5 Important Artificial Grass Installation Tips

5 Important Artificial Grass Installation Tips

 

There are several different methods that can be used when it comes to artificial grass installation.

The correct method to use will depend upon the site on which the grass is being installed.

For instance, the methods used when installing artificial grass on to concrete will be different to those chosen when installing artificial grass in place of an existing lawn.

Clearly there will be differing methods of ground preparation.

For advice as to which method will best suit your individual circumstances, our firm recommendation is to speak with a local installer and invite them to your property to conduct a site visit.

An experienced installer will be able to advise on the correct method to choose.

In order to give you some background knowledge we have published a guide on How to Install Artificial Grass on Concrete and you can also find out to install artificial grass in a typical lawn replacement installation on this page of our website.

As the ground preparation depends on the installation, generally the methods used to lay the artificial grass itself are very similar, regardless of the application.

In this guide, we’re going to be giving you 5 important artificial grass installation tips for laying artificial grass.

A professional installer will generally be well versed in the process and very familiar with these tips, but if you are looking to attempt a DIY installation, or if you would like some background knowledge, you’ll be sure to find this article very useful.

So, let’s begin with our first tip.

 

 

1.      Do Not Use Sharp Sand as Your Laying Course

 

Granite Dust Laying Course

On a typical lawn installation, the first stage is to remove the existing lawn.

From there, layers of aggregates are installed to provide your lawn’s foundation in preparation for laying the grass.

These layers will comprise a sub-base and a laying course.

For a sub-base, we recommend using either 50-75mm of MOT Type 1 or – if your existing garden suffers from poor drainage, or if you have dogs – we recommend using 10-12mm of granite or limestone chippings, to ensure a free draining sub-base.

However, for the laying course – the layer of aggregate that lies directly beneath your artificial grass – we strongly recommend that you use either granite or limestone dust, between 0-6mm in diameter at a depth of 25mm.

(to calculate how much aggregate you’ll need to install your artificial grass, use our handy calculators).

Originally, when artificial grass was installed in a residential environment, sharp sand was used as a laying course.

Unfortunately, some installers are still using sharp sand today, and there are even some manufacturers who still recommend it.

The only reason for recommending sharp sand over granite or limestone dust comes down purely to cost.

Per ton, sharp sand is slightly cheaper than limestone or granite dust.

However, there are problems with using sharp sand.

Firstly, artificial grass has perforations in the latex backing that allow water to drain through the artificial grass.

Up to 50 litres of water per square metre, per minute, can drain through artificial grass.

With this much water capable of pouring through your artificial grass, what happens over time is that the sharp sand will wash away, particularly if there is a fall on your artificial lawn.

This is bad news for your artificial grass, as the turf will become uneven and you will see noticeable ridges and dips in your lawn.

The second reason is that sharp sand moves around underfoot.

If your lawn will be receiving a high level of footfall, including from pets, then this will again result in dips and ruts in your turf where sharp sand has been used.

A further problem with sharp sand is that it encourages ants.

Ants will, over time, begin excavating through sharp sand and potentially building nests. This disruption to the laying course will likely cause an uneven artificial lawn.

Many people wrongly assume that the sharp sand will hold firm in the same way it does for block paving, but unfortunately this is not the case.

Because granite or limestone dust is far coarser than sharp sand, it binds together and provides a much better laying course.

The extra few pounds per ton in cost are certainly worth spending as they will ensure a much better finish to your fake lawn and provide a much longer lasting installation.

Whether you use limestone or granite depends entirely what is available locally to you, as you’ll probably find that one form is easier to get hold of than the other.

We recommend you try contacting your local builders’ merchants and aggregate suppliers to find out availability and costs.

 

 

2.      Use a Double Layer of Weed Membrane

 

Weed Membrane Applid to Laying Course Prioer To Artificial Grass Installation

This tip will help prevent weeds from growing through your artificial lawn.

After reading the previous tip, you’ll now be aware that part of an artificial grass installation involves removing the existing lawn.

As you might have guessed, it’s recommended that you install a weed membrane to prevent weed growth.

However, we recommend that you use two layers of weed membrane.

The first layer of weed membrane should be installed to the existing sub-grade. The sub grade is the earth that is left after excavating your existing lawn.

This first weed membrane will prevent weeds that are deeper in the soil from growing.

Without this first layer of weed membrane, there is the chance that some types of weeds will grow up through the layers of aggregates and disturb the surface of your artificial lawn.

The picture below shows an example of what can potentially happen if this layer of weed membrane is not installed.

Weeds Growing Through Artificial Grass

Additionally, we recommend installing a further layer just below your artificial grass.

This additional weed membrane provides an extra layer of protection by blocking out more light, which can encourage weed growth, and, furthermore, it can help to protect the latex backing.

