How to Install Artificial Grass Quicker
Professional installers often find themselves up against the clock, facing strict deadlines to ensure that an installation is completed on time and on budget.
Any tips and tricks that can save time can be worth their weight in gold.
So, if you’re looking for ways to speed up your installation process, then you have come to the right place.
In our latest article we are looking at various techniques and methods that can save you valuable time when installing artificial grass.
It is true that these tips and tricks are aimed mainly at the professional installer, but DIYers will be able to implement many of them to save time, too.
Some of our tips involve investing in specialist equipment, which for a DIYer carrying out a one-time installation would not be practical, but for the professional, the investment can really pay off in the long term. And DIYers can often hire tools and equipment, so they get the benefit without such a sizeable outlay.
Let’s begin with our first tip.
Use a Mechanical Brush
Whilst it is not essential, using a mechanical brush to brush in the sand infill for your artificial lawn will certainly speed up the process.
Mechanical brushes take out all of the hard work and the job can be completed in a fraction of the time it takes to brush in the sand with a broom.
For DIYers, using a broom will be more than adequate, but for the professional installer who is faced with time constraints, purchasing a powered brush, such as the Stihl MM55, is a must.
Use a Turf Cutter
When it comes to removing an existing lawn, there is no better tool for the job than a turf cutter.
Turf cutters will slice up your lawn into handy strips that can be rolled up and carted off site quickly and easily.
The other method is to use a shovel, mattock and good old-fashioned hard work, but why make things more difficult than they need to be?
We highly recommend the Camon TC07 Turf Cutter, which can be purchased directly from the manufacturer or, for the DIYer, hired from a local tool hire shop. (Other types of turf cutter are often equally capable.)
The cost of buying or hiring a turf cutter is something you’ll be vey glad you invested in as it will save you hours of time – and a bad back!
For larger areas, or for excavations deeper than 100mm, you may find that hiring a mini excavator is more cost-effective than using a turf cutter and, again, these can be hired on a daily basis from your local hire shop.
Order Materials Ahead of Time
Carrying out an artificial lawn installation requires supplies of different types of material.
You’ll need some weed membrane, aggregates for the sub-base and laying course, a suitable edge restraint and, of course, the artificial grass itself, along with various installation accessories, such as joining tape and adhesive.
To ensure that your job runs smoothly and that the materials arrive on site when you need them, it’s extremely important to order them from your supplier as far in advance as possible.
Try to give at least a week’s notice to ensure that there aren’t any delays; the last thing either a professional or DIYer wants is to not have the materials they need to get the job done.
If you need help in working out the quantities of materials you’ll need, you may find our handy calculators useful.
Stock Up on Extra Sharp Stanley Blades
When cutting artificial grass, we recommend using a Stanley knife. Blade choice is very important as cutting artificial grass can quickly blunt the cutting edge.
That’s because cutting through the latex backing of artificial turf, plus a thick pile, can take its toll on the blades.
Because of this, we recommend purchasing good quality, heavy duty blades – excuse the pun, but cheap ones just won’t cut it!
Some installers prefer using hooked roofing blades as opposed to flat blades and we recommend trying both to find your preferred type. Again, choose a good quality blade to avoid having to continuously replace it.
Of course, when using a Stanley knife, you should take your time and be extremely careful to avoid any potential injuries. Remember, you’ll only get one chance to cut your turf, too, and slow and steady will win this race.
Good quality blades will make it easier to cut your turf and reduce the need to keep changing blades, resulting in a quicker installation time.
Get Some Help
For a quicker installation time, why not enlist your friends to give you some help?
Unless you only have a very small area to deal with, installing artificial turf is a two-man job.
Rolls of artificial grass can be very heavy and awkward to lift, and you might struggle to get your turf into your garden on your own.
Unrolling and positioning your turf can be difficult on your own, too.
Why not reward them at the end of the day with a few relaxing beers on your newly installed artificial lawn?
Allow Your Grass to Acclimatise
This tip is a little contradictory as, in effect, it will increase the overall time it takes to complete your installation.
But, before cutting in your turf, we recommend that you unroll your artificial grass roughly in position on your lawn and leave it for 24 hours before doing anything else.
This is because artificial grass is wrapped tightly around a cardboard core for transportation purposes. One of the advantages of latex backing is that it moulds itself to the position it is placed in; however, for a while after it has been moved, it ‘remembers’ that shape.
This ability to mould itself to its position is a good thing in the long term, but it can make installation a little tricky if you don’t allow your turf to acclimatise to its new position – lying flat in your garden, rather than being rolled around a tube – beforehand. Once it does acclimatise, you’ll find it much easier to position and to cut.
So, although this will increase the time it takes to get your lawn finished, it will reduce the amount of time spent actually installing your turf.
