How to Install Artificial Grass on Concrete – A Step-by-Step Guide
Typically, artificial grass is installed to replace an existing garden lawn. But it’s also great for transforming old, tired concrete patios and paths.
Although we always recommend using a professional to install your artificial grass, you may be surprised to find out just how easy it is to install artificial grass on concrete.
There’s a whole host of benefits with artificial grass, too – it’s very low maintenance, there’s no mud and mess, and it’s perfect for kids and pets.
Because of this, many people are choosing to transform their gardens with artificial turf.
There are many different artificial grass applications, the obvious one being a simple lawn replacement in a residential garden. But other uses can include schools and playgrounds, sports pitches, golf putting greens, events and exhibitions, and artificial grass can also be installed inside the home, where it can make for a great feature in children’s bedrooms, for example!
As you might expect, each application requires different installation methods and techniques – there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation.
The correct method will, of course, depend upon the application.
Artificial grass can be installed on top of plain old concrete, block paving and even patio paving slabs.
In this guide, we are going to be discussing how to install artificial grass on concrete and paving.
We’ll look at how to prepare the existing concrete ready for installation, the tools you’ll need to carry out the job, and give you a handy step-by-step guide explaining exactly how to carry out the installation.
But to start, let’s look at some of the benefits of installing artificial grass on concrete.
What are the Benefits of Installing Artificial Grass on Concrete?
Brighten Up Old, Tired Concrete and Paving
Let’s face it, concrete isn’t exactly the most attractive looking surface, is it?
In most instances, concrete can look quite unattractive in a garden. However, artificial grass will transform your tired looking concrete into a beautiful lush, green lawn.
Most people will agree that a garden is supposed to be green, but it’s understandable that lots of people choose not to have a real lawn due to the maintenance, mud and mess that’s involved.
However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to have a lawn.
There is very little maintenance involved with artificial grass and, when installed correctly, it should last up to twenty years.
You’ll be surprised by the transformation that fake grass can make to your garden.
Create a Non-Slip Surface
When wet or icy, concrete can be a very slippery surface to walk on.
Moss growth and other plant organisms are a common problem on stone, concrete, and other surfaces that remain shaded and fairly moist throughout the day.
This can also cause the concrete in your garden to become slippery, again making it dangerous to walk on.
For those with young children or who aren’t quite as spritely as they used to be, this can be a real hazard.
However, artificial grass on concrete will provide a completely non-slip surface that, when properly maintained, will be completely free from moss growth.
And unlike concrete, it will not freeze – preventing your patio or path from turning into an ice rink.
Cheap and Easy to Install
When installing artificial grass, the secret to its longevity is establishing a solid sub-base. This can involve a lot of work.
However, with concrete, you may already have an excellent sub-base ready to install the artificial grass on to.
This has two very important benefits.
Firstly, it means that the back-breaking groundworks are already complete (the most physical aspect of installing artificial grass is the groundworks stage).
Typically, with a standard artificial grass installation (i.e. to replace a lawn), the existing grass must be removed, either by hand or by using a turf cutter.
The aggregates, which will make up the sub-base, then need to be wheelbarrowed into the garden.
With an average lawn usually measuring somewhere around 50m2, this can equate to around 5m3 of excavations to remove and dispose of, and equally around 5m3 of aggregates to wheelbarrow into the garden.
And secondly, not only will it save you work, but it’s also going to help you financially as well.
You’ll save money on turf cutter rental costs, skip hire costs and, of course, on the cost of the sub-base material itself.
Therefore, one of the major advantages of installing artificial grass on concrete is that it’s relatively quick and inexpensive to do.
Important Considerations Before Installing Artificial Grass Onto Concrete
Before we go ahead and show you step-by-step how to install fake grass on concrete, there are a few things that you’ll need to check:
Is Your Concrete Suitable?
Unfortunately, not all concrete is suitable for the installation of artificial grass.
