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How to fit artificial grass

Garden being prepared for artificial grass installation
Before
Artificial grass garden with hot tub, garden office and shrubs
After

Recommended tools and products required for artificial grass installation

  • Timber, composite batten, or concrete for base perimeter
  • Electric screwdriver and screws for fixing to perimeter timber/batten frame, or glue for fixing to concrete edge
  • Delphin or Stanley knife with spare blades
  • Power brush or stiff brush to raise the pile once the grass is installed
  • Turf cutter or shovel to remove existing natural turf
  • Rake to spread and level aggregate
  • Wacker plate or roller
  • 1 or 2 layers of weed membrane
  • Sharp sand or Granite Dust for laying surface
  • Type 1 aggregate, primary material for sub base
  • Artificial grass to cover area required
  • Glue to join seams (only required where rolls of grass are to be joined)
  • Joining tape (only required where rolls of grass are to be joined)
  • Toothed trowel (required to spread glue if glue and tape is required to join rolls)
  • Skip (may be required for removal of natural turf)

It’s vital to prepare a suitable base to ensure that the installation is long lasting, stable and not liable to flooding or movement. The base should have a suitable edging to hold the aggregate and give a surface to fix the grass to. See here for typical base construction using a) concrete haunching or b) timber/composite batten for edging detail. When planning your artificial grass garden always bear in mind that hot sunlight, reflected and amplified by windows, mirrors and other reflective surfaces, may cause artificial grass to melt or be scorched. Avoid installing artificial grass too close to surfaces which may cause damage. A few tips to help you select your artificial grass

Click through the 8 steps for synthetic turf base preparation and installation guidance:

Step 1

Removal of natural turf for artificial grass installation

Remove existing turf

The key objective is to form a base for the grass which is level, stable, solid, and will allow water to permeate through to the soil below. Don't be tempted to remove an inch of soil, put down sand, and then lay the grass - this method is insufficient and will move over time, requiring the grass to be removed and refitted with a suitable base. Remove the existing turf and soil using either a turf cutter or shovel. It is best to remove the turf to a depth of 2-4 inches. Free draining lawns will require a 2-inch base, whereas poor draining lawns will require a 3 to 4 inch base.

 

Step 2

Garden area cleared for synthetic turf installation

Clear area and fit your perimeter edging

With all turf removed, the area is ready for the sub-base to be installed. The area should be edged by a timber frame, composite batten, or concrete haunching, which provides a firm edge to hold the base material in place and a secure fixing point for the artificial grass. The edging detail should be fitted approximately 10mm below the surrounding level, depending of the pile height of your chosen artificial grass. Speak with us if you have any questions about this.

 

Step 3

Type 1 MOT applied to cleared garden area

Lay weed membrane and fill area with aggregate

Install the first layer of geotextile weed membrane on top of the soil. This will prevent the sub-base sinking into the mud. It is best to fill the area with Type 1, sometimes known as MOT (crushed stone) or Grano Dust. For clay or boggy soil use between 3-4 inches of Type 1, for free draining soil 2 inches. Some installers prefer to use a Grano Dust base in which case a depth of 2-3 inches should be sufficient. The key is to have a solid, stable, and porous base for the grass.

 

Step 4

Compacted aggregate for artificial grass base preparation

Level and compact the base materials

Make sure the Type 1 or Grano Dust is evenly spread and smooth off any lumps with a rake. The Type 1 should be raked level with top of the perimeter edging and then compacted with a wacker plate. Compact the Type 1 with a wacker plate ready to be blinded off with a thin layer of sharp sand. If using Grano Dust no sharp sand is required as Grano Dust when compacted gives a smooth enough finish.

 

Compacting the top surface of the artificial grass sub base

Using a wacker plate, make sure that all the Type 1 is compacted to a smooth finish. This should lower the Type 1 to approximately 10mm below the top edge of the perimeter detail. Now spread on the sharp sand and compact with a wacker plate, screed off to a smooth finish level with the top of the edging. Note: Grano Dust is coarser than sharp sand, so binds very effectively to create a great laying surface for the membrane and artificial grass. Sharp sand may have a tendency to move in the medium and long term so Grano Dust offers a good option to avoid that issue.
When using Grano Dust no sharp sand is required so top of compacted surface should be level with top of timber edging.