Latex backing on artificial grass is designed to be extremely hard-wearing, but adding a further layer of membrane underneath your grass helps protect the latex from grinding against the coarse granite or limestone dust.

The membrane will also prevent the unnatural crunching sound that you can get when walking on artificial grass that has been laid directly on to the laying course.

 

 

3.      Allow the Artificial Grass to Acclimatise

Before cutting or joining your artificial grass, we highly recommend that you allow it to acclimatise to its new home.

This will make the installation process much easier to complete.

But how exactly do you allow artificial grass to acclimatise?

Luckily, the process is very easy as it requires you to do nothing!

Basically, all you’ll need to do is unroll your grass, position it in the approximate place that it is to be installed, and then allow it settle down.

Why is it important to do this?

In the factory, at the end of the artificial grass manufacturing process, a machine rolls up the artificial grass around plastic or cardboard tubes to allow for easily transportation.

This is also how your artificial grass will arrive when it is delivered to your home.

But because, up until this point, your artificial grass has effectively been squashed tightly whilst in roll format, it will need some time to settle down so that it lies completely flat.

Ideally this will be done with warm sun playing on the grass, as this allows the latex backing to warm up which, in turn, will allow any ridges or ripples to fall out of the artificial grass.

You’ll also find that it’s much easier to position and to cut once it has fully acclimatised.

Now, in an ideal world and if time isn’t an issue, you would leave your artificial grass for 24 hours to acclimatise.

We appreciate that this isn’t always possible, particularly for contractors, who’ll most likely have a deadline to meet.

If this is the case, it will still be possible to install your artificial grass, but it may take a little more time to position the turf and ensure a tight fit.

To help with this process a carpet Knee Kicker can be used to stretch out the artificial grass.

 

 

4.      Sand Infill

You’ll probably have heard differing opinions on artificial grass and sand infills.

However, we highly recommend that you use a silica sand infill for your artificial lawn.

There are several reasons for this:

  1. It adds ballast to the artificial grass. This ballast will hold the grass in position and prevent any ripples or ridges from appearing in your artificial lawn.
  2. It will improve the aesthetics of your lawn by enabling the fibres to remain upright.
  3. It improves drainage.
  4. It increases fire resistance.
  5. It protects the artificial fibres and the latex backing.

Many people have concerns that the silica sand will stick to people’s feet, and to the paws of dogs and other pets.

However, this is not the case, as the thin layer of sand will be sitting at the bottom of the fibres, which will prevent any direct contact with the sand.

We recommend that you apply approximately 4kg of silica/kiln-dried sand per square metre of artificial grass.

You can use our handy calculator below to work out how much sand you’ll need for your installation.

We have explored the topic of sand infill for artificial grass in much more depth in a previous article and if you would like further information regarding sand infills you’ll be sure to find this guide very useful.

 

 

5. Use a Foam Underlay for Artificial Grass on Concrete and Decking

 

Artificial Grass Underlay

Although artificial grass should never be laid directly on top of existing grass or soil, without a sub-base, it is possible to install artificial grass on to existing hard surfaces such as concrete, paving and decking.

These installations tend to be very quick and easy to complete.

Obviously, this is because the ground preparation is already complete.

These days, it seems to be becoming increasingly common to install artificial grass on to decking as many people are finding decking to be slippery and sometimes quite dangerous to walk on.

Luckily this can be easily rectified with artificial grass.

If your existing surface is structurally sound, then there should not be any reason why you can’t install artificial grass on top of it.

However, one golden rule when installing artificial grass on concrete, paving or decking is to use an artificial grass foam underlay.

This is because any undulations in the surface below will appear through the artificial grass.

For example, when laid on a deck, you would see each individual decking board through your artificial grass.

To prevent this from happening, install a shockpad to a deck or concrete first and then fix the grass on to the foam.

The foam will mask any unevenness in the surface below.

The foam can be attached to decking using decking screws or, for concrete and paving, artificial grass adhesive can be used.

Not only will foam prevent visible bumps and ridges, but it will also make for a much softer artificial grass that will feel great underfoot, whilst also providing protection should any falls occur.

 

 

Conclusion

Artificial grass installation is a relatively simple process – if you know what you are doing.

As with anything, there are certain techniques and methods that work best, and hopefully this article has helped you gain an insight into some of the tips and tricks involved.

We generally recommend that you use the services of a professional to install your artificial grass, as you are more likely to get a better, longer lasting installation.

If you would like some help in finding a competent artificial grass installer, click the link to read our previous article, 17 Questions to Help You Choose an Artificial Grass Installer.

Installing artificial grass can also be very physically demanding and this should be considered before attempting a DIY installation.

However, we do understand that sometimes the additional cost involved may prohibit you from using a professional installer.

With some help, the right tools, good basic DIY skills and a few days of hard work, it is possible to install your own artificial grass.

