Before you start
1. Make a plan. As with any landscape project, your final results will only be successful if your initial plan is well thought out. Draw your project area on graph paper. Play around with it; draw curves, pavers, trees and decorative borders to clearly understand the shape and size of the area where you intend to install synthetic turf. Use this drawing to calculate the square footage of the area.
2. Calculate. How much square feet of synthetic turf do you need? It is important to realize that synthetic turf blades face a particular direction and if you lay out two pieces of grass in an opposite directions, the surface will look noticeably uneven and unmatched color-wise. You can use this feature of synthetic turf to create unusual combinations of shades and colors, but if you like your surface look smooth and uniform, you must carefully calculate in advance how you will cut your turf in order to match the direction across the entire area of application. If your project is shaped like a rectangle, you don't have to worry about matching pieces of turf, simply measure the square footage of your area and add 5%. If your project is designed with many curves, buy an extra ten percent of turf on top of your rough estimate to accommodate all the cuts and maneuvering that are necessary for successful installation.
3. Additional Considerations. Make sure that you have accounted for a reasonable drainage space. You don't want water to settle under your base causing erosion and breeding pesky insects. This additional drainage area might add extra inches of turf to your calculations.
Straighten it up
Unroll the roll(s) of artificial turf and let it stay under the direct sunlight for at least a couple of hours. This step is often overlooked, but if you want your lawn look beautiful and evenly colored, this step is necessary prior to turf installation.
Excavating the Area
We typically recommend 3-4" of soil and dirt to be removed for proper installation. Projects in areas with wet soils may need deeper (up to 8'' of base) excavation, as well as more base materials to cover the difference.
Don't forget to secure (cap off) your sprinklers/irritation heads to protect against any unwanted damage that may occur in the excavation and installation process.
Electrical or gas lines might be located under the ground, make sure to research the area of installation in advance to avoid any hazardous accidents.
Gophers or Moles? How about Underground Fencing?
Gophers like to turn our gardens into their personal salad-bars. If you have problems with these cute little creatures, install wire mesh, also called gopher wire, after you removed the soil. Gophers and moles don't like to eat synthetic turf but they sure love to dig tunnels beneath the surface. Don't let rodents damage your beautiful lawn. Gopher wire is made of galvanized metal and it does not rust quickly.
For artificial grass installation, use a rock base that allows water to freely drain away from the base of the turf while stabilizing the ground above against erosion and sinkholes. On top of the drain rock layer, decomposed granite should be added; inexpensive, natural and absorbent, it helps to secure the base beneath the turf keeping it firm underfoot.
Apply 2 -2.5 inches of drain rock, and then 1-1.5 inches of decomposed granite.
Compacting the Base
Compaction is one of the most required and underestimated steps in artificial grass installation. The use of professional grade plate compactors is not uncomplicated, but it takes patience and time to go around your base multiple times. Compaction is the key to the quality and life span of your project. Some compactors are supplied with on-board, removable water tanks to conveniently add moisture to the ground as you go. Simple plate compactors produce excellent results. Hose down your base with water and compact it to 90%. Your base must be as smooth and firmly packed as possible. Make sure to create a slope to the sides of your installation area for appropriate drainage.
Adding or not adding weed barrier (protection cloth) before installing artificial turf is up to you or rather your understanding of your regional flora, the type of soil, weeds germination speed. If you regularly do an inordinate amount of weeding, and already fed up with intruders, weed barrier is an answer to your prayers. Install weed barrier on top of your base to prevent weeds growth through little the holes in the turf backing designed for optimal drainage.
Artificial Turf Installation
Open up your roll of turf and cut black edges (approximately 3 inches off each side) before proceeding.
Always cut the turf from the back where you can see the lines of stitches.
Drag and drop pieces of turf onto the appropriate areas per your original plans. Make sure the blades of turf follow the same direction (see above). Look at the backing of the turf - the lines of stitching will show you the direction of blades. Trim turf on the edges to fit your area.
Use galvanized 40D or 60D nails to attach the turf to your prepared foundation. Fasten nails across the entire perimeter - 3-4 inches apart from each other 1 inch from the edges of the turf.
Drive some nails throughout the center of your area, 12 to 24 inches apart.
There are a couple methods used to seam pieces of turf together.
Some installers use special carpet glue to secure the seams; however, this method is outdated. Carpet glue is messy, hard to control, and is not very forgiving when it comes to mistakes. Using carpet glue is considered to be the old-school "die-hard" method.
Many installers use turf staples to bind the edges together. This method is very labor intensive and requires precise technique.
The third way to seam is to use the Seamless seaming machine. This specially designed machine operates using radio-waves that activate the glue of Seamless seaming tape. The beauty of the Seamless machine and the tape that comes with it is that it doesn't get hot, isn't messy, and it can be activated or deactivated at any time.
Use a carpet stretcher to make the surface of the turf smooth and perfectly even. Stretching your turf before installation ensures that your turf remains smooth and wont wrinkle or bubble over time.
After you have successfully laid and secured your turf, fluff the blades of grass with a power broom or synthetic rake. This will make it easier to apply infill deep into the blades of the turf and guarantee that the blades will remain in an upright position.
There are different types of artificial grass infill, and the choice of which one to use is up to you. The cheapest type of infill is Silica sand, the most common type of sand used all around the world. Another economical type of infill is Green sand. If you have pets, the best infill is Zeofill. It is a purified, hardened volcanic ash that absorbs pet odors and wont deteriorate over time. You can always re-infill your lawn in 5-6 years if you want to refresh the feel of your turf.
To infill the turf, use a drop spreader on wheels to evenly distribute the sand across the turf and use a grading rake or broom to work it into the turf blades. Keep spreading and grading until you see that blades of the turf stand upright.
Some installers use the power broom to speed up the infill step. A power broom is a cool tool, but at this point of installation, you may just as well use a simple grading rake.
If you stick to your original plan, your project will serve you well in the next decade or two (even longer in areas with low or medium traffic.) We have a ten years warranty on every artificial turf product we offer.