When is the Best Time of Year to Install Artificial Grass?
Once the summer has passed, many of us tend not to think too much about our gardens until early spring the following year, when the weather starts to brighten up, the temperatures are on the rise and the days begin getting longer.
At this time of the year, our attention turns to making the most of any good weather we get by spending us much time outside in our gardens as possible.
Springtime is also when a lot of us spend plenty of time getting our hands dirty to tidy up our gardens, getting them back up to scratch and implementing any improvement works that have been planned over the winter months.
For this reason, our busiest time of the year, here at NeoGrass, is during spring and early summer, when we are inundated with enquiries.
Of course, we still find ourselves pretty busy during the rest of the year – even during the shortest, coldest days of winter – which leads us to a question we are often asked, particularly during the autumn and winter seasons: that is – when is the best time of year to install artificial grass?
Well, the simple answer is that you can, in fact, install fake turf at any time of the year. Our network of professional installers is busy all year round.
Many people are surprised that you can actually install artificial turf throughout winter, but there are several advantages to carrying out the work at this time of the year.
In fact, there are pros and cons to installing synthetic turf whatever time of the year you do it, and the timing is likely to have an impact on the way you approach the installation. You may need to employ slightly different installation techniques throughout winter than you would during the height of summer, for example.
We’re now going to take a closer look at the different seasons and learn about the pros and cons connected with each, when it comes to installing fake grass.
As we have already mentioned, spring is the busiest time of the year for us, in terms of enquiries.
As soon as the cold weather starts becoming milder and the days begin to lengthen, many homeowners turn their attention towards preparing their gardens for the nicer weather.
Spring is a good time of the year to be installing fake grass, as the weather is generally good.
The majority of installations tend to involve excavating an existing, real grass lawn.
As we tend to get higher levels of rainfall throughout winter, the ground during early spring tends to be nice and soft, making it easier to excavate.
It can, however, still be too wet to work with, which can be a problem, particularly if the UK is hit by April showers. If the lawn is waterlogged, it can be difficult to excavate, and we would recommend allowing the ground to dry out before attempting the installation.
One of the other downsides to a springtime installation is the fact that the plants and shrubs in your garden are growing very quickly at this time of the year. If it’s late spring, your garden may well be in full bloom, meaning that there is an increased chance that you could damage your plants when they are flowering.
As well as the plants being in full growth, your real grass lawn will be growing very quickly at this time of the year, too. This may mean that you’ll find it beneficial to mow your lawn prior to excavating it.
The second most popular time of the year to install AstroTurf is during the summer.
This is mainly because – in theory, if not always in practice – the weather should be at its best.
During summer, the days are particularly long, meaning that you can work on your installation well into the evening and get lots done in a day – a big benefit, if you don’t have too many days to dedicate to your installation.
Another good reason to install during the summer is that the grass will ‘acclimatise’ much quicker than at other times of the year.
We always recommend that, before cutting and securing your artificial grass to the required shape, you allow it to acclimatise. This essentially means unrolling your turf and leaving it for around 24 hours.
As artificial grass is stored and transported in rolls, it can be tricky to install immediately after unrolling because the backing material has almost a memory effect; i.e. it will naturally want to curl back up into a roll. This normally results in a couple of bumps or ripples being present in the turf immediately after it’s unrolled.
If the grass is allowed to naturally acclimatise, it will lie flatter and be easier to work with.
The warm summer sunshine speeds up this process by gently warming the backing, making it more pliable, which in turns removes any lumps, bumps or ripples.
Summer installations, however, aren’t immune to any potential downsides. If we experience a particularly dry summer, you may find that your existing lawn is difficult to excavate due to the ground being too hard. In the height of a dry summer, the ground may feel like concrete.
We always recommend using a turf cutter to remove your existing lawn, but there’s a chance of snapping the cutting blade if the ground is too hard. If this is the case and you have no choice but to carry on with the installation, you may need to water your lawn for a few days prior to the excavation, to soften the ground.
Another negative is that summer is when your garden will be at its fullest, in terms of plant and shrub growth, which may mean that you need to grab the secateurs to cut back any overhanging stems and branches that could otherwise get damaged during the installation.
The final con of a summer installation is the potential inconvenience it could cause. Of course, there is always inconvenience whenever you install the turf, but there may be more during the summer months, as this is the time of the year when you most want to be out in your garden enjoying the sunshine, and your garden may be unusable during the time it takes to install your turf.
Autumn has many of the pros and cons of spring.
If it’s been a long summer, you may find that the ground is still hard, making excavations a little more difficult.
You’ll also need to be wary of any heavy rain, which often occurs during the autumn storms we tend to have in the UK, and which can cause the ground to be waterlogged.
Having said that, the bulk of an artificial grass installation can, in fact, be carried out during light rain showers.
However, you need to be wary of any volume of rain if you’re using artificial grass adhesive. That’s because it cannot be applied to a wet surface, whether that be joining tape, wood or concrete – for example, if you’re installing your grass to an existing surface, such as decking, concrete or paving slabs.
The adhesive will not bond correctly in wet conditions.
When applying the sand infill, the grass will need to be bone dry, too, or the sand will clump together, and you’ll have difficulty in fibrillating the sand.
The advantages of an autumn installation are that, often, the weather can still be good, and the ground is softer than during spring and summer, making the excavations quicker and easier.
It is also when your garden is on the decline, so there’s less risk of damage to plants and shrubs.
If you are looking to use a professional installer, you’ll probably find that their lead times are shorter at this time of the year, too, as demand will begin to drop off after the spring and summer rush.
Contrary to popular belief, winter can be a good time to install artificial grass.
This is the time of the year when your garden will at its least active, meaning that there will be fewer overhanging plants and shrubs, making access to your lawn easier. There’s less chance of damaging your plants, too.
It’s also the time of the year when you spend very little, if any, time in your garden, so if it looks like a building site – so be it.
You’ll need to be wary of your existing lawn being too waterlogged, though, as if the sub-grade is too wet and sticky, this can cause problems with the sub-base installation.
Another downside of a winter installation is that the days are short, which means that you may not be able to continue working much past 4 p.m., when it becomes too dark.
The acclimatisation process may take a little longer during the winter, too, but you can overcome this by gently warming the backing material, which will make it easier to work with.
For more installation tips and advice during the winter months, please see our guide, ‘6 Winter Artificial Grass Installation Tips’.
Artificial grass can be installed whatever the season, but there are pros and cons to installing artificial grass during different times of the year.
Really, there is no single ‘best’ time of the year; it just depends on when is most convenient for you to carry out the installation, if you’re going down the DIY route, or when your chosen installer can fit your project into their work schedule.
Our network of professional installers find themselves busy throughout the entire year, but lead times will likely be shorter in autumn and winter.
If you are considering installing your own artificial grass, you may find our installation guide a useful read.
If, however, you would prefer to use the services of a professional installer, we’d highly recommend that you contact your nearest NeoGrass Approved installer for a free installation quote.
Don’t forget, you can also request your free samples of our artificial grass products by completing the form here.
If you have any questions on any of the points raised in this article, or anything to do with artificial grass in general, then please leave us a comment below.