While some tasks are best left to the professionals, accomplishing these tasks yourself can often leave you with a great feeling of satisfaction. Step by Step Guide to Lay Artificial Turf
Lawns or artificial turfs can add beauty and class to your house, but installing them is not easy. Yet, being able to accomplish this feat is something many homeowners would like to achieve.
And if you have been looking for where to learn how to lay artificial turf, then you have come to the right place.
Artificial turn is a perfect alternative to natural grass as they are easy to install (regardless of whether or not you have prior experience) and maintain.
And our step by step guide will teach you how to prepare the ground, the materials you will need, and how actually to lay the grass.
We will also answer other pressing questions, such as whether or not you can lay the artificial grass on soil, as well as how long artificial grass last.
Can I Lay Artificial Grass on Soil?
The surface upon which your artificial turf is laid can go a long way to determine how smooth it will turn out and how long your artificial grass will last.
Unlike natural grass, there is no specific surface for artificial grass as it can be laid on soil and concrete.
However, to get things right and provide an even surface for your turf, there is the need to prepare the soil and add a sub-base and some sand as the need would be.
You will need to ensure that the soil upon which you are laying the turf can absorb water and other fluids and draining them.
How Long Does Artificial Grass Last For?
Most artificial grasses remain UV stable for 8 -10 years, while high-quality turf can last for up to 15 – 20 years, depending on how they are installed and maintained.
Hence the better, the better the quality of turf, the longer it would last. Also, the more careful you are during the installation process, and the better you look after the artificial lawn, the longer it would serve you.
Some tips that can help you during maintenance are :
- Always remove spills while they are still fresh, as hardened spills can be harder to remove and generally leave residues that damage your turf faster
- Always keep it as clean as possible. Artificial turfs generally require very little maintenance, but completely neglecting to clean it can diminish the lifespan.
- Only use your turf when necessary. Using it for every little thing tends to make the grass age faster, and usually, the more you use it, the shorter it lasts.
- Keep away harmful chemicals and pollutants are they are well known for damaging the grass.
- Keep away sharp objects. Sharp objects don’t only contribute to cutting the grass, but they can also cause tears on the surface, thereby reducing both the beauty and the longevity.
How Do You Prepare Ground For Laying Artificial Grass?
There are two major surfaces commonly used for laying turfs, and how you prepare the ground depends on what ground you are using.
For a soil surface, you need to remove possible hazards, weeds, and the top layer of the soil before planning for drainage, fixing other essentials such as bender board before getting to the installation proper.
This is different with a concrete surface, as you only need to clean the concrete surface, install a shock pad or drainage foam before installing the turf.
Preparing the Ground on Soil Surface
Check and remove hazards.
Hazards are usually materials such as water pipes, electric lines, and sprinklers covered under the ground. While they are generally useful, they can interfere with the installation or cause certain problems when left there.
You will need to properly cover them or remove them altogether if you are no longer using them.
It is important that the soil on which you will lay the artificial grass be free of weeds and grassroots as they can make the surface uneven or continue to grow to ruin the turf.
You can spray a non-toxic weed killer at least two weeks before the date of turf installation to kill off the entire weed in that area properly. Then dig up the grassroots if necessary.
Prepare a drainage system.
You will need to make provision for drainage as artificial turfs are not known for draining themselves.
If the soil you are installing on absorbs water readily, then you have little or nothing to worry about. However, if you use poorly draining soil, you will need to prepare an efficient draining system that allows water and other fluid to pass out easily.
Set up a bender board
You will need to ensure that your turf doesn’t crawl out of the designated area into other components. And installing a bender board separating both areas is how to go about this.
Install a gopher wire and weed barrier (optional)
These are not important, but they sum up what gives your artificial turf that awesome look when you are done installing it.
A weed barrier can also be installed at the bottom of the dug-up space to prevent weed from later growing close to the turf. This itself can ensure that your artificial grass lasts longer.
Preparing the Ground on Concrete Surface
Clean the concrete surface
Cleaning an existing concrete is fast and easy. Run through the surface a few times with your hose and water.
Prepare a drainage system.
Concrete is a very hard surface and is less likely to absorb water or other liquids. Hence, it is important to provide a drainage system if you suspect that puddles will form whenever it rains.
Drill holes using a 16mm bit drill in strategic places and fill those holes with 10mm shingles or peas to prevent puddles from forming.
