The AVS guide to laying artificial grass

Garden furniture on artificial grass

Artificial grass doesn’t scream fake in the way that it used to. Now, the materials and tools for laying artificial grass as a DIY job is getting better and better: they are increasingly good quality, easy to use, and, most importantly, good looking.

AVS’s range of artificial grasses provides durable, usable and affordable surfacing for small and large areas. Getting the job right first time is the key to a long-lasting lawn, and if that’s what you’re after, then this is how to lay artificial turf to enhance the green, green artificial grass of home.

Preparation is everything

Gardening tools clipped to wall

Whatever your garden or DIY job, preparation is key.

The level of preparation needed here isn’t quite the detailed surface work needed in order to plant a lawn, but you do need a flat surface that drains well and is free of weeds.

Because artificial turf is usually slightly raised, you may need to add edges where there isn’t a wall, fence, or paving to butt up against. When you lay artificial turf, you are laying a material that is, to an extent, a weed suppressant, but you will get a better finish if you add another layer of such material beneath the new lawn.

There are a number of choices to be made here. For example, some experts recommend laying the draining base layer underneath the weed suppressant layer, whereas others suggest laying the weed blocking fibre above the drainage.

Here, we’ll lay the drainage at the bottom, but if you feel your site is better suited to an alternative order, please be our guest.

Free Drainage

Person digging soil with shovel

Remove any cover – lawn, paving, gravel – from where you want to lay your artificial turf, digging down around 3 inches to make room for your foundation materials.

If you’re laying lawn in an area that is especially prone to flooding, then you may wish to put in some serious sub-surface drainage.

But for most situations, you should be fine with a layer of chippings or gravel, with sand or stone dust laid as a filler and topper.

For heavily used and/or very wet areas, lay a depth of at least 3 inches of gravel, fine rubble, or chippings. However, in most locations, you will be fine with a layer of less than 2 inches.

Level the foundations

If you have – or can hire or borrow – a Wacker plate, then this will make short work of hammering down, compacting, and levelling your foundation layers when using gravel or rubble.

A garden roller is a decent second option. Remember, the purpose of this foundation level is to provide good drainage, so it should be level, but not impermeable.

A level of sand or rock dust should sit on top to provide the level surface for your lawn.

To level your sand, use a board to drag the sand into place and firm it down.

Remember, if you want your lawn to be level, you need your foundations to be level, so take your time, and use a spirit level to guarantee it’s right.

Keep the weeds down

Gardener pulling weeds from the ground

You won’t need to weed or cut your new artificial lawn, but weeds shooting up from underneath will affect the way it lies, and may even push through the top layer.

If you don’t mind using chemical weed killers, then it’s a good idea to treat the ground on which you’re laying your lawn, remembering to be careful and to always follow the exact directions for the product you use.

Whether you weed kill or not, you should always lay a layer of weed suppressant fabric. Geotextile membrane is a great option: keeping weeds down and starving them of the light they need to survive, whilst allowing the lawn to drain.

Remember to overlap the edges as you lay, using tape or adhesive to keep the sheets together. Weeds don’t need much of an opportunity to stick their heads above the parapet again.

Make sure it’s a tight fit to the ground and lies level, with no air pockets or gaps.

Right to the edge

If you need to edge your lawn, then do it now. You can use any sort of treated and fairly weatherproof timber to provide a surface against which to attach your lawn fabric.

Decorative ideas – like railway sleepers, gravel or wood chip – that work well with real grass can also be applied to artificial lawns.

Lay your artificial lawn

Pinning artificial grass down with a pin

The moment of truth.

Roll out your layer of artificial grass and firm it down before cutting it exactly to size. A speed knife will chop through this tough material relatively quickly, though make sure you have spare blades, as this is a difficult job.

In situations where laying your artificial grass requires more than one roll, you can fix the joints with either tape or joint adhesive – or both if you’re a belt and braces sort of gardener!

Fix the grass to any edges with pins and use nails to fix large areas of grass down. Remember to hammer them completely home to keep sharp edges out of your new lawn.

Finishing touches

To complete your DIY artificial grass job, you need to go the extra mile in the same way the professionals do.

A layer of sand helps make your grass look and feel its best.

Spread a layer of sharp sand on your newly installed lawn. If you have a lawn spreader or feeder, use it, as this will ensure a good, even coverage.

Brush your lawn to finish the job.

Added extras and maintenance

Beautiful garden with pristine artificial grass

You can lay an extra layer of shock-absorbing material between the weed suppressant and the lawn, if you feel that it’s needed. An example would be if children are going to be regularly jumping and landing on it.

You don’t need to water this grass, but warm, soapy water is a great help if it ever needs a spruce up. A quick brush with a stiff-bristled broom will often do the trick if your lawn looks a little tired.

27 Apr 18