You’ll need the concrete to be in a reasonable condition; you can have the best artificial grass money can buy, but the secret to long-lasting artificial grass is to lay it on a solid foundation.
If there are large cracks running through your concrete, which have caused sections of it to lift and come loose, then it’s highly unlikely that installing artificial grass directly onto it will be possible.
If this is the case, it is strongly advised that you break out the existing concrete and follow the procedure for a typical artificial grass installation.
However, minor cracks and undulations can be rectified, using a self-levelling compound.
Self-levelling compounds can be purchased from your local DIY stores and are very easy to install, with the majority of products just requiring you to add water.
If your concrete is stable and relatively flat then, in most cases, it will be fine to proceed with the installation.
You just need to use your common sense when assessing whether to install artificial grass on concrete, and remember that it will need to be safe to walk on.
If your surface is unsmooth and has minor imperfections, a foam underlay will cover these without a problem.
If areas of concrete have become loose or ‘rocky’ underfoot then you’ll need to remove the concrete and install an MOT Type 1 sub-base and follow the standard artificial grass installation method.
Our handy infographic will show you how to do this.
Ensure You’ll Have Adequate Drainage
It’s always important to consider drainage.
Once the installation is complete, the last thing you want is water sitting on the surface of your new artificial lawn.
Ideally, there will be a slight fall on your concrete that will allow water to run off.
However, your existing concrete may not be perfectly flat, and you may have noticed that puddles appear in certain areas.
You can test this by hosing it down and checking to see if water sits anywhere.
If it does, it isn’t a major issue, but you’ll need to drill some drainage holes.
We advise using a 16mm bit to drill holes where any puddles form, then, fill these holes with 10mm shingle.
This will prevent puddling on your new fake grass.
Laying Artificial Grass on Uneven Concrete
When laying artificial grass on uneven concrete – or any concrete, for that matter – a vital part of the installation process is to install an artificial grass foam underlay.
There are several reasons for installing a fake grass shockpad.
Firstly, it will provide a softer lawn underfoot.
Even though artificial grass is generally soft to the touch, when you place it on top of concrete or paving the grass will still feel relatively hard underfoot.
If you were to fall, you would certainly feel the impact on landing. However, installing a foam underlay will feel much better underfoot and much more like a real lawn.
In some instances, such as in school playgrounds, where there is the potential for children to fall from height, a shockpad is required by law.
Therefore, you can rest assured that installing a fake lawn underlay will ensure that your newly installed artificial lawn will provide a safe environment for all the family to enjoy.
Another very good reason for using artificial grass foam is that it will hide ridges and cracks in your existing concrete.
If you were to install your fake grass directly on top of concrete, once it lay flat it would mirror the undulations in the surface below.
Therefore, if there were any ridges or minor cracks in your concrete, you would see these through your artificial lawn.
It’s very rare for concrete to be perfectly smooth and therefore we always recommend using a foam underlay.
Please ensure that you choose a good quality foam underlay.
Some underlays are made from recycled foam.
You can usually tell, as recycled underlay is normally made up of several types (and colours) of foam bound together to create the underlay.
The main problem with this type of underlay is that it isn’t very permeable. Water does eventually get through it and drain away, but it acts like a sponge.
It will absorb water, causing it to swell and expand.
This will not only cause damage to your grass, but the underlay will also absorb and hold nasty smells, such as dog urine.
We strongly advise using a good quality, free-drainage foam such as this 10mm artificial grass foam underlay which is perfectly acceptable for practically all applications.
If large pieces of play equipment will be placed on the lawn and there is a significant risk of head injuries from falls from play equipment then we would recommend considering a 20mm artificial grass foam underlay.
How to Install Artificial Grass on Concrete
We always advise using a professional to install artificial grass, as their experience will result in a better finish.
However, it is reasonably quick and easy to install artificial grass on concrete and if you have some DIY ability, you should be able to carry out an installation yourself.
Below you’ll find our step-by-step guide to help you along the way.
