Expert Artificial Grass Installation Guide
Step 1: Site Prep
Excavate existing sod or debris. Demo includes removing all materials whether soil, roots, vines, weeds, or any degrading organics on the ground. Rough grade the site and uncover anything that might be damaged including electric wires, irrigation lines, etc– you need a solid sub base for proper site prep.
Cut and cap main irrigation lines when possible. Its best to have as little that can go wrong under the turf once its installed. When you cant remove sprinkler lines, cap sprinkler heads. Caps will be threaded but use glue to reinforce. Getting the sprinkler system properly adjusted is very important. Avoid future leaks and spare the budget.
Reroute existing irrigation lines and relocate sprinkler head so that other portions of existing sod and plant beds continue to receive water, and modify the drainage system. It’s important to fill back with dirt all areas that you dug. After backfilling, compact dirt so that low spots and depressions do not appear later after project is finished.
Locate all wiring and electric sprinkler valves. For the wiring that needs to lay under the project site, move it inside, away from all hardscape and perimeter by eight inches to one foot. By paying attention to edges and not having vulnerable functioning materials near these areas, accidental damage will be prevented. The edges of project site is where the synthetic grass will be fastened using nails. Secure your electric lines to the sub-base with u-shaped nails.
Some projects will need bender board. *Bender Board can be plastic, composite or wood. Install Bender Board when you want to separate plants or beds and turf areas. A perimeter board will act as a crisp ending to your synthetic grass area line and separation for the
Step 2: Base Installation
Gravel, DG, base rock—In step two, you will be installing the base gravel. Depending on what part of the country you live in will define the type of base rock that you use. It can be limestone, granite, or crushed concrete. You will want to use “¼ inch – minus”, this means largest rock is ¼ inch with all the dust included.
Some people like to use a special mixture of gravel and sand if they are not happy with what the local yard carrier. The minimum depth of gravel is 3 inches. For a pet landscape installation, the base material required is different.
Spread and level the base. Make sure you are consistent with base distribution. When leveling your base, be aware of water flow and slope away from beds in the direction of desired drainage areas. Proper grading will ensure a smooth level appearance in your synthetic turf project when finished.
Step 3: Base Compaction
In the next step, you will want to add some water to the base so that it will settle and compact well.
Compaction of base— there are a few ways to achieve proper compaction. Vibrating, tamping, and rolling the gravel can all be good means of making the base solid. You want the base solid so your nails will hang in the base.
Check for any unnatural humps or dips in your base at this time. Make final adjustments by scraping high spots into low spots.
Step 4: Cutting in the Turf
While cutting the turf to fit, let edges hang over one inch. This will allow you to tuck the excess turf for a clean edge.
If you have any concern, leave a little more turf overhanging because it can always be trimmed off easier than it can be put on. Seaming turf will be your first challenge.
I’ve been installing turf for nearly two decades and have seen seams put together many different ways. For beginners, I suggest a seaming tool. After edges are cut with a seaming tool, edges will line up self explanatory. The seaming tool also cuts in an S-Shapes.
Having the seams curved instead of straight makes them harder to see when job is completed. After the seam is cut and placed together, insert a “3.5 inch, 16D, non-galvanized nail” every 5-7 inches close to the seam edge. When inserting a nail, drive it down ¾ of the way.
Once the nail is driven down partially, you want to move the grass fibers away from head of nail so that nails aren’t trapping fiber. Trapping fibers with the nail head cause each fastening point to be visible therefore looking unnatural. Also be aware not to counter sink the nails (drive the nail in to deep) . If you counter sink the nails, there will be a depression and look unnatural.
Step 5: Tucking the Edge of Grass
Tuck the turf’s edges to have clean finished look. This part of the process will hide the edges of the turf against any hardscape, planter beds, or curb. The rounding off and pointing down of turf edge will have a very nice look.
Step 6: Installing the Sand Infill
In this portion of the install, you will use a drop spreader and broom. A power brush is best. A power broom cost around $800. The ridged bristles of the circular broom head brushes against the turf grain standing the fibers up to prep the blades for dropping in infill sand.
Next apply the sand with a “Scott’s” drop spreader. The infill sand should be 20/40, round, and washed. For some applications for children or pets, you may want to use an anti-bacterial infill. Make sure you understand how to shut off your drop spreader. It sounds simple but spreading sand evenly over the project will save you time later.
Avoid piling, under filling, and over filling. Apply a thin layer evenly across the entire synthetic grass area. You want to bring the sand levels up slow. Properly installed sand will weigh the turf down, stand the blades straight up, and bring the grass to life.
Step 7: Final Brooming
You may want to use a regular shop push broom to lower the sand in areas where its high. Power brooming the turf after the sand is dropped in will stand the fibers up and push the infill down.