A great water and money saving investment for homeowners with yards of all sizes and applications. Easy to install and maintain, artificial grass can help home owners maximize their home investment, enhance quality of life and transform unused areas into functional living spaces. We meet a lot of homeowners who prefer to install their new artificial grass on their own, so we put together a guide covering some of the essential artificial turf installation tools you’ll need before you start installing your turf. Whether you are planning on laying artificial turf on decking, concrete or an existing natural surface, our guide on how to install artificial grass will help you complete the process.
Interesting in installing artificial grass in your backyard?
Artificial Turf Installation Guide
Tools Needed for Artificial Grass Installation
As a handy homeowner, there’s a good chance you already have some of these tools. However, there are quite a few that you may need to purchase before you start your project. We recommend you purchase tools and accessories specifically designed for artificial turf, as they will ensure proper installation. Using the right tools may mean the difference between turf that constantly needs repair and turf that lasts for a decade.
- Tape Measure
- Tamper Tool
- Cutting Tool
- Turf Infill
- Turf Nails
- Seam Tape
- Turf Glue
- Push Broom
Measure your lawn and calculate costs
Measure your yard with a 100-foot tape measure. Additionally, you can use an aerial map application like Google Maps to determine how much turf you will need. Read our guide on Artificial Grass Cost Breakdown.
Find the right artificial grass for your application
Installing artificial turf is nothing short of an investment and if you want your turf to last long, making the right choice is necessary. Read our guide on Picking the Right Artificial Grass.
Remove the existing lawn and top level of soil
It’s time to remove that lawn that has caused you so much frustration over the years! It’s recommended you remove 4 inches of your existing lawn or base. Keep in mind earth does add up fast. By rough grading the area and uncovering everything underneath including electric wiring, irrigation, pipes, etc–we can get a Ensure you take the proper measurements to dispose of your existing base correctly. Check your local city’s website for the information you need to properly dispose of your soil.
Plan your drainage
If you’re installing artificial grass atop well-draining soil, you’ll have little to no problems. This is because synthetic grass drains great. If on top of poorly draining soil, install an efficient drainage system. If your location experiences very light rain, drainage gaps every six inches around the perimeter should be enough.
Lay weed barrier
Weed barrier is optional but this extra step eliminates the hassle of weeds poking through your synthetic turf. It won’t break the bank to include in your installation plan. This is that extra precaution in case your weed killer stops working just as you’re about to install your turf, sometimes even after the turf has been laid out. The weedbarrier does just what it says. It prevents weeds and grass from growing up through your fake grass.
Add the base
With a landscaping rake, smooth out the base material. You can make use of a string, bubble level, and ruler to grade flat surfaces to a 2–3% slope. This downslope will contribute to the efficiency of your drainage system. Depending on where you live geographically, the material you use for your subbase and the depth in which you need to dig could vary. Places like Arizona and Nevada actually have decomposed granite and crushed rock beneath it already. Regions that experience harsh winters like Minnesota or Wisconsin, need a trench of at least 6-8 inches to accommodate the extreme weather that makes the grass expand and contract. But for an area with a mild climate, buy gravel, crushed rock, decomposed granite, or pretty much any material smaller than ⅜ inches. Pour around 3 – 4 inches of the base material to improve drainage and prevent the grass from slumping.
Roll out the lawn
Roll out your artificial grass. Be very careful not to drag your turf across your freshly prepped base. It is best to let the turf sit in the sun for 30 mins to an hour to let it expand prior to install. If you are working with multiple rolls, it is very important that the blade direction and stitch patterns are facing the same way. Crossing blade directions will result in poor appearance. Carefully nudge and move your artificial grass into the proper position.
Laying your seam
Lay your seam fabric over the base layers, serving as the layer just right below your grass.
Stretch out the turf
Using a carpet stretcher or a carpet kicker is an optional but otherwise helpful step. A carpet stretcher can stretch the strips of turf shortly before you fasten or seam them. Stretching the turf using this tool eliminates wrinkles, reduces expansion brought about by heat, and helps secure the surface tighter to the ground.
Trim the turf
Trim at least by 2 – 3 stitch rows out. The edges of the grass patch are the weakest parts of the turf, so as to avoid the edges of your yard caving to either side, eliminate the problem. Cut it off! You can use a utility knife or a carpet cutter to cut the underside of the turf. For long cuts, cut short distances at a time and repeatedly compare the edges to make sure there are no visible gaps. You may also use a marker to draw a line guide onto the back of the turf.
Secure the turf
Stake down the turf along the perimeter every three feet or so. If desired, add edging, rock or another border. Use landscaping anchor pins or 4 – 6 inch galvanized stakes to fasten the turf in place, just around the perimeter at around 6 – 8 inch intervals, also along the seam. Although you need to hammer them flat, you should be extra careful and avoid excessive hammering as it can cause dips in your lawn. For a more secure fit, offset the stakes on opposite sides instead of using 2 lines of stakes opposite each other.
The last step in the artificial turf installation process is to spread the infill. Majority of artificial turf require specialty infill to keep the blades standing, to weigh the grass down, and to provide the cushioning for intensive use. Before applying the infill material, make sure that the lawn is completely dry. You can use a drop spreader or simply scatter the infill by hand. Rake in every layer until smooth. For the best results scatter 1.5 inches to grass with face weights of up to 60 oz. Anything more than that face weight should know you’re done when approximately half the blade length has been covered.
Just as with any home improvement project, DIY is a way to significantly reduce the overall cost of your turf, and, yes, you absolutely can install the grass yourself.
Care & Maintenance
In addition to the cost of equipment and supplies, it takes time to maintain a natural grass lawn. It’s a weekly commitment from spring through early fall, sometimes almost year-round if our winter is warm. Artificial grass requires very little maintenance. A quick rinse removes dust or debris, and brushing it now and then with a rake or broom keeps the blades upright even in high-traffic areas.
Learn more with our Care & Maintenance Guide.