How to lay artificial grass on soil

How to lay artificial grass on soil

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‘Can you lay artificial grass on soil?’ - we get asked this question a lot when customers come in to buy it. Laying artificial grass can seem a daunting prospect, but with the right advice and the right approach, you can install your artificial grass with no issues. By doing it yourself, you can save yourself money and learn a new skill in the process! 

In our simple guide, we’ll give you a list of all the tools you need for laying artificial grass on soil, teach you how to prepare your base (very important), and provide step-by-step instructions on how to lay artificial grass on concrete, gravel and soil. A key rule is to remember artificial grass should not be laid on natural grass and any rootzone will need to be removed thoroughly before starting.

What do you need 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 10 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 laying 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 soil, the beginning steps are largely the same.
  1. 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 laying the artificial grass, it won’t look like it sits too high compared to any shaved areas you have.​Tapi Top Tip: If you’re fitting 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.
  2. Regardless of whether you’re laying your grass on a concrete or stone base, or directly on the earth, it should be smooth, level, and clear of debris. Some people opt to spray the area with weed killer at this point, but it’s up to you.
  3. If you’re building a timber frame to fix 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.
  4. 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 any gaps and bring it up to the required height.
  5. Add the weed membrane. Some artificial grass installers prefer to add this under the base to help prevent it from potentially sinking. Others prefer to add it on top of the sub-base to keep it as close to the actual turf as possible. Both methods produce the same results so it’s up to you which one you choose. Either way, ensure there’s about 30cm of overlap between membrane sheets to prevent gaps.
  6. At this point, some people choose to add a layer of shock-absorbing material. This is especially useful if you’re fitting artificial grass in an area that’s going to be used by kids and will be used under play equipment such as climbing frames and slides.

How to put down artificial grass

Now it’s time to roll out the green carpet!
  1. 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 position your artificial lawn so this is the side facing your home or wherever you’re most likely to look at it.
  2. Trim the artificial grass to your desired lawn shape. Remember the golden rule of DIY - 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.
  3. If you’ve got a big garden, you may need to join two pieces of artificial grass together at this point. We cover this in more detail further down, so jump ahead if you need to!

How to fit artificial grass

Once your turf has settled into its new home and all the creases have gone, it’s time to fit it permanently. At this point, there are two slightly different approaches you take depending on whether you’re laying artificial grass on a wooden frame or soil base, or a concrete or stone base.
  • To lay artificial grass on 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 the soil/earth, then you can use landscaping nails at 100mm to 150mm intervals.
  • Once you’ve hammered the fastenings into the ground, brush the fibres of the grass over them to hide the pins.

How to lay artificial grass on gravel or concrete

As it requires a slightly different approach, we've created a more detailed guide for laying artificial grass on concrete. However, the basic steps are as follows:

  1. Regardless of whether you’re laying your grass on a concrete or stone base, or directly onto the earth, it should be smooth, level, and clear of debris. 
  2. If you’re laying your artificial grass onto concrete, then you’ll 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.
  3. Once you’re happy, apply the adhesive and pin it down. Allow this to sit for 24 hours before walking on it.

How to join artificial grass

Earlier we mentioned you may need to join two or more pieces of artificial grass together. To do this, you need to buy joining tape and adhesive that is suitable for outdoor use.

  1. Unroll your artificial grass into the correct position on the ground.
  2. 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.
  3. Offer up the grass and create a dry join to check the fitting.
  4. Roll the joining tape out underneath so that it covers equal amounts of each piece of turf.
  5. 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.       
  6. 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.
  7. Once you’re happy with the join, lightly brush over it to seal it and allow it to dry.

The Final Steps...

Once you’ve succeeded in fitting 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.
  • 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 using a stiff brush. Brush against the pile to help stand it up and make your artificial grass look even better.
  • Repeat as necessary.

And there you have it – a brand new lawn laid by your own hands! You should be pretty chuffed with yourself. We hope our instructions made sense, but if you need any further information on laying artificial grass, please get in touch so we can help you further. And to keep your new lawn looking good all year round, make sure you read our essential guide to how to care for artificial grass, get some tips on how to host a garden party, so you can show off your fabulous new outdoor space, or if you prefer the natural look, then discover our guide on creating a wildlife garden.

While artificial grass may seem like an attractive option for your home and garden, it's not the most eco-friendly choice. Artificial grass is typically made from petroleum-based materials and requires a significant amount of energy to produce, transport, and install. In contrast, natural grass provides important environmental benefits, such as food and nutrition for animal and plant life, as well as more oxygen production. By choosing eco-conscious flooring, you can reduce your environmental impact and create a more sustainable living space - explore eco-conscious flooring options like Tapi's TreadKindly range, which offers sustainable materials and manufacturing processes for inside your home.


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