How to Install Artificial Grass
The following steps will guid you towards a correct and complete installation of synthetic turf. Although not all aspects can be covered completely, these will put you on a path to success. Be sure not to skip over or ‘cheat’ on any of these steps as it can make your installation be less than what you want it to be.
VERY IMPORTANT: As soon as you receive the synthetic turf, open the rolls and roll the turf out and let is lay open for 1 – 2 hours. This will allow the turf to relax and acclimatize. Without allowing the turf to relax (installing it directly from the rolls they come in) could cause the turf to buckle. Sometimes the rolls will have roll marks right near the end of the roll. When you see this, please leave the turf exposed in the sun for 40 – 60 minutes and the heat will (most the time) correct the turf on it’s own.
Excavation (Preparing for your base)
Remove 3-4 inches of existing sod and/or dirt. Cap and/or remove any sprinklers. Be sure to set some grade to ensure will also run off the area. Our turf drains at 55 gallons per hour per square yard, more water that has ever fallen in a single storm, but giving it some grade moves the water quicker. Spray weed killer or grass blocker solution to ensure that no vegetation will grow under the turf area in the future.
If you are using bender board around the outer perimeters, install the bender board before you begin the base work. Having bender board in place allows you to trap the base on the outer perimeters leaving you with a clean edge and reducing damage to existing landscape.
Once you are ready, apply crushed stone aggregate (we recommend a 3"-4" layer of class 2 road base). You can purchase this at your local home improvement store or building supply warehouse.
Once the crushed stone is applied, you will want to make sure the base is as level as possible. A plate compactor or sod roller may be useful for this step. It is important to remember that the turf will be applied on top of this crushed stone base, thus any undulation on the surface will be visible once the turf has been applied. It is also important to remember that the crushed stone will aid in the drainage properties of the system, so a slight slope is recommended for proper drainage. Going over it with a broom in the end can get you a perfectly smooth surface.
Note: Keeping the area damp while compacting ensures for quicker/better compaction.
Note: Crowning the area instead of a side-to-side slope always makes the installation look way better.
Install the weed fabric over the compacted base. Weed fabric is very important since it will reduce the possibility of weeds & seeds germinating on the base or on top of the turf. Birds and the wind could deposit seeds that could germinate. The weed fabric greatly reduces the chance of these germinating in the area.
Now that your base is ready it's time to install your synthetic grass
Once you have laid the stone base you will want to roll out the turf according to your area measurements. (It is important to lay the turf with all grass fibers or blades going in the same direction to ensure that all pieces of turf match up.) *This step may not apply if you do not have multiple pieces or sections of turf.
Place the synthetic turf in place in rough cuts. Using the shot follower, prepare your seams by cutting off the factory edges 3 – 4 rows in. After you have removed all the factory edges make a ‘test run’ to ensure your seams are looking perfect. Note: Make sure the stich lines run towards to property, in other words: if you are standing in front of the property, you should be looking straight down the stitch lines. This will ensure the grain points in the correct direction. Note: Do NOT shape the turf to the outer perimeters until you are done with the seams.
It is recommended that you stretch the turf and blanket it with nails to ensure the turf does not buckle. This step is not mandatory but highly recommended, especially when you do installations between December 1 – March 30, the cooler months. The cooler weather causes the black backing to stay ‘stiffer’ which in turn stops it from expanding (which will happen when the summer comes around and the turf starts heating up). If the turf was not allowed to relax for 1 – 2 hours before installation AND it does not get stretched there is a possibility that the turf will buckle.
In addition to allowing the turf to relax, stretching the turf and putting nails throughout the body of the turf will eliminate this potential issue. When you put nails in the body of the turf, be careful not to hit the nails too hard which in turn will create dimples throughout the turf
Once you are satisfied that your seams are perfect, drive 5” bright nails about 12” away from the seam through the turf with the nail sticking out about halfway. These nails will ensure your seams do ‘not move’ while you are working on them. As you finish each 3’ – 4’ section be sure to roll the seam vigorously with a seam roller to maximize the blending of the turf fibers to help blend the seam. Once the seam is completed, drive the nails down into the turf BUT make sure to not hit the nails too hard and in doing so create dents/dimples in the turf.
Note: Make sure the grain of the turf is ALWAYS facing in the same direction.
Once the seams are fully completed and the nails alongside the seams have been driven down you are now ready to shape the outer perimeters of the facility. With the seams done and the nails in the ground you run no risk of ‘pulling the seams out of place’.
Once the outer perimeters have been shaped completely, begin to secure the outer perimeters with 5” bright nails every 4” – 6” all around. If you have bender board make sure to ‘end’ the turf on the outer edge of the bender board. In this case, using 1 ¼” outdoor drywall screws screw the turf into the top of the bender board.
Now that your fake lawn has been laid down onto your base, you are ready for the finishing touches
Once the complete facility has been secured with nails (in the body of the turf and the outer perimeters), you are ready for the infill sand to be applied. Always use a minimum of 2 pounds of sand per square foot. This is needed to help the turf stand up better AND keep the turf from buckling during days of severe temperature swings. The ideal sand for lawns are #20 silica sand, #16 green sand or Superfill. Apply the sand with a drop spreader. The drop spreader ensures the sand goes down/in evenly which will give you a much better looking facility. Drop the sand in layers and broom the sand in-between each layer. When possible, always use a Power Broom since it can do the same work in 10 minutes that will take a human 30 minutes to do. Furthermore, these power brooms will ‘break the grain’ which is a must for correct installation.
Note: It is VERY important to remove as much grain from the synthetic lawn as possible; this gives you an authentic and classy looking installation.
DO NOT SPREAD ALL THE SAND AT THE SAME TIME. SPREAD A LAYER, THEN BROOM THE LAWN, SPREAD A LAYER THEN BROOM THE LAWN. KEEP ON REPEATHING THIS UNTIL ALL THE SAND HAS BEEN USED. THIS WILL LEAVE YOU WITH A FULL BODIED LAWN WITH THE CORRECT AMOUNT OF INFULL AND A LAWN WITH ALMOST NO GRAIN TO IT.
Gopher or Mole problem?
Should I use Gopher wire or not? If there is evidence of any gophers it is highly recommended that you use the gopher wire. These little guys will destroy the base if they get under the synthetic turf. After you have removed the existing growth (before you bring in the Road Base, lay the gopher wire down across the whole area and secure it with sod staples. Note: If you know there are many gophers in the area, it is recommended you do a double layer. Also make sure you take extra time to secure the gopher wire around the outer perimeters, this is where they will try to get back in.
Be on the look out for windows facing south, south west and west. The reflection of the sun could melt the turf if the windows are too close to the turf. Double pane windows are the most troublesome since they double up the sun’s magnification factor. If you have any doubt, call us and we will put you in touch with a good window tinting company. There is a specific film (virtually clear) or putting on a screen that can over come this potential problem.
Play on a Hot Day
Our turf will get hot during the mid summer months. Simply wet it down and it will drop the temperature by 20-30 degrees and hold the lower temperature for up to 4 hours. However, our turf does not hold heat (like rocks do) and will cool down very quickly when covered by shade.