soil from growing.

Without this first layer of weed membrane, there is the chance that some types of weeds will grow up through the layers of aggregates and disturb the surface of your artificial lawn.

The picture below shows an example of what can potentially happen if this layer of weed membrane is not installed.

Additionally, we recommend installing a further layer just below your artificial grass.

This additional weed membrane provides an extra layer of protection by blocking out more light, which can encourage weed growth, and, furthermore, it can help to protect the latex backing.

Latex backing on artificial grass is designed to be extremely hard-wearing, but adding a further layer of membrane underneath your grass helps protect the latex from grinding against the coarse granite or limestone dust.

The membrane will also prevent the unnatural crunching sound that you can get when walking on artificial grass that has been laid directly on to the laying course.

3. Allow the Artificial Grass to Acclimatise

Before cutting or joining your artificial grass, we highly recommend that you allow it to acclimatise to its new home.

This will make the installation process much easier to complete.

But how exactly do you allow artificial grass to acclimatise?

Luckily, the process is very easy as it requires you to do nothing!

Basically, all you’ll need to do is unroll your grass, position it in the approximate place that it is to be installed, and then allow it settle down.

Why is it important to do this?

In the factory, at the end of the artificial grass manufacturing process, a machine rolls up the artificial grass around plastic or cardboard tubes to allow for easily transportation.

This is also how your artificial grass will arrive when it is delivered to your home.

But because, up until this point, your artificial grass has effectively been squashed tightly whilst in roll format, it will need some time to settle down so that it lies completely flat.

Ideally this will be done with warm sun playing on the grass, as this allows the latex backing to warm up which, in turn, will allow any ridges or ripples to fall out of the artificial grass.

You’ll also find that it’s much easier to position and to cut once it has fully acclimatised.

Now, in an ideal world and if time isn’t an issue, you would leave your artificial grass for 24 hours to acclimatise.

We appreciate that this isn’t always possible, particularly for contractors, who’ll most likely have a deadline to meet.

If this is the case, it will still be possible to install your artificial grass, but it may take a little more time to position the turf and ensure a tight fit.

To help with this process a carpet Knee Kicker can be used to stretch out the artificial grass.

4. Sand Infill

You’ll probably have heard differing opinions on artificial grass and sand infills.

However, we highly recommend that you use a silica sand infill for your artificial lawn.

There are several reasons for this:

  1. It adds ballast to the artificial grass. This ballast will hold the grass in position and prevent any ripples or ridges from appearing in your artificial lawn.
  2. It will improve the aesthetics of your lawn by enabling the fibres to remain upright.
  3. It improves drainage.
  4. It increases fire resistance.
  5. It protects the artificial fibres and the latex backing.

Many people have concerns that the silica sand will stick to people’s feet, and to the paws of dogs and other pets.

However, this is not the case, as the thin layer of sand will be sitting at the bottom of the fibres, which will prevent any direct contact with the sand.

We recommend that you apply approximately 4kg of silica/kiln-dried sand per square metre of artificial grass.

You can use our handy calculator below to work out how much sand you’ll need for your installation.

We have explored the topic of sand infill for artificial grass in much more depth in a previous article and if you would like further information regarding sand infills you’ll be sure to find this guide very useful.

5. Use a Foam Underlay for Artificial Grass on Concrete and Decking

Although artificial grass should never be laid directly on top of existing grass or soil, without a sub-base, it is possible to install artificial grass on to existing hard surfaces such as concrete, paving and decking.

These installations tend to be very quick and easy to complete.

Obviously, this is because the ground preparation is already complete.

These days, it seems to be becoming increasingly common to install artificial grass on to decking as many people are finding decking to be slippery and sometimes quite dangerous to walk on.

Luckily this can be easily rectified with artificial grass.

If your existing surface is structurally sound, then there should not be any reason why you can’t install artificial grass on top of it.

However, one golden rule when installing artificial grass on concrete, paving or decking is to use an artificial grass foam underlay.

