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:
- Clear the area where you’re laying artificial grass
- Dig the area out to 100mm depth
- Prepare the base material and protective layer against weeds
- Roll out the artificial grass
- Cut and tidy the edges
- 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:
- Turf cutter
- 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
- 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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.