22 Essential Tools for Installing Artificial Grass
Artificial grass can transform dull lifeless lawns into lush green areas, perfect for all the family and their pets to enjoy, whilst demanding very little maintenance.
Because of the wide range of benefits, it’s little wonder that many people are now choosing to have artificial grass installed in their gardens.
When it comes to the installation of artificial grass, we always recommend that you use an experienced professional for the best results.
Their knowledge and experience will ensure a perfect finish that will prove to be an excellent investment and prolong the lifespan of your artificial lawn.
Even the best quality artificial grass cannot make up for a poor installation.
However, if you have the time, the patience and the correct tools, it’s certainly not impossible for a DIYer to install their fake grass themselves.
In our latest article, we are looking at 22 tools that are essential for artificial grass installation.
We’ve also included 4 additional tools and machinery that for a one-off DIY installation are unnecessary, but which the professional installer will be sure to find make their life much easier, whilst also increasing productivity and saving them money in the long run.
Having the correct tools to install artificial grass is the key to success. It can be the difference between a good or a bad installation, as well as saving you hours of time.
You’ll find this list to be a useful checklist. We recommend you refer to it before commencing a project, as it’s important to make sure you have the correct tools ready to go; after all, there’s nothing more frustrating than having to dash out to your local DIY store halfway through the job.
Let’s take a look at each separate tool in detail.
Whether you’re a pro or a DIYer, we highly recommend using a turf cutter to remove an existing lawn.
These can be hired in from local tool hire shops for relatively little cost and can save you from hours of back-breaking digging.
Turf cutters will cut existing lawns into easily removed sections of turf that can be rolled up and disposed of, and they can remove several inches of soil with each pass.
The ground preparation stage is the most physical aspect of any artificial grass installation.
You’ll need a good quality wheelbarrow to cart the excavations out of the garden and you’ll find it essential again to bring in the aggregates for the sub-base.
A good quality shovel will be needed to scoop up rolls of sod and to load up your wheelbarrow with the aggregates needed for the sub-base.
Unfortunately, your turf cutter may not be able to reach every corner of your lawn. A useful tool to remove the existing lawn in these out of reach areas is a pick, which can be used to scrape away the turf quickly and easily.
You’ll need a claw hammer to install nails around the perimeter of your lawn if you’re using timber as a retaining edge, or U-pins if you choose not to use timber.
The claw of the hammer can be used to remove any bent nails or U-pins that may bend during the installation.
A club hammer or sledgehammer is useful when driving stakes into the ground to secure your timber edge restraint to.
If you are installing timber edges, a hand saw will be required to cut them down to the required lengths
Rotary washing lines can easily be placed within an artificial lawn – the base/spike will just need to be cut around to ensure easy access.
During the installation is the perfect time to replace or reposition an old rotary dryer.
The new washing line base/spike will need to be set into concrete to secure it in place, and a spirit level will be useful to ensure the washing line will sit level.
8.Tape Measures (Long and Short)
We recommend having an 8m tape or, if you have a large lawn, a 30m tape, to ensure accurate measurements of your lawn are taken and carefully marked out.
You should always double or even triple check your measurements to make sure you’ll have enough artificial grass to cover the entire area.
When grading aggregates, it’s highly recommended that you use a good quality rake to make light work of achieving a level finish for your new lawn.
Another essential tool on our list is a vibrating plate compactor.
An artificial lawn is only as good as the groundworks underneath and a key part of a strong, long-lasting base is adequate compaction of the sub-base material.
We recommend thoroughly compacting your sub-base layers by passing over them in several different directions.
Like turf cutters, plate compactors can easily be sourced from your local tool hire centre for a relatively low cost.
After thoroughly compacting the laying course (ideally comprising granite or limestone 0-6mm dust), you’ll notice minor surface marks left by the plate compactor.
These marks can be quickly and easily ironed out with a float.
Prior to compacting either granite or limestone dust, we highly recommend spraying enough water to dampen the laying course.
This helps the particles to bind together, or compact, to provide a solid finish and prevent the dust from picking up and blowing around the garden.
Once the installation is complete it’s advisable to hose down your new lawn to aid settlement of the sand infill and to wash away any fine dust on the surface of the grass, leaving a squeaky-clean finish.
Cans of spray paint are useful in marking the area for your new lawn, as well as where you intend the joins to be positioned.
Having access to a Stanley knife is essential when installing fake grass. You’ll need a good quality retractable knife to cut your synthetic grass to fit your garden, as well us cutting any joints, as necessary.
15.Spare Blades (Hooked and Standard)
The key to successfully cutting artificial grass is using good quality, razor-sharp blades.
The tough latex backing of artificial grass can quickly blunt Stanley knife blades and therefore it’s essential to buy good quality blades and have plenty of spares to hand.