This is because any undulations in the surface below will appear through the artificial grass.

For example, when laid on a deck, you would see each individual decking board through your artificial grass.

To prevent this from happening, install a shockpad to a deck or concrete first and then fix the grass on to the foam.

The foam will mask any unevenness in the surface below.

The foam can be attached to decking using decking screws or, for concrete and paving, artificial grass adhesive can be used.

Not only will foam prevent visible bumps and ridges, but it will also make for a much softer artificial grass that will feel great underfoot, whilst also providing protection should any falls occur.

Conclusion

Artificial grass installation is a relatively simple process – if you know what you are doing.

As with anything, there are certain techniques and methods that work best, and hopefully this article has helped you gain an insight into some of the tips and tricks involved.

We generally recommend that you use the services of a professional to install your artificial grass, as you are more likely to get a better, longer lasting installation.

If you would like some help in finding a competent artificial grass installer, click the link to read our previous article, 17 Questions to Help You Choose an Artificial Grass Installer.

Installing artificial grass can also be very physically demanding and this should be considered before attempting a DIY installation.

However, we do understand that sometimes the additional cost involved may prohibit you from using a professional installer.

With some help, the right tools, good basic DIY skills and a few days of hard work, it is possible to install your own artificial grass.

We hope that you have found this article useful – if you have any other installation tips or tricks that you would like to share with us, please leave a comment below.

What sort of base is best for artificial grass?

Categories Help & Advice

This depends on where you wish to position your new lawn. Astroturf is so versatile that it can be used on a wide range of surfaces. Let’s look at some of the options, and the best method of preparing a base in each situation.

As a lawn

If you are using artificial turf to replace to use your existing lawn, then you need to follow some simple guidelines to ensure that you are laying onto an ideal base. This will ensure you get the best out of your lawn for years to come, and will prevent problems with dips and hollows developing.

Firstly, you must remove all existing turf, down to a depth of between 3-5 cm. Next, fill the area with sharp sand at least 35 mm deep, and compact it down with a vibrating plate machine. They can be hired from most local hire shops. If you wish, you can compact the sand by hand with a roller if you prefer. The sand provides a firm, well draining layer for your artificial turf. If you cannot put sand down, compact the soil really well. It is best to lay a weed supressing membrane underneath your new surface, so cut it to size and fix into place. You now have an idea base and can lay your artificial turf.

Grass for decking areas

Astroturf is an ideal solution for covering unsightly decking that is past its best. You can either lay it down loose and secure it in place with furniture and planters, or opt for underfelt to give a more cushioned feel. Buy 12 mm garden grade underfelt and cut to fit. Astroturf fitted in this manner can be stuck down or stapled into place, directly onto the wooden deck boards.

Concrete Areas

Artificial turf can be laid straight onto a concrete surface or patio. You may need to spend some time making sure the surface is smooth and unbroken. If there are minor imperfections you may wish to use a self-levelling compound to smooth out unevenness. Again, you can opt to use underfelt on concrete surfaces for added comfort underfoot. Use 12 mm exterior grade underfelt. Either with or without underlay, concrete is an ideal base for an artificial lawn, and is used widely both domestically and by businesses to improve the look of unsightly areas without the expense of relaying slabs.

How to Lay Artificial Grass

Sand and Stone Base

  1. Roll out the grass onto your level, compacted base then allow the grass to settle for 2–3 hours or preferably overnight. When deciding which direction to lay your grass bear in mind that artificial grass looks at its best when you’re looking into the pile of the grass.
  2. Trim your grass carefully using a sharp knife to give it a smooth and neat finish. We recommend turning the grass over and running your knife neatly next to the stitch lines avoiding cutting into the stitches.
  3. For large areas you may have to join two pieces of grass. For this you will need to purchase a joining tape with a suitable adhesive (ensuring that both are suitable for outdoor use).
  4. You can either use a wooden batten to secure your grass or use landscaping nails placed every 10–20cm.
  5. Remove all of the surplus pieces of grass and brush with a broom.

