How to Install DIY Artificial Lawn
Are you a keen landscaper? Would you like to have a go at revamping your garden with artificial grass? Then keep reading! In this complete guide on how to install a DIY artificial lawn, You'll find everything you need to know about buying and installing low-maintenance turf, with top tips from our landscaping pros.
Thanks to advances in technology and manufacturing processes, synthetic grass is more realistic than we ever thought possible, and it is one of the most versatile landscaping materials available today. You can install fake grass on almost any surface, including concrete, wooden decking, tiles, and soil, and you can even fit in on slopes, balconies, rooftop terraces, and around trees.
The possibilities for design are endless with imitation grass and, while it takes a certain amount of skill to install it professionally on any surface, we will show you how to avoid the most common mistakes that DIYers make, and fit your astroturf in style.
Benefits of Self-Installing Artificial Grass
While we always recommend professional artificial lawn installation, carried out by a team of experienced installers, we appreciate that this is not for everyone. Many homeowners prefer to take the DIY approach when it comes to garden renovations, and if you are handy with tools and a tape measure, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a go at fitting it yourself.
Here are some of the benefits of DIY synthetic grass installations:
You’ll save money. Artificial lawn installation is a specialized job, usually carried out by two or more professionals, and so it can add a significant amount to your garden makeover project. If you are inexperienced and have a large garden, then you may find that investing in professional installers is money well spent, but if you are up for the job, you can save a great deal by doing it yourself.
You’ll save time. While it will take you at least a day to fit your synthetic lawn, you’ll never have to water, weed, fertilize, or mow the grass again so it will save you time in the long run. Once installed, you can spend your weekends entertaining and doing the things you love most, so keep that in mind when you are on your knees fitting it, and those tedious joins will seem much less tedious!
You’ll save on your utility bills With no mowing required, you won’t need an electric lawnmower anymore so you could save money on that bill, and with no watering required, you could reduce your water bill too.
You’ll reduce your carbon footprint. By cutting down on your household utilities, you will reduce your carbon footprint and make your home more environmentally friendly. You’ll never need to use harmful toxins such as fertiliser and pesticides in your garden again so you can create a cleaner, safer environment for children and pets. The grass really is greener when it comes to artificial grass!
You’ll feel a sense of achievement. There is nothing quite like the feel-good factor that comes from DIY projects, and every time you head out onto your synthetic lawn, you’ll get to enjoy the fruits of your labour. You’ll impress friends, family, and neighbours too, and that, as they say, is priceless.
Step by Step DIY Guide to Artificial Lawn Installation
If you have a standard size garden, it should take you no more than a day to install your imitation lawn, but planning is crucial. You’ll need the right tools for the job, and you need to make sure you have plenty of materials so that you don’t have to head to your nearest DIY store halfway through the project.
We’ve broken artificial lawn installation down into easy-to-follow steps to help you achieve your landscaping goals.
Tools You’ll Need For The Job
- Artificial Grass
- Sub-Base Material (we recommend compacted ash)
- Compactor or Roller (to smooth sub-base)
- Two Layers of Weed Membrane
- Sharp Stanley Knife and Spare Blades
- Measuring Tape
- Galvanised U-Pins
- Joint Tape
- Hammer or Mallett
- Stiff Broom or Power Brush
STEP 1: MEASURING YOUR LAWN
How much artificial grass do you need? The first step is to measure your lawn or the area that you want to landscape to ensure you purchase the right amount of material. Order too much, and you could waste hundreds of pounds, order too little, and you’ll have lots of joining up to do, not to mention the added hassle of ordering more from your local fake grass supplier.
Typically, astroturf comes in 2m, 4m, and 5m wide artificial grass rolls, and lengths up to 25m. Measuring your garden for artificial grass is easy if you have a square or rectangular space, you need to multiply the length (e.g. 4m) by the width (e.g. 3m) to get the number of square metres you require, which in this case would be 12m2.
In the case of round or oval gardens, you should measure the widest part of the circumference, both horizontally and vertically, and multiply the figures to get the m2. So in the case of a 3m x 3m round garden, you would need 9m2 of synthetic grass.
