Many of our commercial and domestic clients request that we lay artificial turf during landscaping projects.  There are many benefits to this, as it is aesthetically pleasing, durable, and relatively low maintenance.  Our clients enjoy the mud-free instant effect artificial turf has on their working and domestic environment, and it has many practical features, too.  For year-round fresh greenness, it’s the perfect option.

If you fancy having a go at installing it yourself, many of the tools required can be hired from your local tool hire shop.  Here are some tips from Harrell to bear in mind when choosing, laying and enjoying your artificial turf.

Choose your turf

Ensure you get to see and hold a wide range of turf samples.  There are many things to consider when choosing as each type can differ in look, feel, and pile height, and they vary enormously in price.  Do you need an economic option for kicking a ball around in the garden, or are you looking for a more expensive, realistic-looking turf?  When looking at samples, always keep your objectives in mind; a turf intended for light use will not be suitable if you’re holding regular dog training classes on it.  Always ensure that the turf you choose meets your needs – does it have to be child and pet-friendly, for example – and always select turf that is UV resistant with good drainage.  Most artificial turf comes in rolls of 2m and 4m, so this is worth considering when sizing up to avoid too many cuts and joins. Work out the height, width and length of the area that the artificial grass will fill and ensure that the area in which you wish to work is clear.

Remove the existing surface

This can be done by hand if it is a relatively small area, or a mini digger can also be used to excavate ideally to a depth of 80mm from the final level.  Artificial turf requires a suitable base to allow drainage, maintain an even lawn surface, deter weeds, and prevent it from slipping.  Artificial lawn is an expensive investment, and care should be taken to install it correctly.

Weed prevention

You carefully choose the turf, spend time preparing the area, lay your beautiful new artificial lawn, enjoy the praise, and then two weeks later you notice some new spiky growth through the pile.  Weed prevention is as vital as choosing good quality turf.  Once you’ve excavated, cover the entire area with a good quality geo textile weed membrane. This prevents any weeds from growing through the new turf and promotes good drainage. The membrane should be installed beneath the sub-base.

Lay down your base

Once your weed membrane is down, build up the levels with crushed aggregate, such as MOT type 1 to a depth of 70mm.  This should be well compacted using a vibrating plate.  Blind the surface with either sharp sand or granite dust, creating a level, smooth surface for the turf to sit on, and then fully compact again to prevent lumps.  If you have pets, don’t use sharp sand as this has a tendency to clump up when pets do their business.

Some added edge

Artificial turf requires a solid edge to adhere to.  Depending on the size of the area, you could either use timber or mortar edging.   This should be set at the same level as the sub-base, and definitely no higher than the turf level as you will be attaching the turf to the edging.

Rolling out your grass

Once everything is in place, roll out your artificial grass, being careful to not disturb the sub-base. Remember, your grass has a directional pile, so it will all need to face the same way if you have any joins. We advise laying the turf away from the house, rather than across as this is more aesthetically pleasing, giving a more natural look. Because the turf has been rolled up, it sometimes requires some time to settle, so don’t worry about any bumps or creases. Allow some time for the turf to settle before applying adhesive, normally an hour or so.

After the settling process is complete, cut and trim the artificial grass, using a sharp Stanley knife, ensuring the grass is cut neatly around the edges. Take your time during this process to avoid taking too much off.

Joining and pinning the turf

In order to bind the joins of your grass, use a high-quality outdoor tape and glue.  Lay the tape under the joins and apply the adhesive, before pulling the grass edges together and applying some weight to them.  Once you have glued the turf down around the edges and joins, hammer some galvanised 150mm flat headed galvanised nails into the sub base for extra stability, nails should be approximately 1m apart.  This stops the turf from moving around and becoming displaced.

Time to brush up!

Once everything is complete, your final task is to brush in dried kiln sand to the surface of the lawn. Brush against the pile to bring the fibres of the artificial grass upright. The extra weight means that the grass stays in place. The sand provides stability and protects the turf, meaning no wrinkles or folds develop through use. The sand also surrounds the long blades of artificial grass and ensures that they remain erect. This should ideally be repeated every year.

And that’s it!

If it all seems too much, Harrell is just a phone call away!

Groundworks for artificial turf

Excavate area

Compacting with a vibration plate

Gluing the joins together

Securing the turf using landscaping pins

Brushing in sharp sand

Voila! The finished result.