Before we dive in with our step-by-step guide, let’s take a look at some of the tools that you’ll need to install artificial grass on concrete:
- Stiff broom.
- Garden hose.
- Stanley knife (along with lots of sharp blades).
- A filling knife or striping knife (to spread artificial grass adhesive).
Although these tools are not essential, they will make the job (and your life) easier:
- A jet wash.
- A drill and paddle mixer (to mix artificial grass adhesive).
Materials You’ll Need
You’ll also need to make sure you have the following materials ready before you begin:
- Artificial grass – your chosen artificial grass, in either 2m or 4m widths, depending on the size of your new lawn.
- Foam underlay – this comes in 2m widths.
- Gaffer tape – to secure each piece of foam underlay.
- Artificial grass glue – rather than using tubes of artificial grass glue, due to the quantities you will most likely require, we recommend using tubs of either 5kg or 10kg two-part multi-purpose adhesive.
- Joining tape – for the artificial grass, if joints are necessary.
To calculate the quantities of glue required, you’ll need to measure the perimeter of your lawn in metres, and then multiply it by 2 (as you’ll need to glue the foam to the concrete and the grass to the foam).
Next, measure the length of any joints required. This time, you only need to allow to glue the artificial grass joints together. Gluing the foam joints is not necessary (that’s what the gaffer tape is for).
Once you have calculated the total meterage required, you can work out how many tubs you’ll need.
A 5kg tub will cover approximately 12m, spread at a width of 300mm. A 10kg tub will therefore cover approximately 24m.
You can use our handy calculator below to calculate how many tubs of artificial grass adhesive you’ll need:
Now that you have the necessary tools and materials, we can begin the installation.
Step 1 – Clean Existing Concrete
Firstly, you’ll need to prepare the existing concrete.
As explained earlier in the article, in some exceptional circumstances, you may need to apply a self-levelling compound – for example, if you have large cracks (over 20mm) in your existing concrete.
However, in most cases a foam underlay will be all that’s needed to go under your grass.
Before this is installed, we strongly recommend thoroughly cleaning the concrete so the artificial grass adhesive will properly bond with the concrete.
It’s also a good idea to remove moss and weeds. If weeds are a problem with your existing concrete, we recommend applying a weedkiller, such as Roundup, beforehand.
Your concrete can be hosed and/or brushed with a stiff broom. Although not essential, a jet wash will make light work of this stage.
Once clean, you’ll need to allow the concrete to completely dry out before moving on to the next step.
Step 2 – Install Drainage Holes If Required
Cleaning your concrete or paving is also a good opportunity to assess how well water drains off it.
If the water disappears without puddling, you can move onto the next step.
If it doesn’t, you’ll need to drill drainage holes where the puddles form using a 16mm drill bit. The holes can then be filled with 10mm shingle.
This will ensure you won’t have standing water after a downpour.
Step 3 – Install Artificial Grass Foam Underlay
Once your concrete or paving has thoroughly dried, the next step is to install the artificial grass shockpad.
Starting at one end of the concrete, and ensuring the foam goes right up to the edge, roll out the first piece of foam and cut to the required shape.
You’ll find it easiest to cut all of the foam and lay it into position before you begin to glue anything.
Tip: As the foam comes on a roll, it will naturally try to roll itself back up as soon as you let go of it. To stop this from happening, place a heavy object on each end to hold it in position.
Work your way across the entire width of the concrete until each piece of foam has been cut to cover the entire area.
Next, secure all the pieces of foam together, using masking tape.
Once the foam has been cut to shape and taped up, you can begin the gluing process.
Open up the tubs of glue and add the hardener.
You’ll then need to thoroughly mix the two parts. A drill and paddle mixer will make light work of this.
Then, using a filling knife or stripping knife, apply the adhesive to the concrete or paving at about 200-300mm wide.
You’ll need to apply a good covering of glue, around 2-3mm thick, to ensure adequate bonding.
If water will be draining off your concrete or paving, rather than through drainage holes, you’ll want to leave gaps in your gluing to allow water to escape.
