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How to Install Artificial Grass

Instalación del Césped Sintético   Pet Grass Installation   View PDF file

There are the 12 steps to installing artificial grass. If you want your lawn to look professional, have a proper drainage, and last you for the next twenty years, take every step with care. You will find the tools that you will need for the installation at the bottom of this page. There are also four videos with Dave, who will explain and show every step of synthetic turf installation in great detail. Don't miss these instructions if you really want your synthetic lawn to look good and last long. We've got the best artificial grass installation videos.

Artificial Lawn - Site Base Preparation

  1. Remove 3 - 4 inches of existing sod and/or dirt. Cap and/or remove any sprinklers. Be sure to set a rough grade for drainage.
  2. Lay 2 - 2 1/2 inches of drain rock, hose down, then using a vibrating plate compactor, compact to 90%.
  3. Lay 1 - 1 1/2 inches of either class II road base or decomposed granite.
  4. Lay the weed barrier * fabric over road base or decomposed granite. This step is optional. Landscape fabrics have their pros and cons. If the soil beneath your installation is "alive" and weeds are wildly grown prior to installation, it might be a good idea to protect your lawn from weeds with weed barrier fabric. In many cases, there is no big need for weed protection, and you can install turf right on top of decomposed granite without adding extra layers.
  5. Hose down and then use a vibrating plate compactor to compact to 90%.
  6. Make sure base surface is as level and as smooth as possible.
  7. Create a slight grade for optimal drainage.
Artificial Grass (Synthetic Turf)

Synthetic Turf Installation

CAUTION: Turf should be rolled out under the sun with blades facing down at least 1-2 hours before installation. This will allow the turf to acclimate and, as a result make, it easier to work with.

  1. Lay turf onto base and position where needed. Using a carpet knife/razor knife, cut off excess turf on the backside (3 stitches in from sides). Cut turf (on backside) to fit area.
  2. Fasten one end with 40D or 60D Bright Common nails of 5-6 inches in length, spaced 3-4 inches apart along the edges. Stretch turf and fasten with nails as you move across to the opposite end. Place a nail every 12-24 inches throughout center and every 3-4 inches along the perimeter.
  3. Fasten together seams by using 11 gauge 6"x1"x6" staples spaced 4 inches apart along the seam. Do not counter sink staples.

    Note: Be sure the seams are taut and precise, the grain of the turf is facing in the same direction, and the space at the seam is the same as the stitching gauge.

  4. After turf is installed, power broom before applying infill. Apply infill onto turf using a drop spreader. Spread infill as evenly as possible with a grading rake or broom until infill settles into the base of the turf.

    Note: Never use regular sand for infill.
  5. Hand or power broom again so that the blades are standing straight up. Use carpet scissors to trim off the excessive turf blades. Clean the surrounding area with a blower or a broom.

When to Install a Wire Mesh?

As you can see on the diagram above, a wire mesh is installed on top of the soil, after you removed dirt and existing sod, and before you start spreading and compacting drain rocks and decomposed granite. A Wire Mesh, or a wire barrier, is meant to prevent gophers and moles from damaging lawns. Are those critters populated in your area? Then, no matter what type of lawn you install, natural or artificial, you want to protect it. There are special "gopher wires" that are made specifically for this reason - to make strong underground barrier below the surface of your lawn. This step is optional. Some regions have no issues with gophers, while in others, gophers' over-population affects the whole gardening and landscaping experience. Gophers love to tunnel their way up your lawn and to turn it into their personal salad bar. They are not too interested in artificial turf with rocks and granite underneath. If there are no problems with gophers and moles in your installation area, a wire mesh can be an unreasonable expense.

Tips for a Professional-Looking Synthetic Grass and Turf Install

  • Prior to installation, lay turf out under the sun for at least 1-2 hours to allow turf to acclimate. This will make the backing less stiff and the turf easier to be swept. Always stretch and install turf taut. One yard of base materials will cover 80 square feet at 4 inches depth (1 Yard = 1 Ton). Do not overlap seams. Never drive nails too far into the base because this will create a noticeable dip.
  • Always hand or power broom turf prior to filling.
  • Always run grain of turf in the same direction. Use a 2x4 (straight line installation) or 1x2 (curve line installation) of synthetic or pressure treated wood bender board around the perimeter of turf area to frame and protect the turf from soil and debris.
  • Use only manufacturer recommended infill materials. Infill amount will vary. A 100 Ib. bag of infill will typically cover a 60 sf. of turf.