Of course, as a professional installer with deadlines to meet, allowing your grass to acclimatise isn’t always possible. However, while it might be a bit more difficult to position the grass in these circumstances, it can still be done – but this is really only advisable for installers with plenty of experience.
Use a Carpet Stretcher
When installing fake turf, you’ll want to avoid any lumps, bumps or air pockets. This means that it is important to stretch out your lawn, prior to securing the edges.
The quickest way to do this is using a carpet stretcher, especially in the case of large lawns, where pulling the grass tight can be tricky.
First, you secure the grass along one edge of the lawn. Then you stretch it, so that when you secure the opposite edge, the grass is taut and wrinkle-free.
Carpet stretchers work by firmly gripping the grass with the teeth at one end of the tool then, using your knee, you kick the cushioned pad at the other end, which stretches the grass and pulls it tight.
This will save lots of time compared with attempting to manually stretch out your grass.
Carpet kickers are relatively inexpensive to purchase from your local DIY store and for the professional installer, they are a must-have.
Clear Your Access Route
Our next tip for installing artificial grass quicker is to make sure you have clear and easy access to your garden.
Ideally, you’ll need to access your garden via a side gate to cart away excavations, import aggregates and bring in your roll(s) of turf.
To maximise space, you may need to remove your gate and any obstacles that might be in your path. The idea is to make it as easy as possible to access your garden.
Depending on your property, it might even be easier to access your garden by removing a fence panel.
If you live in a terraced property with no access to your rear garden, then make sure you put down protective sheeting to protect the floors, as you will have to cart everything right through the house.
A clear access route will reduce installation times – and stress.
Use a Seed/Drop Spreader to Distribute Your Infill Material
We have spoken about the many advantages of applying a sand infill to your artificial lawn previously and it’s certainly something that we recommend you do on your own artificial lawn.
The quickest way to install the sand infill is using a seed spreader. Seed spreaders will release an even layer of sand across your lawn as you push the device up and down the garden.
You can sprinkler the sand from a small trowel, but this is far longer process and it may also mean that the sand isn’t spread very evenly.
Try to avoid cutting holes in the bottom of the bag and swinging it around to release the sand, as this tends to result in a very uneven infill.
To rectify a lawn that feels bumpy underfoot due to an uneven infill, you’ll need to brush the fibres vigorously with a stiff bristled broom or mechanical brush to break down any ‘clumps’ of sand.
Seed spreaders can be purchased from your local DIY store, relatively inexpensively, or you can even hire them from a tool hire store.
Have Materials Delivered as Close to Your Garden as Possible
Unless you are installing your grass onto an existing surface, you’ll need to install a sub-base and laying course.
This may mean several tonnes of aggregates have to be imported into the garden using wheelbarrows (to calculate how much you need, use our artificial grass calculators).
It would make sense to have your aggregates delivered as close to your garden as possible, to not only make it less work, but also speed up the process.
Aggregates will normally be delivered in bulk bags and, when ordering your materials, make sure your supplier is delivering them on a vehicle with a HIAB crane, so that they can position the bulk bags as close to your garden as possible.
If the side or rear of your garden backs onto a road, then you may find that the delivery vehicle can park alongside your garden and drop the bags over the fence and, if you’re really lucky, directly onto your lawn.
If you are in this fortunate position, you’ll find that you’ve saved hours of hard work.
But, for most installations, having the materials dropped on your driveway, as close to the rear access gate as possible, is the best you can do.
Bonus tip: double stack bags of aggregates, one on top of another. Position your wheelbarrow tightly up against the bottom bulk bag and carefully, using a Stanley knife, cut the top of the top bulk bag slowly and gradually, allowing the aggregates to spill out and into your wheelbarrow. If you do it right, gravity will fill the first few wheelbarrow loads for you.
As you’ve hopefully now realised, there are many different tips and tricks that can help speed up the artificial grass installation process.
The majority of these tips are aimed mainly at the professional installer. It’s important that professionals can meet installation deadlines and, of course, the more efficient you become, the more jobs you can complete.
As a DIYer, it is very important to remember to take your time when it comes to installing your own artificial lawn. Yes, you can hire machines and tools that allow you to complete tasks efficiently and in less time, but don’t rush anything.
That’s especially true when it comes to cutting in your grass, as any mistakes could prove to be extremely costly – for example, if you cut off too much. But there are plenty of tips in this article to help the process run as smoothly as possible.
If you are looking for a professional to install your artificial lawn, then why not contact your nearest NeoGrass Approved Installer? Our friendly installation teams will be happy to help and offer free advice and written quotations. Their skills and experience are second to none and the end result will be a long-lasting artificial lawn that you can be proud of.
If you would like samples of any of the products from the NeoGrass range of artificial turf, then you can request them here.
Do you have any other tips or tricks to speed up artificial grass installation that we have missed? Then leave us a comment below!