How to Lay A Perfect Artificial Lawn
The steps to take in completing a DIY artificial lawn installation; the importance of preparation and ensuring all equipment and items including border edging is to hand.
Take your time and plan ahead to install your new artificial surface
Perhaps the idea of virtually no lawn maintenance and little ongoing expense appeals and you’re about to switch from real grass to an artificial surface. If you decide to install it yourself it’s perfectly within reach if you have a certain amount of DIY ability; the key is to plan properly and ensure you have all the items and equipment you require at the outset.
You could decide to have your new artificial grass installed by professionals, but if you prefer to go it alone there are a number of firms both local and national who can supply not only the fake grass itself, but the other equipment needed to perform a successful installation.
Before you even buy anything it’s important to know and understand what you’ll require and ensure it’s all to hand when you begin installation.
Attention to detail is paramount; for example, while you’ll soon be aware you require a knife to cut your grass to length and trim up, don’t forget you’ll need several replacement blades; to ensure clean cuts you’ll likely have to replace the blade every two to three metres.
So, prepare a ‘shopping list’ of the items you’ll require and over order if necessary; for instance, don’t be left running out of double sided joining tape.
Covering all tasks
Along with basically laying the new surface, don’t forget issues such as the borders; is your artificial lawn going to run up to shrub and flower borders or a pathway? If so you’ll require some artificial grass fixing strips – these durable edging strips are ideal for providing a clean and secure border.
If you find you’ll require some, ensure they’re ordered in the right quantity in good time for your installation period.
What do you require?
The equipment and tools inventory would include:
- Mastic gun – to spread the joint glue (see below)
- Trimming knife and replacement blades – to cut the grass to length
- Hammer – to knock ground pins and nails in
- Spade, rake and stiff broom – to distribute base layer and level it off
- Vibrating plate – you may need to hire or borrow one if the original surface requires significant levelling
A list of items you’ll require includes:
- Joint glue – to join lengths of grass
- Joining tape – as above
- Ground pins – to affix edges of grass to the layer below
- 6” nails – for affixing the edging
- 4” nails – for fixing weed membrane
- Sharp sand – for a base layer
- Granite dust – as above (you’ll likely use either granite dust or sharp sand)
- Weed membrane – to go under the grass to inhibit weed growth from below
Work out how much grass is required
An obvious requirement but take care over measuring to ensure you don’t under or over order. Artificial grass is usually supplied in rolls of lengths up to 25 feet long, or two or four metres wide.
Measure your current lawn area carefully and allow for a some overrun when deciding how much fake grass you need; work out where joins will occur and, if possible, plan lengths and widths of grass runs to ensure joins occur in the best places. For example, you wouldn’t want a join close to an edge of a border thus wasting grass so take this into account.
Many artificial grass and supplies websites feature an online calculator to help you work out how much grass you’ll need.
The installation itself
So, you’ve taken delivery of your grass and related items; check once more you haven’t forgotten anything and, once satisfied, get weaving:
Preparation of ground
It’s vital to take your time and ensure the ground is level and the old surface (if natural grass or other growing matter such as weeds) is removed to a depth of around 120mm.
Level off the surface carefully – this is where you may need a vibrating plate if larger areas require levelling.
At this point you need to partially install the edging strips if you’re using them for bordering. Follow installation instructions as per the supplier’s website or any paperwork that came with the edging.
At this point it basically consists of making a channel for the edging and placing them in the ground.
The base layer
Using your granite dust or sharp sand, create a base layer of around 40mm; smooth it across the surface and level it off using a length of wood.
Lay the weed membrane
An important component as this not only inhibits weed growth but aids efficient draining.
Installing the grass
Take the following steps:
- Ensure each roll of grass is running in the same direction prior to laying and confirm where your joins will occur.
- Lay the grass but don’t affix to the ground with pins yet or create your joins. Leave it for a day to settle.
- Once a day has elapsed, use the backing tape and adhesives to join the lengths of grass; take you time in order to achieve the best result as poor joins can spoil the appearance of your new grass.
- Trim excess grass using the edging knife and replace the blade frequently to ensure clean cuts.
- Fix the grass into position by knocking in the ground pins around the edges at 200mm intervals.
Variations on DIY
Once your grass is installed, the good news is your hard work is pretty much over; no more mowing, watering or generally tending to your lawn. The saving of time and ongoing expense will make your DIY installation well worthwhile.