 

Step 5

Weed membrane applied to top of sub base for artificial grass

Lay second layer of weed membrane

Install the second layer of geotextile weed membrane and secure to the top of the timber edging with screws or staples, or apply some glue if using a concrete hanuch. This will prevent weed growth. Use a Stanley knife to cut the membrane to the required layout. Note: if you have a dog or dogs we recommend ommitting this layer of membrane as it may act as a source of unwanted smells from dog urine. Contact us to discuss or if you have any questions.

 

Step 6

Artificial grass rolls are trimmed up for installation

Install the artificial grass

Lay the artificial grass out and leave to settle flat - this is even more important when installing the grass in cold or coller conditions. Once you are happy that the grass is flat and settled, you can then cut it to shape using a sharp Stanley knife. Blades will need to be changed approximately every three metres of cutting.

 

Step 7

Synthetic grass rolls trimmed up before joining them together

Join rolls of artificial grass (where necessary)

When joining rolls of grass, cut evenly down the side of a stitch line on each roll of grass, perhaps 1 or 2 stitch lines in from the edge of the roll. Take care to ensure you do not cut across stitch lines. Butt the two pieces together and check the join. It is quite possible there is still some trimming to be done.

 

Joining tape and glue applied to the base for joining artificial grass rolls

Once you are happy the two pieces of grass are butted up exactly, and that the join is not visible, fold both pieces back and lay the joining tape (shiny side down) evenly between them. Apply the glue evenly to the middle 5 inches of the joining tape and spread with a fine-toothed trowel. Carefully fold both pieces back in to place and apply gentle pressure to the join. Make sure the glue is not too thick or it will push through the join or the drainage holes. Insert 1 screw either side of the new join to ensure that the grass remains in place while outer edges are being trimmed.
If using our glue tubes you can use a mastic gun to apply the glue to the joining tape. If using 8kg tubs of Wetbond or Profix you’ll need to pour the glue from the tub on to the joining tape and smooth it out using a trowel or similar straight edge. Apply the glue evenly down the tape creating a 4 to 5 inch wide run for the best adhesion. Do not ‘zig zag’ the glue as the adhesion will be insufficient.

 

Step 8

Artificial grass trimmed up to finish the installation

Trim up the edges

Now you can trim the edges. This is easiest done using a sharp Delphin knife. Change blades regularly for ease of cutting – this will result in a better quality installation with cleaner joins and edges. Once trimming is complete the artificial grass can be fixed to the perimeter, either by screwing if timber or composite has been used or glue if you've fitted a concrete haunch. If screwing the grass down please be sure to open the pile of the grass where the fixing is made to prevent damage or catching of pile. This should be done every 4 inches. If the edging is a concrete haunch you can apply a bead of glue to the fix the grass down.

Installation should be complete!

Once you have secured the perimeter, step back and review the installation. It may take a little time for the grass to acclimatise but your project is almost ready. We suggest that you that you do not to use the area for 12 hours or suggest to your client that they do not use the area for 12 hours.

Finally it is time to 'lift' the pile which you can do, ideally with a leave blower or power brush.

Important Note: if installing artificial grass onto decking, patio or concrete… the preparation is very straightforward!! Just clean and dry the surface, glue down some 10mm Perfectly Green Playpad underlay and glue the grass to the underlay! With concrete or slabs you may need to drill some drainage holes.

What our customers say?

“Initially we wanted to pay for someone to come and install the artificial grass for us, doing all the preparation work as well. But we spoke with Perfectly Green who gave us excellent assistance and advice, including a step by step guide, so we did the work ourselves. We were thrilled with the outcome and saved ourselves money at the same time…” - Mr A Seymour

If you have any issues or want any advice on artificial grass installation, then contact a member of our team at:
01825 729259 or email tradeenquiries@perfectlygreen.co.uk for trade enquiries
01825 729389 or email homeenquiries@perfectlygreen.co.uk for residential/homeowner enquiries

 

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