We hope that you have found this article useful – if you have any other installation tips or tricks that you would like to share with us, please leave a comment below.

 

39 Responses to “5 Important Artificial Grass Installation Tips”

  1. John cronin

    hi ,looking to use some of this artificial grass .I have 2 options .At the moment there is a type1 base prepared and i can follow the procedure for laying on to a layer of dust etc as you have discribed.However i also have the the old slabs which were taken up a long time ago(hindsight is a great thing)and i could relay them and put the grass on top if that made for a much better job?Any advice appreciated.
    John

    • Neo Grass

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your question.

      I would recommend installing a 25mm laying course of granite or limestone dust, following the procedures laid out here, rather than reinstating the old paving slabs.

      Hope that helps and if you have any further questions please let me know.

      Kind Regards,

      Will

  2. Chrissy Beere

    I have had what I thought was a professional grass layer. He used limestone NOT limestone DUST, so it’s a little lumpy under feet, this I see is not correct.? Please advise me what needs to be done.Thankyou.

  3. Daniel Green-Harwood

    I have recently been installing my artificial grass foundation and have just fined my wooden boarders and leveling off my 10ton of Type 1 MOT. My Uncle is an aggregate supplier and has advised my that a few of our local artificial grass installers use concrete dust as the laying course because it compacts the same as the decomposed granite! I am not entirely convinced that this is the best idea though. I want to do a proper job, don’t really want to cut corners and I’m not really fussed about saving a few quid just for the sake of it.
    What are your thoughts on this?

    • Neo Grass

      Good afternoon Daniel,

      Thanks for getting in contact with us and sorry about the delay in coming back to you.
      As we have never had any experience of using concrete dust then we wouldn’t want to say whether this is ok to use or not.
      We would always recommend using the granite dust, or Grano as it’s also known.

  4. Benjirooqpr

    Thanks for all the info….really helpful whilst preparing our lawn for artificial turf.
    Beware when ordering grano or stone dust through selco though…I ordered two jumbo bags but they sent sharp sand instead as according to them it’s the same thing (though it clearly isn’t).
    Beware!

  5. Afternoon, great tips..thank you, I’ve recently used 10mm slate chippings as my sub base and would like to ask if it’s possible to double up on the membrane on the top before the turf as I’ve none before the sub base ? Also is it possible to use foam shock pad underlay on the chippings, then the turf?

    Kind regards

    • Neo Grass

      Hi Lee,
      Sorry for the delay in coming back to you.
      It is absolutely fine to double up on the weed membrane, the more layers the merrier really.
      If you wanted to lay a shock pad down first we would recommend that you have a top layer of granite dust down at 25mm before applying the shockpad.
      If you put shockpad straight onto the chippings the chippings will still be able to cut through the shockpad.

  6. Am I right in thinking we would need 20mm limestone chippings (we have dogs) at 10-12mm depth and then adding a layer of grano dust at a depth of 25mm on top?

    Would doubling up the membrane trap dogs urine? I really want to do everything we can to avoid any nasty odours.

    Thanks

    • Neo Grass

      Hi Gemma,
      Yes you are correct about the Limestone Chippings and Grano Dust, but you could also use the Limestone Dust if that’s easier for you to obtain.
      We only suggest putting the weed membrane down the very bottom of the limestone chippings and omit the top layer before the grass goes down, otherwise, as you rightly say, it can sometimes inhibit the urine smell.
      Kind regards,
      Wendy

  7. Darren

    I have just lifted some old artificial grass 4m by 5m that has been down for some years! There is no sub base just rock hard soil, am I able to lay a shock pad then the new grass or should I lay granite dust first ? The old grass was old lifted as it was ruined by a paint spillage and the ground is still flat and even.
    Thanks

    • Neo Grass

      Hi Darren,
      As long as you are confident that the surface is level enough and that the area drains properly, then you should be fine to lay the shock pad followed by the grass.
      Kind regards,
      Wendy

  8. Hi, I’ve just laid artificial grass and used kiln dried sand to infill – it acclimatised for 24 hours then we fitted it – after fitting I sprayed with water from the hose, not a massive amount but enough
    Question is, there was no pooling of water, but the next morning the grass was still very wet, if you kicked a football across it water sprayed up
    Is this normal?
    Thanks

    • Neo Grass

      Hi Tom,
      Firstly, you need to double check with your supplier of grass that the backing was definitely porous, secondly, how did you apply your Kiln Dried Sand??
      We always recommend putting it in a seed spreader to ensure that you get a really even spread right the way across the grass.
      If you applied it by hand, it may have formed clumps, which will of course end up blocking the drainage holes on the grass.
      Kind regards,
      Wendy

  9. toby keogh

    Hi there, we have a concrete slab but it’s at all different levels. To level it up can we use the grano dust straight into the concrete to level (about 60mm at deepest point) or is it worth pouring concrete to level/mot sub base then grano?

