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How To Lay Artificial Grass

Essential Tools & Our 4 Key Steps

DIY or get a contractor in? Laying artificial grass can seem like a stretch for many; however, for the competent DIY’er with the right planning, a great artificial grass install can be achieved. Taking on the installation can save you a tidy sum!

Laying Artificial Grass - Which Tools are Required?

For this guide, we’ll assume the artificial grass and associated sundries adhesive, seam tape etc. have already been purchased.

  • Sharp knife with spare blades
  • Tape measure
  • Turf cutter (hire with us)
  • Spade and shovel
  • Joining tape
  • Ground pins and hammer/mallet
  • Gloves and knee pads
  • Power brush (hire with us)
  • Compactor plate (hire with us)
  • Mattock
  • Tamp
  • Levelling lute
  • Spirit level
  • String line

After you've gathered the tools listed above, we've compiled 4 key steps to laying your gorgeous artificial grass! These are:

  1. Stripping out
  2. Installation
  3. Laying your artificial lawn
  4. Securing the artificial grass

Our 4 Key Steps for Laying Artificial Grass

1. Stripping Out

The depth of the strip out will depend on the condition of the soil, heavy clay soil that holds a lot of water will need to be dug deeper than free-draining sandy soil. Generally speaking, a depth range of 75-150mm is sufficient.

The existing turf could be dug out by hand with a decent shovel and enough effort and it’s possible, however, if budget allows we would always recommend hiring a petrol turf cutter for the day. A turf cutter will dramatically reduce the amount of time and energy required for this stage.

The machine will take up a layer of turf around 50mm thick. Once that layer has been removed, the turf cutter should be run across a second time in a different direction - this will break up and loosen the next layer of soil to be removed, making it much easier to rake up and shovel. This method can be repeated until the required depth is reached.

For any areas that a turf cutter can't reach - tight corners, around the edges etc. - a mattock is the best tool for manually digging.

2. Installation

At this stage, there can be variations in construction some may require or prefer to build a frame to attach the grass to. Some prefer the tuck-and-pin method, others use a concrete haunch around the outside to glue the grass too. Whichever method is chosen, this is the time to do it. We would advise if opting for a frame that a composite batten is used rather than timber; if it is to be timber, it must be treated timber (but over time even this will rot) composite will last the lifetime of the grass.

Next, we would advise spraying a course of non-selective weedkiller and laying the membrane preferably a non-woven geotextile, as well as helping keep the weeds down this type of fabric will help stabilise the ground.

Now the membrane is down it’s time for the sub-base - this should be Type 1. Readily available from any builders merchant, barrow the membrane in and leave piles across the area that can then be raked out over the full area. Depending on the depth of the sub-base, this should be laid in layers of 50mm and compacted if a deep sub-base is required. Hiring a wacker plate is best for this, around any tight edges or corners a tamp or heavy hammer can be used.

Once the sub base has been compacted and levelled, the base layer can be laid. This should never ever be sand as sand is too soft and will move, if there are pets it will absorb urine and end up smelling. The final layer should be grano dust or limestone dust, this will compact and drain better.

At this stage, the second layer of the membrane can be added but is not essential. If there are pets in the household, this should be avoided as the layer will end up absorbing all sorts of odours, including urine.

3. Laying Your Artificial Grass

If possible try and roll the grass out the day before, or even a few hours before. This will allow the grass to settle, making cutting and shaping the artificial grass much easier. Ideally, the artificial grass should be laid so that you look into the pile from the property.

Once you are ready to start cutting, ensure you have a sharp blade and a few spares, as a blunt blade will tear the artificial grass rather than cut it, making it harder to shape and more likely for an accident to occur.

To cut the grass, simply fold it back and cut through the backing. If you're cutting a long run, getting an extra pair of hands to help hold the grass back is recommended, or you can use pins to temporarily hold it in place while you cut.

If you are installing a large piece of artificial grass and need a seam, this is covered in another guide.

4. Securing the Artificial Grass

As previously stated, there are a few different ways to secure the grass. The preferred method should have been chosen earlier in the installation.

If you've decided to use a concrete haunch around the perimeter, then it’s time to get the adhesive out - either a cartridge or a two-part adhesive which will require some mixing. Either way, it's better to give the surface a good covering no point in scrimping on the artificial grass adhesive at this stage.

Clear the surface of any dust or debris and spread it out in a continuous layer (don’t just dot & dab it). Be careful not to get any on your nice new artificial lawn - it’s extremely sticky!

If you have opted for timber or composite frame for your lawn, then the grass can either be screwed or nailed directly onto the frame.

If you have chosen the tuck and pin method, use a hammer & bolster, knock the edge of the artificial grass down into the edge. Doing this will cause the grass to bubble up slightly, using an artificial grass pin pull back the grass blades and know a pin home this will flatten out the bubble and secure the grass. Your pins should be laid every 20cm around the perimeter.

Once you have been right around the perimeter and secured the grass with your chosen method, time to give it a good brush to lift the pile. A stiff broom and some elbow grease will do, or a power brush can be hired for the day, for best results go over the grass in a couple of different directions.

Explore Our Range of Premium Artificial Grass

If you're unsure about which artificial grass to choose, we urge you to check out The Grass Yard range!

Jump straight to the category to fit your needs:

  • 2m Width Artificial Grass
  • 4m Width Artificial Grass
  • 5m Width Artificial Grass
  • Full Rolls
  • Play (Sports, Recreation & Education)
  • Or, View Our Full Range


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