How to join artificial grass

You may have to join two pieces of grass together for large areas. For this you will need to purchase a joining tape with a suitable adhesive (ensuring that both are suitable for outdoor use).

  1. Unroll your artificial grass into position.
  2. Cut close to the bead on the first piece of grass, ensuring there are no spaces. SEE PICTURE A
  3. On the second piece, cut leaving a space for the beading.
  4. Create a ‘dry’ join by positioning the two pieces together. SEE PICTURE B
  5. Unroll the joining tape and fold back the joining edges by about 30cm. Ensure the shiny side of the tape is face down. SEE PICTURE C
  6. Spread glue onto the joining tape. TOP TIP: Use a scraper to spread the adhesive. SEE PICTURE D
  7. Work your way down the seam carefully, joining the two pieces together. Make sure tufts aren’t damaged or buried. SEE PICTURE E
  8. Once it has been applied, lightly brush over the seam to pressurise the adhesive.

How to lay artificial grass

Laying artificial grass is a simple way to brighten up your garden all year round. Simply clear your garden area, roll out the grass and tidy up the edges. Here’s how to lay artificial grass in a few short steps:

  1. Clear the area where you’re laying artificial grass
  2. Dig the area out to 100mm depth
  3. Prepare the base material and protective layer against weeds
  4. Roll out the artificial grass
  5. Cut and tidy the edges
  6. Join the rolls together

WHY USE ARTIFICIAL GRASS?

The biggest benefit to laying artificial grass is that it will save you huge amounts of time and effort maintaining your lawn. It doesn’t need trimming, mowing, watering or fertiliser for starters. As it’s weatherproof, it’ll stay looking bright and green all year round, and will last years too.

Replacing old and worn patio slabs or a natural lawn with the gorgeous greens of artificial grass is quick way to inject some class and character into your outdoor space.

TOOLS AND MATERIALS FOR LAYING ARTIFICIAL GRASS

Here’s a list of the tools you’ll need for installing a new grassy surface in the garden:

  • Tools
  • Turf cutter
  • Shovel
  • Tape measure
  • Plank for compacting
  • Craft or Stanley knife
  • Always Green Jointing Tape (if a joint is required)
  • Ground pins
  • Hammer for compacting and pinning
  • Brush / broom
  • Gloves

Materials

  • Granular sub-base material – MOT type 1 material
  • Geotextile membrane
  • Sharp sand or granite dust
  • Silica sand (kiln dried sand)
  • Tanalised timber and Pan Head screws (for timber restraint)
  • Always Green Aqua Bond (for concrete haunch restraint)
  • Weed membrane

You might also want to consider a pair of knee pads as the majority of work will be done on the ground.

QUICK TIP:

Whether you’re laying artificial grass on paving slabs, or rolling out in place of a natural lawn, the steps are much the same. Just ensure that the surface has been adequately prepared. No need to completely smooth out the surface – the odd lumps and bumps make it look more natural.

LAYING ARTIFICIAL GRASS – STEP BY STEP

  1. Clearing the area

If you’re laying artificial grass to replace natural grass, start by digging out the turf down to about 100mm using a spade or a turf cutter. This is to ensure that the finished product doesn’t stand unnaturally tall over surrounding paved areas, once the base layers are secure. If you’re edging the area, use a tantalised timber frame and secure with timber batons or use a concrete edging block/restraint with an internal concrete haunch of approximately 100mm.

  1. Preparing the base

A sub-base (graded to MOT Type 1) underneath the turf promotes proper drainage and provides a solid foundation to lay the artificial grass on top of – and make sure you remember the geotextile membrane underneath to prevent the sub-base sinking into the soil below. Cover the area with a sub-base and compact in two layers to a depth of 70-75mm using a compactor plate.

