Laying down synthetic grass is a great way to transform your outdoor space. It has relatively good grip, it’s low maintenance and it looks great all year round.
That being said, one thing that isn’t so convenient about artificial turf is the installation process. If you’re not going to be hiring specialists, you’re going to have to do a lot of planning. Improperly laying down your turf can lead to various problems in the future. You might find that you end up maintaining your artificial grass more than natural lawn.
To help you avoid this, we’ve created a basic guide in installing synthetic turf.
If you have further questions or if you feel overwhelmed by the process, you can always contact a professional to install it for you. By doing so, not only are you saving yourself headaches, you’re also ensuring that the turf is safely and properly installed.
1. Prepare the ground
The first step is preparing the ground and that means clearing away any existing lawn. You will need to remove weeds, the grass and the soil. For this purpose, we recommended using a sod cutter. This cuts the sod in strips so that all you have to do is roll it up. Sods are deceptively heavy, so it’s recommended that you get someone else to help you dispose of it.
When it comes to disposal, you can hire a skip bin. Alternatively, you can take the sods to a soil recycling site where they can improve its reusability and sell it to other customers.
Once you’ve cleared your lawn, you need to make note of all the irrigation lines and electrical wires that may be under the ground. Since you don’t want these getting damaged when you start fixing down your artificial turf, make sure to relocate them. Additionally, you should cap all sprinklers that will no longer be used. This will ensure that there are no leakages in your irrigation system once the turf has been laid.
2. Prepare the base
Next, you will need to prepare the subgrade surface. For the best results, you need to make sure that the dirt is as even as possible. You can use a flat spade and a landscaping rake to even out bumps and depressions. A level base will allow you to have a smooth and even lawn once the turf is installed.
When leveling out the base, make sure to take into account the overall slant of the land. The slopes of your property are a crucial part of your drainage system and need to be maintained throughout this process.
At this stage, it is recommended that you spray weed killer on the subgrade before moving on. It also helps to lay down a weed barrier on the top of the subgrade. This fabric barrier allows the water to seep through but doesn’t allow weeds to grow underneath your turf.
Once the subgrade is level, it’s time to install the base material. There are plenty to choose from, but two of the more common materials are crushed miscellaneous base (crushed rock) or decomposed granite. These materials allow the water to drain. Once again, the base material will need to be levelled.
Lastly, the base will need to be compacted using a plate compactor. By using this heavy vibrating plate, the rock underneath can be compressed, creating a solid foundation for your turf.
3. Take measurements
Before you buy rolls of synthetic grass, take proper measurements of your lawn so that you know how much you’ll need. Make sure to also take into account obstructions like trees or water features.
Of course, it’s always a good idea to have some allowance when you buy your turf. Having excess turf will ensure that you can cover the entirety of your lawn without unusual seams or gaps.
4. Roll out the synthetic turf
Once the synthetic grass arrives, roll it out to cover your whole lawn. When doing this, make sure to leave excess turf at the edges. This makes it easier to create a tight and clean perimeter. In this step, you will need a friend or a relative to help you smooth out any folds or bumps on the turf.
If you have multiple patches of turf, set them up so that the grass is pointing in the same direction. Also, make sure to trim the seams in the centre of your lawn. You can do this by turning over the turf and cutting the tarp underneath the grass. Use a utility knife for a straight cut. Most artificial grass should have marked rows underneath it, making it easier for you to make cleaner and precise cuts.
5. Nail it down
Now it’s time to trim and secure the perimeter of your turf. As you trim the edge, make sure to nail it down every 10cm or so. This will ensure that the grass doesn’t move while you’re making your way around the perimeter. Skip nailing the seams in the centre of the lawn. You will need to fold this area back to apply joining adhesive.
6. Apply adhesive to the seams
To fully secure your new turf, you will need to join the seams at the centre of your lawn. For this you will need a joining tape and/or an adhesive. There are products that combine both the tape and adhesive, meaning you only have to remove the paper backing and apply the tape accordingly.
You can also buy the seam tape and the liquid adhesive separately. With a non-adhesive seam tape, you will have to nail it down underneath. You will then have to apply the liquid adhesive on top of it. Next, ensure that the loose ends of the turf are firmly attached to the adhesive. Once it’s secure, you will need to peg down the seams so that it doesn’t move around.
7. Use white sand to protect the turf
Lastly, apply a sand filler to the grass. This has two purposes. First, it will make sure the blades remain upright. Secondly, it weighs down the turf, making it even more secure on the ground.
This was just a basic outline of the synthetic grass installation process. Since the features of every property vary, your experience might differ from the guides that you see online. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to cover every single problem that you might encounter.
This blog covered the installation process for private properties. If you want more information about synthetic turf in a sports setting, click here. If you have further questions, make sure to consult your local synthetic grass specialist.