Artificial grass offers the look of a lush lawn without the hassle of ongoing mowing and maintenance. Thanks to major advances in materials and technology, today’s artificial turf feels convincingly grass-like and can last over 20 years with proper installation. Follow this step-by-step guide to properly lay artificial grass and enjoy a low-maintenance lawn for years.
Step 1: Plan the Layout
First, measure where to install the artificial turf and sketch a layout. Calculate the total square footage. Experts recommend ordering 10% extra turf to account for miscalculations and waste. If the area has irregular shapes, do separate measurements for each section.
Next, decide which direction the turf grains will run. Grains running parallel to the most-viewed side create the best visual appeal for most applications. Also, account for any permanent structures in the layout. The turf must be cut around trees, fences, and lampposts.
Step 2: Prepare the Base
Proper base preparation is crucial for lasting artificial grass. The surface under the turf must be leveled, compacted, and drained for the lawn to stay smooth and flush. First, remove any topsoil or vegetation from the installation area using a sod cutter or rototiller.
Next, level the bare ground using a rake, screed board, or lawn roller. Fill any dips or holes with sand or untreated topsoil. The base only needs to be roughly leveled at this stage. The final precision grading happens after adding the crushed stone base.
Once graded, compact the earth with a plate compactor or hand tamp. Compacting prevents settling later on. Then install a weed barrier over the leveled, compacted base using landscape fabric and securing pins. This blocks weeds and vegetation growth under the turf.
Step 3: Add Crushed Stone Base
The crushed stone base provides drainage and a firm foundation for the artificial grass. After laying the weed barrier, spread a 2-3 inch layer of crushed stone over the area. The recommended aggregate size is 3/8″ or 5/8″ per trusted manufacturers like ForeverLawn.
Use a screed board or rake to smooth this layer evenly. Compact again before using a screed board to fine-tune the grading. The base should be precisely leveled to avoid bumps or divots in the finished lawn. Flood the area and check for pooling water, filling any low spots as needed.
Step 4: Install Edging
Edging keeps the turf securely contained along the perimeter. Different edging options include metal, plastic, concrete, and wood. Metal and plastic edging installs quickly by hammering stakes into the ground. Concrete and wood offer a more permanent border solution when properly embedded.
Install the edging following manufacturer guidelines. The edging should sit just below the crushed stone base height so it remains hidden by the turf. Leave small gaps between edging pieces to allow drainage. Completing the edging before installing turf lets you cut a precise fit.
Step 5: Lay the Artificial Grass
Roll out the artificial turf over the prepared base. Pull the turf taut to minimize wrinkles and overlap seams by 2-3 inches. Use a carpet knife or shears to cut the turf around edging, lampposts, and other obstructions for a custom fit.
If using multiple turf pieces, stagger the seams in a bricklike pattern. Adhere to the seams using specialty tape or glues made for artificial grass. Apply bonding glue around the perimeter’s underside to secure the edges. Avoid using standard adhesives which can leach through and stain the grass.
Step 6: Secure the Turf
There are two main methods to secure artificial turf over the base firmly. The least permanent option is to hammer metal staples every 6-12 inches along the edges and seams. A more long-term method is adhesive bonding across the entire underside of the turf.
For adhesive installation, apply a primer coat first, then use a notched trowel to spread the adhesive. Fold back half the turf and trowel the adhesive onto the base before carefully laying that section over the glue. Repeat for the other half. Apply pressure for 24 hours while the adhesive fully cures.
Step 7: Fill In and Groom the Turf
The last steps finalize the natural, lush lawn look. Use silica sand to fill the artificial blades, brushing it into the turf backing to stabilize the fibers. Only use infill sand made explicitly for artificial grass to avoid compaction. Spread evenly across the lawn, using around 1-2 pounds per square foot.
Read Also: 7 Steps for Installing Artificial Grass
Groom the finished lawn with a stiff bristle broom. Brush against the grass grain direction to loosen fibers and fully stand up the blades. Avoid using metal rakes or brushes, which can snag and tear the artificial grass fibers. The turf fibers will fully settle and activate over the first few weeks.
Proper installation allows your artificial grass to retain its fresh appearance for over two decades. Periodically groom, spot clean as needed, and replenish infill sand to keep your lawn thriving season after season. Turn your yard into a low-maintenance oasis with the beauty of realistic artificial grass.