Artificial Grass Installation - Facts You Need to Know

  • Melting: Beware of highly reflective windows on the south or west side of your home. In certain conditions, sunlight hitting these windows has created a "magnifying glass effect", which acts much like a laser and will melt your turf. A coating on the outside of the window will prevent this.
  • Weather: Our turf can be installed in the mountains, where rain and snow drain very well with no flooding issues. Wind is not a worry if the installation has been done properly. In the hot Southwest part of the US, the grass can get quite warm to the touch during the midday direct sun. The grass does not retain heat in the shade or darkness like rock. The turf can easily take even the hottest direct sunlight without damage, providing that there isn't any strong reflection or sun magnification.
  • Pets Smell: The best solution for getting rid of pet smell is to use ZeoFill. It works as a molecular sieve creating a cation exchange, which occurs when two or more positively charged compounds or elements exchange places on a negatively charged host. This exchange process removes charges and essentially removes ammonia in pet waste.
Artificial Grass Cost Calculator. Water and money you save

Artificial Grass Cost Calculator

Get installation costs immediately! Calculate synthetic lawn vs. natural turf maintenance, initial installation prices, labor and landscape services costs, gallons of water you use every year. Start now and save!

Artificial Grass Installation
Artificial Grass Installation Part 1
Artificial Grass Installation
Artificial Grass Installation Part 2
Pet Grass 85 Installation
Pet Grass 85 Installation with Dr. Simmons
calculate cost of materials needed for artificial grass installation

Artificial Grass Calculator: Materials

Instantly get the list of materials you need for installation with associated amounts, costs, and rental equipment fees.

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Artificial Grass Installation Videos

Artificial grass installation can take from 5 to 12 hours on average to install on any small to average size lawn. We have an artificial lawn installed in Auburn, California in the beautiful Lake of the Pines community. The most important part of synthetic turf installation is the base preparation. If your site is properly prepared, spread, and well compacted with drain rock, road base, or decomposed granite, the second step (see the second video) is easy. You just need a pair of scissors, measuring tape, and a pair of strong hands to lay out the turf on the base, seam the seams, and fasten the turf down with staples or nails.

Tools Required For Artificial Grass and Turf Installation

Almost all required tools can be found in your garage, except maybe carpet stretcher. A carpet stretcher is very useful when installing artificial turf. Specifically, you need it before you start seaming the edges of turf. If you'll watch the second installation video, you will see how to use the stretcher. As a tip, the carpet stretcher is also called a knee-kicker. You strike the padded end with your knee. Wrinkles on the seam stretch nicely. A simple carpet stretcher from Home Depot will do. Don't want your turf to buckle? Use the stretcher.

Plate Compactor

If you don't have a plate compactor, rent one for a day or two. Your base must be stable and well-compressed before you lay turf or pavers on top of it. If you don't compact your base well, it will continue to shift and compress in time, causing ruts in your lawn and developing higher or lower areas that eventually will cause buckles and wrinkles in turf as well.

When you compact your base with a plate compactor, constantly water the area with a hose. Compaction is a very simple process, but it takes time and patience to go over the area multiple times. Some say three to four times is good enough, but to be safe, repeat the go-round compaction procedure up to ten-twelve times before introducing the sub-base material. Don't forget to create a little slop in the area for proper drainage.

Artificial Grass Installation Shovel & Picks
Shovel & Picks
Artificial Grass Installation Grading Rake
Grading Rake
Artificial Grass Installation Hammer
Artificial Grass Installation Measuring Tape
Measuring Tape
Artificial Grass Installation Carpet Knife
Carpet Knife
Artificial Grass Installation Cutting Blades
Cutting Blades
Artificial Grass Installation Carpet Stretcher
Carpet Stretcher
Artificial Grass Installation Carpet Scissors
Carpet Scissors
Artificial Grass Installation Blower (for clean up)
Blower (for clean up)
Artificial Grass Installation Wheelbarrow
Artificial Grass Installation Drop Spreader (For Infill)
Drop Spreader (For Infill)
Artificial Grass Installation Vibrating Plate Compactor
Vibrating Plate Compactor
Artificial Grass Installation Power Broom
Power Broom
Artificial Grass Installation Broom (for clean up)
Broom (for clean up)

Materials Required for Artificial Grass and Turf Installation

Artificial Grass Installation Drain Rock
Drain Rock
Artificial Grass Installation Decomposed Granite
Decomposed Granite
Artificial Grass Installation 40D 5
40D 5" / 60D 6" bright common nails and 6"x1"x6" steel staples
Artificial Grass Installation Infill Materials: 
              Use only when necessary. 
                Medium or #30 Kiln Dried Sand. 
                Depending on the pile heights, infill amount may vary. 
                Special infill made for pet turf is available.
Infill Materials:
Use only when necessary.
Medium or #30 Kiln Dried Sand.
Depending on the pile heights, infill amount may vary.
Special infill made for pet turf is available.
Artificial Grass Installation Bender Boards: 
              Only used when needed
Bender Boards:
Only used when needed
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