    Many thanks

    • Can you lay the artificial turf on a dry mix of sharp sand and cement? I’ve already purchased the sand as alot of other websites say that’s what should be used. Then I discovered that’s not the case. Annoyed at some supposed reputable sites misinforming it’s readers/customers. Thanks for any advice you can give.

      • Neo Grass

        Hi David,

        It’s true that we do recommend your final layer needs to be composed of Granite or Limestone dust. This is due to it being a much more stable surface after compaction.
        You can use the sand but it definitely doesn’t provide such a good supportive base.
        Kind regards,
        Wendy

    • Neo Grass

      Hi Laura,
      There is a product you can apply to the surface called Zeofil. It is a completely natural product made from volcanic matter that absorbs the urine, turning the acid to alkaline, thus eliminating the smell.
      Kind regards,
      Wendy

  10. Joanne

    Please help!!

    We are in the final stages, almost ready for artificial grass to be put down.
    We dug out existing turf/soil, laid weed membrane, laid sub base of MOT type 1, compacted well. Then onto the stonedust, we have laid the majority and compacted (then run out of time on the weekend to finish).
    The plan was to finish Friday, however after some rain overnight we have woke up to lots of surface water 😕 it doesn’t seem to be draining.
    The area in the garden didn’t have any drainage issues before, where have we gone wrong?

    • Neo Grass

      Hi Joanne,
      It could be that you have put too much granite dust down. We recommend to not go above 25mm deep as otherwise you can have drainage issues like you are experiencing.
      Kind regards,
      Wendy

  11. Mark Pring

    Hi, I’m at the point of laying the grass but in a bit of a dilemma. The area has been prepared in 2 halves using sleeper, mot 1 etc, allowing for a pathway leading to a lower patio area. what is best? – Lay the path / patio first and cut the grass to the edge of the sleepers, glue and tack, or lay the grass first with say 50mm – 70mm over hang, glue and bend the grass over the edge of the sleeper and tack. Then trim off excess grass from the internal bend and then lay the slabs. The thought behind this is that the grass would have no “edges” as such and would produce an almost flat seamless transition between lawn and path. However, would the grass bend that tight and would it have any long term effects on it?

    Cheers
    Mark

      • Hello Wendy,
        After reading the Neograss advice and comments I’m getting confused about sub-base aggregate size. If deciding to use limestone for better drainage should the limestone chips be 10 mm size or 20 mm size? (I’m not talking about the depth of sub-base)
        Regards, Stephen

        • Hi Stephen,
          As per our discussion this morning, you are correct, in as much as there is an area on one of our blog posts that contain slightly conflicting information.
          When an area is prone to waterlogging then we would suggest to use 20mm Limestone Chippings. Ideally it is best to have a layer of these around 35-40mm in depth, followed by a layer of MOT Type 1 at about 10-15mm, followed by your top layer of Granite or Limestone dust at a depth of no more than 25mm.
          Kind regards,
          Wendy

          • Thank you Wendy for all your advice here online and by telephone recently. Some readers might be interested in these notes:
            Not all aggregates and MOT-1 are consistent from different suppliers so check carefully when ordering. I’ve come across MOT 40mm-down, 20mm-down, and 10/12 mm-down (“down” meaning the maximum size stone down to dust so the aggregate contains all-important smaller chips and fines/dust). My local supplier has 20mm limestone chips that are clean and only suitable if using as the initial base layer to improve drainage, their 6mm limestone is also clean chips containing no smaller aggregates or dust so not suitable for the top layer underneath the grass.
            At one location I’ve used 20mm clean limestone chips for drainage (depth 40mm), 20mm MOT (depth 40mn), then 5mm granite/grano dust (depth 20mm) taking care NOT to go over 25mm for the top laying course. So the total compacted aggregates are 100mm that happened to be the readily available depth on this occasion with no excavation. Now just waiting for a delivery of Neograss weed membrane.
            I quite like the suggestion that if there is a good retaining perimeter that Neograss’s special silica sand “topping” might be enough to hold the lawn in place: minimising the need for “U” pins, or clout nails.
            Regards, Stephen

  12. Hi,I’m laying some artificial grass but I have dogs so want to avoid any smells what is the best base to use we were thinking membrane,mot 1 to get the level then 50 mm of limestone chippings 20mm in size then 25 mm of granite dust then the grass,would there be anything else.Thank you

    • Hi Nicola,
      Looks like you’ve done your homework. The only thing we would say to change is reverse the first part. So Membrane, followed by the 20mm Chippings, followed by a levelling amount of MOT Type 1, followed by the Granite Dust layer.
      Kind regards,
      Wendy

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