  1. Levelling off

Spread a layer of sharp sand to about 20mm depth using a shovel or sand spreader. Smooth out the sand evenly across the sub-base and press it down using a compactor or hammer and plank. Check the depths and add or remove sand as needed. Your lawn may appear more natural if you want to retain the odd dip or bump in the lawn, but the surface should be level overall.

  1. Weeding out

Roll out sheets of weed membrane over the sub-base as a bedding layer. This will prevent weeds from growing and reaching through the surface of the fake grass, which will help it to drain more efficiently. There should be some overlap between sheets of weed membrane – about 30cm.

  1. Roll out the lawn

Roll our your artificial grass making sure the pile is facing towards you or the main viewpoint allowing 5cm of extra grass on all sides. Try to avoid lining up the ends of the rolls exactly, as it will give a less natural appearance.

  1. Cutting and tidying

Once the grass is unrolled, take a craft knife and trim the rough edges away from the grass rolls. Make sure the grass rolls are placed neatly together so nothing shows up from underneath. We’d recommend cutting through the latex backing cloth and not the grass itself, running the knife next to the stitch lines but avoiding cutting into the stitching wherever possible.

  1. Glue together

Remove 2-5 rows of stiches from both adjoining rolls of grass using a Stanley knife. Fold the edges back and lay Always Green jointing tape, ensuring its shiny side is laid face down. Apply Always Green Aqua Bond using a cartridge gun onto the jointing take in a zig zag pattern – and making sure each roll of grass has at least 5cm of adhesive in contact with the tape. Hold the grass back and press down on the tape to spread the adhesive. Try to keep the blades of grass from getting onto the glue. Sweep the edges of the joins to hide them from plain view.

  1. Pinning it down

If you’re using a timber frame, secure the grass to it with Pan Head screws every 150-200mm, or you can glue the grass to the horizontal concrete haunch of the edging block. If not, use a hammer to bash in the ground pins 20-30cm apart around the edges. Brush these edges to disguise the appearance of the pins in the ground.

  1. Sweeping success

Once the glue is dried, sweep off the surface with a broom to cast off loose blades of grass and dust or dirt. Infill the grass using silica sand and either a power or a stuff brush, ensuring your brushstrokes direct into the pile. Sand should be evenly distributed ensuing no excess appears on the surface of the turf. Don’t forget to leave it to settle and cure for 1-2 hours – more if it’s cold outside – before walking on it.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

CAN I LAY WEED MEMBRANE BEFORE THE SAND?

When it comes to the order of layering, some installations are done with steps 3 and 4 reversed – the sand is laid on top of the weed membrane, rather than the other way around. Either way should provide the same results.

CAN YOU CUT ARTIFICIAL GRASS?

A trim here and there may be in order to adapt it to your desired length to begin with. Cut it with fabric scissors if possible – and avoid using big clippers or lawnmowers.

HOW LONG DOES ARTIFICIAL GRASS LAST?

Good quality artificial grass should keep its green and luscious appearance for around 20-25 years, depending on how well you take care of it. Regular brushing of the surface will keep it looking glossy and healthy, while pets’ presents on the lawn should be hosed off to prevent bad smells and possible discolouration.

If you’re looking for further inspiration, why not check out our new artificial grass selection to find the products and tools that are right for you. If you’re in need of professional help for your next garden project, check out the UK database of Marshalls-approved garden and driveway installers.

How to Lay an Artificial Lawn – Explained!

A green lush front and backyard is a desire every Australian homeowner has. But the cost and maintenance of, let’s say Kikuyu grass isn’t on the budget side of things. Instead, installing an artificial turf may be the better choice for you.

Fake grass requires little to no maintenance, it’s fairly easy to install and it’s rich green in colour throughout the whole year. It ticks every box, no?

So, what exactly more would you need to DIY the artificial turf installation in your property? Let’s take a look at the tools needed for the job and follow a step-by-step installation process provided by our professional gardeners!

