Fitting Advice for Artificial Grass
To fit your artificial grass you will need the following tools and materials, most of which we can supply for you.
- Spirit Level
- Stanley Knife
- Whacker Plate (recommended)
- Turf cutter (optional but would come in useful for larger areas anything over 40 square metres of lawn)
- Artificial Grass
- Weed Barrier
- 4" galvanised nails (1 nail for every 15cm of the perimeter)
- Treated wooden stakes and treated wooden perimeter
- Crushed stone (optional)
- Sharp sand
- Joining tape and glue gun (if joins required)
In preparation for fitting your artificial grass, the first thing you will need to do is to remove any existing grass, this can be done with a turf cutter or a sharp spade. You will need to continue excavating until you find solid ground, once the ground is solid under foot you will then need to compact the ground, this can be done by using a vibrating plate or just the back of a spade. It is not recommended to lay artificial grass over existing grass without removing it first, because if the soil was to move it would cause ridges and bumps in your artificial lawn, many people do lay it directly onto soil but to ensure the best result it is best to have a solid base first. If you have drainage issues then a good base would be 75mm deep, the deeper your base the better the drainage.
TOP TIP: Using a turf cutter, especially on large areas will help speed up the process
If you haven’t already you can put a decorative edging around your lawn, you will need to create a simple wooden perimeter around the area to secure the grass too, once the grass is installed you wont be able to see this so it doesn't need to be decorative, you can just use simple rough cut timber. Loosely lay your timber where you want it to be against the edge of the lawn area and then drive some wooden stakes into the ground on the inside of the timber, the stakes need to be about 40-50cm apart and the top of the stakes should be at the height you want the bottom of the grass to be. Once the stakes are in place screw your treated timber to the stakes to create your perimeter, later on you will nail your grass to this perimeter to secure your lawn.
3. It is recommended to put two layers of weed suppressing sheets down, to make sure that no weeds come through. Put the first layer down on top of the soil that you have just exposed. Lay the weed barrier down and cut to size, there is no need to secure it as the layer you are putting on next will be heavy enough to keep it in place.
Now you need to create the drainage, whatever the depth was that you decided to dig, this is the stage where you fill it back up again, it is recommended that you use crushed stone, which you can buy from most major DIY shops, it doesn’t matter what it looks like because it wont be seen but does create a good draining base, if you feel that drainage is not an issue for you, you can just use sharp sand, but crushed stone is the best for draining the lawn and it also creates a firm base that is unlikely to move.
Put enough crushed stone down so that it very nearly fills the hole, remembering that the top of the wooden perimeter is the top of your base which will give you good visual guidance. Using the back of a rake, loosely level out the stone, you then need to compact the drainage base, the best tool for this is a whacker plate, this helps do the job quickly so is definitely worth considering using for larger areas, if you were to not use the whacker plate or a similar tool, you risk the base not being fully compact and this could cause your lawn to sink or move over time, so it really is beneficial to use one.
TOP TIP: If you already have good drainage then you could just lay sharp sand instead of the crushed stone as well, another method of compacting the ground is using wooden boards and then walking on them, but it is a lot more recommended to use a whacker plate
Now the base has been flattened you can now add a layer of sharp sand to create a smooth base and to once again aid drainage, it is recommended that you lay about 15mm-20mm of sharp sand and then compact it, ideally by using a whacker plate, to make sure that the ground is level use a spirit level all the way across the base, unless you want a slope in your lawn, and importantly it needs to be completely level with the top of the wooden perimeter.
TOP TIP: This stage may not need to be done, if your base is already well compacted you can just lay the artificial grass over the crushed stone, but sharp sand does provide and extra level of drainage and also means that the base for the grass to sit on is completely smooth.
Now that you’ve created a base, its time to lay the grass, it is recommended at this stage that you lay another weed suppressing sheet, this is an optional thing as you will have already laid a layer before. make sure you lay at least one layer as it is important that no weed can push up through the lawn. Roll out your lawn over the top of your base, then using a sharp Stanley knife cut the grass to shape making sure that it butts right up to the edges, ensure that you keep the knife sharp, it is a good idea to replace the blade after every 5m-10m of cutting.
Just like real grass, artificial grass looks different depending on the way it is laid as the pile has a different direction.
If you wanted to create real grass Stripes, you can lay the lawn in different directions for each stripe, if you don't want stripes it is important to lay joining grass with the same pile direction, you will know by just looking if you have done this or not, as one direction will have a silvering that you get on real grass and the other direction will be a darker green colour, make sure that before cutting you roll out the lawn first to check.
Even if you don't have to join your grass you should lay it out first to see which effect your prefer as you may think the silvering effect is better or you may prefer the darker green, make sure you stretch the lawn to ensure that there are no ridges or bumps in it, the grass is easily cut with a sharp knife so this stage is rather simple.
If you don’t have two pieces of grass to join you can skip this stage. If your garden is a large area then you may have to join two pieces of the lawn together. This process is made simple by using joining tape and glue, once you have cut both pieces of your lawn to size, you will then need to apply the glue, making sure that the two pieces butt up to each other correctly with no gaps or overlaps, you then need to lift 20cm of each lawn leaving a 40cm gap along the join, when using the adhesive and standard tape, lay the tape down first in the gap and then in a zigzag pattern apply the glue to ensure you are getting maximum coverage, you could also use self adhesive tape, for this you just lay the tape down and remove the backing to reveal the sticky side, although this method is not recommended for areas of high usage such as where sport will be played as it never fully sets unlike the adhesive and joining tape.
Once the glue is applied or you have revealed the sticky tape, lay down the the first piece of lawn and walk along the join to secure it, then lay the second piece down and pull the grass so that it butts up with the first piece so that you are left with a non visible join, once your happy with the join, once again walk along it to secure it in place, you will have a few minutes before the glue sets so that you will have chance to adjust it if you need to. Once you are satisfied ruffle the grass up over the join to make sure that its not visible.
It is advised that you secure the lawn to make sure that it doesn't move, the easiest way of doing this is to nail 4inch galvanised nails in at a distance of about 15cm around the perimeter of the lawn, you need to make sure that you have stretched out the lawn before you secure, to make sure that there are no bumps or ridges in your lawn, this will require two people, one on each side of the lawn to make sure it gets a good stretch out. Once the nails have been hammered in, brush over the area just with your hand to make sure none of the grass blades have been caught by the nail as this will result in a small bare patch showing, the nails will be invisible as the grass blades should cover them.
All you need to do now is to give your lawn a brush over, during transport artificial grass can flatten, so it just need a brush over with a stiff brush to make sure the blades of grass stick upwards and then you have finished installing your artificial lawn.
These instructions are based on you laying artificial grass onto soil, usually where there had already been a previous lawn. If you were wanting to lay over a balcony or roof terrace or any other surfaces that are hard, all you need to do is make sure the area is clean and tidy and free from any debris and then glue the grass to the surface using an adhesive.
If you wanted to lay artificial grass on to areas like decking it is advisable that you lay and then screw down marine ply on top of the decking, this then makes sure that the surface is flat and even to lay the grass on to.