Install shock pad or drainage foam
Another downside to using concrete surfaces is it lacks support when anyone falls on the surface and can easily result in grave injuries.
To prevent this from ever happening, you will need to cover the entire area with shock pads or drainage foams (whichever you have available).
You merge these materials using glue and hardener if you have them in several pieces instead of a roll. Just remember to work quickly, as the glue is known for drying up fast.
How to Lay Artificial Turf
How to Lay Artificial Turf on Soil Surface
In trying to install the turf on a soil surface, here are some of the tools your will need: rake, sub-base material, gravel/crushed rock/decomposed granite, sharp or coarse sand, shovel, plank and hammer, and hose with water.
You may also require optional tools such as a wheelbarrow, plate compactor, and sand spreader.
Step 1: Prepare the ground.
Decide where you intend to lay the turf and check for hazardous materials such as water pipes, electricity cables, and sprinklers. Cover them properly and remove what you no longer need.
Spread a non-toxic weed-killer at least two weeks before the day of the installation and remove every grassroots you find around the area.
Remove the top layer of the soil in that area to a depth of about 2 inches and remove any obstructions you find.
You can also create an edge for the turf to butt up against as part of this elaborate preparation.
Step 2: Lay the sub-base
The sub-base could be type 1 stones, gravel, crushed rocks, or decomposed granite. Using a wheelbarrow or shovel, spread your choice material over the area.
Spread until you have achieved about 3 – 4 inches. This will ensure proper drainage once the turf is laid.
Step 3: Add sharp sand on top of the sub-base
Use a shovel or sand spreader to lay sharp sand over the sub-base to make the surface firm. You will need to keep spreading the sand until you have achieved about 10 – 15mm thickness.
Step 4: Water the prepared area
Use a hose and sprinkle water all over the sub-base you have worked on. The aim is to allow the materials to settle in better. However, be careful not to flood the area as this often wash off some part of the base and lead to an uneven surface.
Step 5: Compact the stones
Once you have sufficiently watered the area, the next step is to compact the base using a compactor. You will need to continue compacting until you have reduced the base to about 90% of the actual depth.
In areas with obstructions, such as trees, you can use a hand tamper or lay a 2×4 plank of wood and hammer down around the obstruction.
You may rent or buy a vibratory plate compactor and use it instead of a plate compactor or plate tamper.
Step 6: Double-check the area
Check for highs and lows within the prepared area and then flatten or fill as the case may be. This will ensure a more appealing result when the turf has been laid.
Step 7: Install a weed barrier.
Adding a weed barrier before and after your sub-base can help provide an extra layer of protection against weeds and pests. However, this is optional.
Step 8: Lay the artificial turf.
Once all the above steps have been completed, you can now move to begin installing the artificial grass. First, take note of the area you have prepared and compare it with the grass you have.
Then roll your grass outside, spread it out on an even surface (but not on the area you have prepared) and draw lines on the outside to guide you in laying the seam fabric later on.
Roll the turf back in and keep rolling in until you see a marked spot, then cut along that area. Take the cut portion and lay it over the installation surface. Remember not to drag the synthetic grass over the installation area, as this could ruin the smoothness of the surface.
Keep cutting the turf and spreading over the installation surface as marked. Then seam the turf pieces together once you have laid them.
Then lay the seam tapes out and stitch them together little by little. You will need at least two people to help you at this stage.
Lastly, apply some pressure and place some spikes to keep the turf in place. If you are using nails as spikes, try not to trap any grass fibre underneath.
Once the turf is positioned in place, trim off the excess grass using a utility knife or carpet cutter.
Step 9: Post-installation
Once you have trimmed off the excess turf, allow it to dry, then start brushing the grass upwards to let infill inside. You may also use a power broom for this purpose.
Next, use a shovel to lay sand on the turf using a back dragging movement. Then brush or broom the turf until the sand sinks below the grass completely.
Then brush again to remove any sand left behind before watering the lawn to set the infill. Allow the law to stay until the next day.
Lastly, check the next day to be sure you like the result and repeat the above infilling method if need be.
Installing artificial grass by yourself is not only possible for an exciting project to embark on. Getting it right leaves your backyard filled with beauty and your heart filled with a sense of accomplishment.
You don’t need to hire professionals to do it for you. Just have a few compatriots ready to help when necessary and follow our guide on how to lay artificial turf to get it done.
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