Tools needed to lay artificial turf

While turf installation is a fairly easy job to do by yourself, you’ll have to invest in the proper tools in order to have a smooth process and have a professional looking install. Here is what you’ll need to lay artificial grass:

Easy to find tools

  • Hammer and flathead nails
  • Rake, shovel and tape measure
  • Utility knife (throw in some spare blades too)
  • Water
  • Synthetic turf joining tape (can be found at any major hardware store)

Special tools

  • Finely crushed rock
  • Whitewash sand
  • Power blower
  • Compactor
  • Excavator (if you’re going to install the synthetic turf to a larger area)

Step 1: Remove the existing turf

It’s time to start preparing the place of choice for the artificial grass. In order to ensure that your fake turf stays in place and it keeps its good looks, properly excavating the existing turf is a must.

First, it’s time to clean up the base. Remove any rocks, debris or sprinklers that may interfere with the installation of the artificial grass.

Grab your shovel and start excavating the extra soil that you won’t need. Dig to a depth of 70mm to 80mm. This is going to be the bed where you’ll lay out the artificial turf.

Once you’ve got the area excavated to the proper depth and the desired size, it’s time to grab your rake and level the base. Make sure it’s smooth, as big chunks can cause problems in future steps of the installation.

Step 2: Compact the base for the artificial turf

The next step of the installation of your fake turf is to create the perfect base. It’s best to use finely crushed rock as the base of your artificial turf.

Crushed rock can be found easily in most major hardware stores throughout Australia, and it costs about AU$45 per cubic metre.

Evenly spread the crushed rock base. You can use a rake to lay the sub-base as flat as possible.

After you feel like it’s good enough, it’s time for you to use a compactor to compact the base. A vibrating plate will be the best for the job.

tip

If you don’t feel necessary to spend money on renting a compactor you can use a flat wooden plate and grab a friend to step on it. Repeat this process until the area feels ready.

Spray a mist of water on the crushed rock and use the compactor until the wet base becomes sturdy. The perfect depth of a sub-base for artificial grass is around 15mm to 20mm, so make sure to measure everything once you’ve compacted the crushed rock.

Anything deeper will make the fake grass look sunken in the ground, while anything more can result in an elevated and unnatural look.

Step 3: Roll out and place the turf in place

Great! You’re halfway done. Once you’ve compacted the base it’s time to lay out the synthetic turf itself. It has most likely been stored rolled, so you should leave it unrolled for two or three hours to allow it to set in place and even out any creases.

tip

Always lay the separate synthetic turf pieces in the same direction. This way you’ll ensure seamless fitting.

Use a sharp utility knife to cut through the turf. Clean cuts will ensure proper joining and it will make the job a lot easier. Always change the blades if they start feeling dull. Remove any strips that may be covering an adhesive material.

Step 4: Join the pieces of artificial turf

One of the most important steps in making the fake grass look like real is to ensure proper joining of the separate pieces.

Make sure that the separate pieces of turf are as close as possible. It’s important that they don’t touch and don’t overlap. A small gap (just a couple of millimetres) is more than enough.

Roll out the turf tape through the whole length of the fake turf. Once you’ve set in place the turf pieces and the artificial grass tape, pill the adhesive protection of the tape and place the tape in place throughout the entire length of the joining. In order to make sure everything is secured in place walk a couple of times on top of the joining spot.

tip

Depending on the artificial turf brand and the brand of the tape, you will have differences of adhesive and installation. The tips above are generalised, so it’s best if you read the instructions coming with the products, or check if they have a website with instructions in order to make sure your installation is the most suitable for the products you use.

Step 5: Trim the pieces of the fake grass

With the pieces joined and comfortably sitting in their bed, it’s time to walk around the turfs’ edges and trim any pieces that might be protruding out of the desired place.

Grab the same sharp utility knife (change the blade if you haven’t already) you used earlier and trim out everything you feel isn’t needed.

Make sure not to trim too much because you’ll have to make patches that will interfere with the natural look of the turf.