Depending on the temperature, you usually get around 30 minutes to work with the glue so you’ll need to work reasonably quickly.
It’s very important that the concrete is completely dry when you do this, to ensure the adhesive bonds properly.
Step 4 – Cut Grass to Size and Prepare Joints
Once the foam is installed, you’ll need to repeat the same process to install the artificial grass.
Roll out the first piece of artificial grass, ensuring it covers the foam.
Using a Stanley knife, cut the Astro-Turf to size.
Take care when cutting, as you only get one chance to get it right.
If you have joints, you’ll need to trim three stiches off the edge of each piece of grass, to form an invisible join.
Again, do all your cutting before you attempt to glue anything.
As with a normal artificial grass installation, you’ll need to glue the joints together using artificial grass tape.
Don’t attempt to glue the joints down directly to the foam, as each piece will move independently when you walk over the new lawn and this will make the joints visible.
The easiest way to complete this step is to just glue the joints at this stage and then leave the glue to go off, before gluing the perimeter.
Step 5 – Secure the Perimeter with Artificial Grass Glue
After the glue has cured, we can begin our next step – securing our artificial grass to the foam underlay.
Now that any joints have been secured, you’ll be able to fold back the grass at the edges (without the joints coming apart) and apply a layer of glue to the entire lawn perimeter.
Use the same methods we used when securing the foam underlay here.
Ensure that the glue runs continuously along every part of the perimeter, without leaving any gaps. These gaps will be potential weaknesses where it may be possible to lift the grass.
To ensure the grass and foam bond sufficiently, it’s advisable to stay off the grass for the next couple of hours, to prevent the fake grass from moving around underfoot.
If you have any artificial grass offcuts left over, you could use this time to do something useful with them.
There are many imaginative things you can do with artificial grass offcuts.
For example, you could cut the offcuts into a doormat, or a mat for budding golfers to practice their chipping off, or for covering shelving in a greenhouse, or even covering old garden tables and chairs.
Step 6 – Add Kiln Sand and Brush Your Grass
Once the glue has cured, we can move on to the last step of our installation.
To finish, we recommend adding kiln-dried sand to your grass.
This should be applied at a rate of 4-5kg per square metre.
We also recommend looking for a ‘weed free’ kiln-dried sand, which can be purchased from major DIY stores throughout the UK.
‘Weed free’ kiln-dried sand has a built-in weed inhibitor that will prevent any weeds from growing on your lawn.
Although you may hear of ‘non-sand infill’ artificial grasses, there are several advantages of using a sand infill.
Firstly, it will help ‘pin down’ your artificial lawn and prevent any wrinkles, ripples or creases from appearing in your fake lawn.
Secondly, while our Feelgood technology is great at keeping your lawn cool during the summer months, if your artificial grass does not have this innovative technology, it can become hot to touch during summer.
However, a sand infill will help dissipate heat and prevent the artificial fibres from becoming hot.
Finally, kiln-dried sand also helps to protect the fibres and ensure they remain in an upright position.
Once the sand infill has been installed, you can then brush the grass with a stiff broom.
Every artificial grass has a very slight pile direction and this step should be done by brushing into the pile, which will lift the fibres.
Now you can step back and admire the results of your hard work!
Installing artificial grass on concrete may just be the perfect way to give your tired looking garden a facelift.
Old, worn looking concrete can easily be transformed into lush green grass that’s perfect for entertaining your friends and family, and for the kids to play on all year round – and, of course, it’s also pet friendly.
We hope that this guide has inspired you to think about the many benefits a fake lawn would bring to your existing garden. And that our step-by-step guide has helped you understand the correct way to install fake grass on concrete.
As always, we advise hiring a professional to install your grass, but you should now have a better understanding of the work involved.
Have you installed artificial grass on concrete before? Do you have any tips or pictures of your DIY installations to share with us?
Leave us a comment below as we would love to hear from you.