Having decided to install an artificial grass surface, the next decision is when to install it! The good news is that fake grass can be installed at any time of the year, but the months when the ground may be a little softer – winter and autumn – are considered when to be the best.
Installing artificial grass in the winter
It makes sense to install artificial grass in the winter for these main reasons:
- The garden is not as much in use anyway due to the colder weather
- The ground is likely to be softer than in the summer so making preparation of the base more effective
- The artificial grass is able to handle winter conditions
- A surface you can use year round
Garden not in use – while it doesn’t take that long to install artificial grass, assuming you buy the grass and materials from expert artificial grass suppliers and organise professional installation through them, it does mean your garden is out of use for a few days.
You’ll need to allow the new grass time to climatise to its new environment before laying it and then give it a chance to settle after, so your garden can’t be used much during this period – not usually a problem in winter as it likely wouldn’t see much use anyway.
Softer ground – it’s far easier to ensure the soil that your grass will sit on is properly compacted and prepared; a tougher task in the summer if ground has hardened through low rainfall and hot sunshine.
Handling winter conditions – laying artificial grass in the winter won’t cause any vulnerabilities as fake grass can handle pretty much any extremes of temperature and climate, unlike real grass.
Year round usable surface – while real grass may be unusable in the winter, and maybe some of the spring if it’s been particularly wet, artificial grass can be used mostly year round – so installing in the winter gives you a surface you can use immediately without having to wait until the spring or summer.
Key top tips for laying artificial grass in the winter
So, if winter is the preferred option, here are some points to be aware of when it comes to installation:
Climatisation of your artificial grass – whenever you install fake grass, you should allow it to climatise first before actually laying it.
Because it’s been stored rolled up probably for several months before reaching you, the grass needs to be stretched out and laid out on the ground to remove any wrinkles and allow it to assume its flattened shape.
Many artificial grass makers recommend 24 hours for climatisation rising to 48 hours when installing artificial grass in the winter.
Care with groundworks – your artificial grass installation is only as good as the base it sits on so take care with this part of the installation.
As mentioned earlier, it’s often easier to prepare the ground in the winter due to it being softer than in the summer. That said, it shouldn’t be too soft – or saturated – as the subbase materials you’re using will tend to be pushed out rather than compacted down when using a vibrating compacting plate.
If doing the job yourself, be wary of ruining things by working on ground that’s too soft in the desire to get the job done immediately. It may be necessary to delay the work for a few days to allow the ground to dry sufficiently.
Use specific adhesive and dry tape – certain adhesives are designed to work well in lower temperatures and dry quickly, so it’s worth getting some when laying artificial grass in the winter. Ask your artificial grass supplier.
Ensure your joining tape stays dry throughout the process; wet tape can affect the way the rolls of grass bond and cause an insecure join.
Delay applying the sand infill when wet – when installing the sand infill to your artificial grass – the sand that goes onto the grass to work its way down to the backing layer – don’t do it if the grass is wet. If you do it’ll absorb moisture, become stodgy and won’t be able to make its way to the bottom of the blades.
Maintaining artificial grass in the winter
A key reason for installing artificial grass is due to its lack of maintenance requirements compared to real grass, but there are a couple of things to be aware of when maintaining artificial grass in the winter:
Snow and ice – usually it’s best to leave it to melt and dissipate naturally, but if you do wish to remove it use a plastic shovel as opposed to metal to protect the blades.
Keep drainage holes clear – debris and the like can clog the drainage holes in the backing layer, so ensure they’re clear to maintain effective drainage.