Step 6: Adjust the turf and set it in place

Almost ready! The turf pieces are joined, perfectly placed in its bed, but you’re going to play with your pets maybe, kids will be running around, a BBQ or two might take place this month…all of this will affect your fake grass. In other words, it’s time to make sure your brand new synthetic turf stays in place, after which you may also pick up a few tips on how to keep the artificial grass clean.

But first, grab your hammer and the flat head nails we mentioned you’ll need earlier in the article. It’s best if you use thin nail (so they aren’t noticeable from above) and nail the turf along the edges. Place a nail every 25cm to 30cm.

In order to hide the nail make sure you pin it between the blades of the leaf. You can also use a dark coloured sharpie to ensure the nails blend in with the environment.

Step 7: Protect and sand the turf

Small things add up to natural looking turf. Around 12kg of sand will be needed per square meter of fake turf.

Gently spread the sand throughout the artificial piece of grass. Use the rake to gently spread out the fine sand and make sure it’s even throughout the whole area.

You can also use a seed dropper to spread out the sand. However, if you’re working on a larger area we advise you to rent a sand spreader.

Hire a professional to do it for you!

While not necessarily hard, turf installation isn’t a job for people with little to no experience. Hiring professional landscapers will ensure that you’ve got a perfectly laid out lawn, proper drainage and the best fitment possible.

Ready to install your synthetic turf?

Type in your postcode in the box below and caress the magenta button!

Cost of installing synthetic turf in Australia

Increasing the curb appeal of your Australian home with fake turf will vary. The type of grass, the size of the area that you’re going to do and if you’re going to DIY the project or hire someone to do it for you.

The average cost of installing fake turf is AU$5,625 (for an average 75 sq. m. yard), but it also depends on the size of the area you want to place the turf in, the tools that you’ll need (mainly if you’ll have to hire an excavator) and the people needed for the job.

For low to mid-range synthetic grass expect to pay around AU$50 to AU$80 per square meter. For higher end fake turf expect a price of around AU$100 per square meter.

Most contractors will want to know the type of area they’re going to work on and price accordingly. For the most accurate price contact your service provider of choice and request a quote.

In conclusion…

Synthetic turf requires a big initial investment and a bit of old-fashioned hard work, but once set in place you’ll have little to no expenses in maintaining it, instead, you’ll enjoy a lush green turf year round.

So, if you’ve made your mind and you’re ready to invest in artificial turf contact us and we can discuss further working together in Australia!

Image source: /Christine Bird

  • Last update: January 23, 2020

Posted in Gardening Tips

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How to lay astroturf like a professional

Categories Help & Advice

Essential tools:

  • Astroturf or artificial grass
  • Sharp builder’s sand
  • Weed control fabric
  • Jointing tape
  • Craft knife
  • Digging tools
  • Stiff brush
  • Protective gloves
  • Adhesive/glue
  • Ground pins

Optional tools:

  • Turf cutter
  • Builder’s plank
  • Heavy hammer

Preparing your garden:

  1. Remove any existing turf – Ideally to a depth of around 40mm. For small areas of turf you can use a spade. However, hiring a turf cutter can make this job much easier and quicker in larger gardens.
  2. Add a base layer of sand – To a depth of 35mm, spread out a layer of sharp builder’s sand.
  3. Level the surface – To ensure a firm base below your astroturf or artificial grass, use a builder’s plank and heavy hammer to compact the sand and smooth it down. A gentle slope will help with water drainage too.
  4. Add a membrane layer – This weed membrane should overlap joints by 300mm but be 50mm short of the grass edge.

Laying your artificial grass:

  1. Roll out the astroturf or artificial grass – Make sure the ends of the grass roles are staggered and don’t end in a line. Carefully trim the edges with a knife.
  2. Join the astroturf or artificial grass – The rolls should be laid in the same direction with the blades of grass pointing the same way too. Ensure no fibres are caught underneath and that jointing grass rolls are butted together.

