How to Lay Artificial Grass
Laying artificial grass can seem a daunting prospect but it doesn’t have to be, with the right advice and the right approach you can install your artificial grass with no issues. Remember, if you’re unable to do this, here at Tapi we can professionally lay your artificial grass for guaranteed results and peace of mind.
So, how do you lay artificial grass?
Preparing to lay artificial grass
For this guide, we’ll assume you’ve already calculated and bought the correct membrane, joining materials and the turf itself at the right size. Firstly, gather the tools you’re going to need:
- A sharp knife with spare blades
- Tape measure and/or straight edge
- Turf Cutter
- Spade and shovel
- Joining tape
- Ground pins and a hammer or mallet
- Gloves and knee pads (or a garden cushion)
- A stiff broom
- Compactor plate or roller
- Sand spreader
Preparing the base
One of the most important parts of installing artificial grass is to prepare the base properly. Putting the time and effort into this stage can make it easier later and produce better results.
Whether you’re installing your artificial grass on concrete, old slabs or the earth, the beginning steps are largely the same.
- Using a turf cutter, or a good old-fashioned spade, remove the old turf down to around 100mm. This ensures that once you’ve finished, your artificial grass won’t look like it sits too high compared to any shaved areas you have.
Tapi Top Tip: If you’re installing your artificial grass in the summer months, a couple of days of moderate watering with the hose should help soften the ground and help you get a more even finish.
- Regardless of whether you’re laying your grass on a concrete or stone base, or direct to the earth, it should be smooth, level and clear of debris. Some people opt to spray the area with weed killer at this point.
- If you’re building a timber frame to affix the grass to, now is the time to construct it. Make sure that it doesn’t sit higher than the final planned height of the grass.
- Spread your sub-base across the area to a depth of 50mm and compact. Use a compactor plate or a roller to achieve this. Apply a layer of sand and smooth it out again to fill in gaps and bring it up to the required height.
- Add the weed membrane. Some artificial grass installers prefer to add this under the base to help prevent it potentially sinking. Others prefer to add it on top of the sub-base to keep it as close to the actual turf as possible. In reality, both methods produce the same results. Either way, ensure there is about 30cm of overlap between membrane sheets to prevent gaps.
- At this point, some people choose to add a layer of shock absorbing material. This is especially useful if your artificial grass is going to be used by kids and will be used under play equipment such as climbing frames and slides.
Laying your artificial lawn
Now it’s time for business!
- Roll out your artificial grass into place and allow roughly 50mm of overhang on each edge. Let it sit for around 2-3 hours, or overnight if possible. This will let it re-find its shape, remove any creases, and make it easier to cut and bond later.
Tapi Top Tip: Artificial grass looks best when you look into the pile. Therefore, you might want to lay it so this is the side facing your home or wherever you’re likely to look at it most.
- Trim the artificial grass to shape. Remember Measure Twice, Cut Once. Use a sharp knife to give it the best possible cut. We recommend flipping the turf over and cutting the backing. This should let you cut straighter and avoid the stitching at the same time. Run the knife next to the stitch lines but try not to cut across them.
- If you’ve got a big garden, you may need to join 2 pieces of artificial grass. We cover this in more detail further down this page.
- Now comes the time to permanently install your artificial grass. At this point, there are two slightly different approaches you take depending on whether you’re laying it on concrete or a sand/stone base.
How to fit artificial grass
Once your turf has settled and the creased have gone, it’s time to fit it permanently:
- If you’re using a timber frame, you can use carpet tacks, pins or screws to fasten the grass in place. These should be roughly 150mm to 200mm apart.
- If you’re laying directly onto your base, then you can use landscaping nails at 100mm to 150mm intervals.
- In either case, brush the fibres of the grass over to hide the pins.
How to lay artificial grass on concrete
As it requires a slightly different approach, we have created a specific guide for laying artificial grass on concrete.
However, the basic steps are as follows:
- If you’re laying your artificial grass onto concrete, then you will need to use a suitable outdoor adhesive to bond it down. It’s important to make sure you’ve lined it up correctly as you'll only get one chance.
- Once you’re happy, apply the adhesive and pin it down. Allow this to set for 24 hours before walking on it.
The last steps…
- Once you’ve successfully laid your artificial grass down, the glue has dried, and the pins have settled down, the next step is to brush the lawn with a stiff brush.
- First, get rid of any debris, loose fibres, and anything else that may have found its way onto the turf during installation.
- Brush in the infill. Spread your sand as evenly as possible over the artificial turf. Ideally, use a spreader, but spreading it manually is ok too.
- Brush the infill into the turf vigorously, with a stiff brush. Brush against the pile to help stand it up and make your artificial grass look even better.
- Repeat as necessary.
How to join artificial grass
Earlier in the article we mentioned you may need to join your artificial grass. To do this, you need to buy joining tape and adhesive that is suitable for outdoor use.
- Unroll your artificial grass into the correct position on the ground.
- Line up your two pieces of artificial grass and cut away any excess so the stitching is as close to the new edge as possible.
- Offer up the grass and create a dry join to check the fitting.
- Roll the joining tape out underneath so that it covers equal amounts of each piece of turf.
- Roll the turf back temporarily and apply the adhesive to the tape. Apply in a zig zag fashion and use a spreader to ensure it’s all covered.
- Work your way down the seam pushing the two pieces of turf together, making sure you’re not trapping fibres or anything else between the join.
Once you’re happy with the join, lightly brush over it to seal it and allow it to dry.