A pair of sharp scissors is always a useful tool to have close at hand.
It’s normal for there to be a few elevated fibres on your roll of artificial grass and scissors are great for quickly and easily trimming them back to the correct size.
You may also find them handy when dealing with joins in artificial grass. In some instances, you may find that your join has a ‘Mohawk’ appearance, where the fibres have been pushed together, causing them to be slightly raised from the surrounding fibres.
Scissors can be used to trim the raised fibres along the length of the join to create an invisible seam.
Joining tape is used to secure 2 pieces of grass together.
You’ll notice that there is a textured side and a shiny side to the joining tape. The tape should always be placed shiny side down and the glue applied to the textured side to ensure proper bonding.
If done correctly, the join should not be visible.
The glue will last for many years (longer than the lifespan of the artificial grass) and will certainly be secure enough not to come apart due to any form of usage, whether that’s a football match or the pet dog.
For joins, we recommend using the tubs as they provide a much better coverage to the joining tape.
You’ll want to apply the adhesive to the entire width of the joining tape at a thickness of approximately 2mm. Be careful not to go too thick with the glue or it may need up getting on the fibres when you flap the grass back over.
The cartridges are applied using a manual applicator glue gun, but can still be useful for securing the perimeter of the grass to concrete or steel edgings.
A flooring trowel can be used to evenly spread the adhesive across the width of the joining tape.
Be sure to clean it immediately after use as the adhesive will begin to set after 30 minutes and, once properly cured, will be extremely difficult to remove.
20.Carpet Knee Kicker
Carpet knee kickers are extremely important tools when it comes to installing artificial grass, whether you’re a pro or just carrying out a one-off DIY installation.
Carpet knee kickers are great for stretching your artificial grass to remove stubborn wrinkles and ripples, and to position pieces of grass together to form joins.
There are relatively inexpensive to buy – or to hire – and will help you achieve a ripple-free high-quality finish.
Artificial grass is transported in rolls which results in the fibres lying flat against the latex backing when you first unroll your fake grass.
If you don’t have access to a power brush (see below) then a stiff broom can be used to invigorate the fibres and ensure that the sand dressing is brushed to the bottom of the pile.
Of course, a broom is great for clearing up any mess at the end of the job, too.
It’s useful to have a bottle of white spirit and a clean cloth on hand, in the event you happen to spill any joining adhesive onto your artificial grass.
Should this happen, the first thing to do is wipe off as much excess as possible with a cloth or off-cut of artificial grass.
If any staining is left, then you can use a small amount of white spirit to remove it.
Professional Artificial Grass Installation Tools
The above list of tools will cover everything you need for a basic installation.
However, for the professional installer looking to save time and complete the job to the highest standard, the following items are highly recommended to complete the professional installers toolkit.
Artificial grass can be very heavy and it can require several members of staff to carry a roll of grass into a garden.
To save your back and make your life easier, we highly recommend purchasing a carpet trolley from a carpet equipment supplier.
Carpet trolleys make very light work of carrying artificial grass and mean that rolls can be transported by just one person, with ease.
A good quality dropspreader, capable of holding a large quantity of silica sand, can increase the productivity of any professional installation team, as it will dramatically reduce the amount of time needed to apply the sand dressing.
The dropspreader will also ensure even distribution of the sand and prevent excessive infill, which can affect the feel of the grass underfoot.
Power brushes are used at the end of an installation to fibrillate the fibres prior to installing a silica sand infill.
The brush is then passed over the grass for a second time after the dressing has been applied to ensure the sand sinks to the bottom of the pile.
Rather than using a stiff broom, a mechanical power brush will save the professional lots of time and money, whilst also providing a top-class finish.
Power brushes can also be used to reinvigorate old worn artificial grass back to an upright position.
The most dreaded part of an installation for any pro is the tidy up at the end of the day.
However, a leaf blower will make light work of the tidy up process and can be used to remove loose fibres and leaves, and to blow away excessive sand infill on the surface of the finished AstroTurf installation.
Your clients will be grateful to be left with a tidy garden, too.
The key to long-lasting artificial grass is just as much in the installation as it is in the choice of grass itself.
You can have the best artificial grass that money can buy, but if the installation is faulty, then it will show in the finished result.
This could mean your artificial lawn may not last as long or look as good as it otherwise might.
We always recommend to our customers that they choose a professional installer, preferably a NeoGrass approved installer, to carry out their artificial grass installation on their behalf.
However, if you possess good DIY skills and have the time and patience to commit to installing your fake grass yourself, then the DIY route may be worth seriously considering.
Hopefully you’ve found this article a useful checklist in gathering together the right tools for the job.
Let us know if you have found any other tools or machines useful in installing artificial grass by leaving us a comment below.