Fixing down your artificial grass:

  1. Attach the rolls together – Spread the jointing tape rough side up along the gaps between rolls. Add adhesive to the tape and place the roll edges on top, being careful that no grass fibres touch the glue.
  2. Ruffle up the fibres – To disguise the seal between rolls and create a seamless effect, ruffle up the grass fibres.
  3. Fix down the edges with pins – Every 20cm, fix down the edges of your astroturf or artificial grass with ground pins. Once again, you might need to ruffle up the grass fibres around these pins.
  4. Sweep your astroturf or artificial grass – With a stiff brush, sweep your astroturf or artificial grass for an immaculate finish.

How To: Lay Artificial Grass

Photo: istockphoto.com

Artificial grass made its big debut at the Astro Dome in 1966—hence the term Astroturf—but it’s come a long way since then. Once considered only for professional sports fields, artificial grass is now a bona fide option for homeowners who want the look of a lush, green lawn without maintenance that provokes headaches. Artificial grass requires no water or fertilizer, which makes it eco-friendly, and there’s no mowing required either. A lawn of artificial grass can last up to 15 years under heavy traffic, the only maintenance being an occasional spraying with the garden hose if you have pets (for obvious reasons!). Professional installation can cost anywhere from $10 to $15 per square foot. But laying the turf, which costs between $2 and $8 per square foot, on an average-sized yard is a doable project if you’re game for some physical labor. Check out the tried-and-true technique here for how to lay artificial grass!

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
– Garden spade or sod cutting machine
– Builder’s sand
– Landscaping rake
– Tamper or piece of plywood at least 2’x2’
– Weed barrier
– Landscaping staples
– Utility knife
– Artificial grass
– 7inch galvanized lawn spikes
– Jointing tape
– Artificial turf adhesive
– Rubber hammer
– Stiff broom or brush

STEP 1
Remove whatever current turf you have. Use a spade or a sod-cutting machine (available to rent for about $100/day at a home improvement store) to pull it up. If a neighbor or friend can’t use it, dispose of it according to the organic waste removal rules in your community.

STEP 2
You will need a level base on which to lay your artificial grass. Spread about 1-½ inches of builder’s sand in the area to create a level surface, using a landscaping rake to distribute it evenly. Then, compact the sand with a tamper or 2X2 piece of plywood and a rubber hammer until it’s firm and level.

STEP 3
Lay a weed barrier down to reduce the chance of weeds growing up through the turf. Roll it out to cover the area completely, allowing the edges to overlap at any joints by several inches, and trim with a utility knife to secure it into place with landscaping staples every three or four feet.

Photo: istockphoto.com

STEP 4
Artificial grass has a “grain” to it, which means rather than standing straight up, it bends slightly at an angle. For the most natural look, roll it out so that the blades bend toward your home—making sure that all pieces are laid in the same direction. If using more than one roll’s width of turf, it’s best to stagger the end seams so that they don’t line up in a row: They’ll be less visible and will wear better that way. Trim any edges with a utility knife from the back side, being careful not to cut any of the turf.

STEP 5
Artificial turf generally comes in widths of 12 to 15 feet. If the space you’re covering is more than the roll’s width, you’ll need to join pieces together. To do so, trim the edge of each of the pieces with a utility knife (from the back, being careful not to cut the turf) so that they will meet without overlapping. Then roll the pieces back and lay jointing tape underneath where the seam will be. Apply artificial turf adhesive to the jointing tape, and lay the two turf pieces together, making sure that the seam matches up together, without overlapping.

STEP 6
Nail the artificial grass down with 7-inch lawn spikes, using a rubber hammer. Space the nails about every four feet. Take care to spread the turf blades out and away from the base of the nail before you hammer it in. After nailing, brush the nap up around the nail to hide placement.

STEP 7
Once all the turf is installed, brush the entire lawn with a stiff bristled broom to fluff up turf blades. If any sand went wayward during installation, hose the lawn down to remove it.

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