12 Steps to Installing Your Own Synthetic Lawn
The look of a lush green lawn is an enticing aspect of any home. But the severe drought, water restrictions, environmental considerations, and issues with maintaining a picture perfect lawn have more homeowners looking to install artificial turf in place of grass.
Installing artificial turf grass is a simple, yet, deliberate process that when followed properly, leaves the homeowner with a beautiful end product and a feeling of satisfaction for doing it himself. The return on investment will quickly prove itself with a dramatic savings in water, fertilizers, and landscape fees. With the proper supplies, a perfect synthetic lawn can be installed following these measures:
- Remove any existing sod or surface material wherever you plan on installing the synthetic turf. Tools such as shovels or sod cutters work well for this process and can be rented from your local home improvement store. The depth of removal should leave enough room for 3-4 inches of base material. Cap off any irrigation lines with PVC fittings.
- Install any bender board that you wish to line the synthetic grass. If you already have a border in place and plan to simply replace your sod with artificial grass, you can keep that border.
- Shovel 3-4 inches of base material onto the artificial lawn area, spreading it around and filling in the areas where you removed the grass and soil. In regions where the soil is soft, a compact aggregate base may need to be laid prior. An example of base material that works well is crushed rock with a thickness of ¾ inches.
- Grade the area using a plate compactor for large areas or a hand tamper for smaller areas to pack the rock into position. Create a slight slope away from the house to aid with water run-off.
- Apply a layer of pet waste absorber at a rate of ½ pound per square foot if you have pets or are contemplating getting a pet. Use the plate compactor or hand tamper to compress the absorption material.
- Use weed barrier fabric to cover the artificial lawn area to prevent weeds or the regrowth of grass. A general rule is to overlap the seams by 6-12 inches, securing the perimeter of the weed barrier with landscape staples, keeping in mind to staple the seams as well.
- Unroll the synthetic lawn and set it in the sun to relax the blades for a minimum of two hours.
- Use a utility knife to remove the selvage edges of the synthetic grass. Flip the artificial turf over to expose the back and count three rows from the edge before cutting.
- Place the artificial turf in position. Should you need to piece the grass, pay careful attention to align the grass in the same direction.
- Prepare to hammer the synthetic turf into position using landscape staples and a rubber mallet. Along the perimeter of the fake grass, space staples 3-4 inches apart; along the center, space them 12-24 apart; along the seams, space them 1-2 inches apart. The use of staples over nails will avoid the appearance of holes or divots.
- Brush the newly installed synthetic lawn with a power broom, stiff nylon-bristled room, or carpet rake to massage the grass to stand up and to remove any debris that may have accumulated during installation.
- Collect filler such as crumb rubber or silica sand and using a drop spreader, sprinkle the filler on the artificial turf. Use the power broom to even out the filler and keep the fake grass in place. Fillers protect against trafficking and decrease maintenance issues and the need to re-stretch by adding surface weight.
Now step back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Your artificial turf will look natural and maintain its look for years to come without the hassle of watering, fertilizers, or mowing. Have you installed your own synthetic grass? Share your story with us!