For L-shaped or angled lawns, break your garden down into two square parts, measure each part (always using the widest section for guidance), and then add the total square meterage of both parts to get the final amount that you need. If you need help measuring your garden for fake grass, speak to Artificial Super Grass.
STEP 2: PREPARE THE GROUND FOR INSTALLATION
Solid foundations are essential if you are to achieve a professional finish when installing artificial grass, no matter what surface you are laying it on.
Hard Surface Installations
When fitting synthetic turf on a solid surface such as concrete or wooden decking, we recommend that you check the surface for any cracks or rotten wood, and repair as necessary before attempting installation. Does it drain effectively? If not, you will need to add drainage holes before laying the grass to prevent waterlogging. If you are happy that the ground is stable, clean it thoroughly to remove all dust and debris so that you have a smooth surface.
Soft Surface Installations
If you are replacing your existing lawn with artificial grass, you’ll need to remove your existing turf before you can begin with ground prep. It is relatively easy to do with a spade, but you should take care not to damage the soil below. We recommend removing the turf in sections and rolling it up so you can dispose of it. If it’s good quality, you may be able to recycle it by giving it to someone else to use, but if it has seen better days, you should dispose of it as ‘green waste’ with your local council.
Now you can begin to excavate your garden, removing around 80mm of soil to create the perfect foundations for your synthetic lawn. Try to keep it as level as possible, but don’t stress too much at this stage as the sub-base will level it completely.
STEP 3: WEED MEMBRANE ONE
The next step is to apply the first layer of weed membrane. Make sure that you leave a 20cm margin to ‘wrap around’ any edges, and overlap by at least 30cm where making joins.
STEP 4: SUB-BASE CREATION
Sub-base creation is the most crucial part of artificial lawn installation, so take care to get it right. In the case of hard surface installations, you should fit a high-quality foam shock pad to cover any imperfections and create a cushioned surface. There are various options available, so shop around and make sure the artificial grass underlay you choose offers sufficient drainage.
For soft surface installations, you should apply 70mm of quality sub-base materials. We recommend compacted ash due to its superior drainage properties, but you could use MOT type 1 aggregate or stone chippings and sharp sand. Smooth using a compactor or roller (you can hire these from any plant hire shop) to create an even surface. Address any gaps or holes as these will show through your imitation lawn – for best results, the surface needs to be perfectly level.
STEP 5: WEED MEMBRANE TWO
Now apply a second layer of weed membrane, exactly as the first layer, to create a robust weed barrier.
STEP 6: INSTALL ARTIFICIAL GRASS
You are finally ready to install your artificial lawn. Roll out the grass, and take a moment to study the direction in which the blades are lying (they always lean one way or another after being tightly rolled, this evens out after a few weeks). If you are using more than one roll, lay out all the rolls to make sure that the pile faces in the same direction. If you have time, leave the turf to settle for an hour or so (now would be the perfect time for a cuppa!).
STEP 7: TRIM, JOIN, AND SECURE
Now it is time to get down to the nitty-gritty of trimming your synthetic grass and securing it into place. Always cut on the reverse of the turf, along the backing, and not through the fibres, as this can create an uneven look. Leave a margin of around 10cm for any final adjustments.
Tackle any joins before you start securing your astroturf into place. To do this, line up the joins so that you have a clean line, and fold them back so that you can access the surface underneath. Apply a strip of joint tape down the centre, and cover it with artificial grass adhesive. Smooth out the glue across the joining tape so that it is even, before pressing both pieces of turf down onto the tape. Try to avoid catching any fibres between the two joined sections as this can look messy. Leave the joins to dry before proceeding to the next step.
To secure your new grass into place, begin by working your way around the edges, using a carpet kicker if necessary to stretch the material before securing it with galvanised U-pins. You’ll need approximately 100 pins per 10m2, so make sure you have plenty. Hammer them down to ensure that there is no movement whatsoever across the lawn.
STEP 8: POWER BRUSHING
Remove all remnants and tools from your garden, and brush your artificial grass to get all the blades standing upright. We recommend using a power brush for this (you can hire them locally), but you can use a stiff synthetic brush as an alternative. That’s it! Your new artificial lawn is ready to enjoy.
For more information on choosing the right artificial grass for your garden, or further tips on installation, please get in touch with Artificial Super Grass today.