PREPARING YOUR LAWN
If you haven’t done so already, the first step is to plan out and measure your garden to determine how much artificial lawn, geotextile membrane and jointing materials you will need. Roughly calculating the right amount to order will help you to prevent a high amount of waste and cut-offs and ensure you don’t spend more than you need to, keeping the project cost-effective. There are several mobile apps that can be used to measure distances, however, you can’t go wrong with a good old-fashioned tape measure! Make sure to measure several times, comparing the last measurement each time to catch any potential mistakes.
Haven’t downloaded our project planner yet? Click here to download a blank grid image, useful for plotting your garden measurements.
REMOVING YOUR LAWN
This is an essential part of preparing the ground to lay artificial grass, even if it's also one of the most physically demanding aspects of the DIY process; though, it is made much easier with the right tools. Unfortunately, most of us don't own the best tools for this job and we have to make do with a spade and wheelbarrow. Watering the sod a few days before you intend to remove it can make the job slightly easier, preventing lots of dry mud and dirt getting scattered everywhere. However, be sure to avoid overwatering as this can create messy, muddy patches that do not dig up easily.
We find it easiest to use the edge of your spade to cut small squares into the grass - approximately two inches deep and ten inches long and wide. That way, you should be able to remove most of the roots and the squares should be a good size to get your spade under and lift away from the soil. Depending on the type of grass in your garden, the roots may be shallow or clinging deep into the soil beneath; it can take some effort to separate the two layers. This is a physical task and will be quite tiring, so take lots of breaks and keep well hydrated if you are working in the sunshine.
If you are planning on reusing your topsoil, passing in on to friends or family or even selling it locally, consider removing the sod in strips that can be easily rolled up for simple storage and easy transportation. You may need to manually remove loose soil clinging to grassroots in order to ensure a tight roll and make it easier to stack flat sections of grass.
LAYING A BASE OF GRANITE DUST
When exploring how to lay artificial grass on soil, we recommend laying a crushed stone base to bind the top of your subbase and ensure an even distribution across the entire area designated for your artificial grass installation. We use a special granite aggregate mix, which is mostly stone and only a little bit of dust (less dust is better, particularly with dogs). This is available from most builders merchants, but if it isn’t available sharp sand is still good but do avoid it if you have dogs.
Make sure to have your ruler available and to hand; you’ll need to aim for a depth of approximately 50mm. We'd suggest measuring the depth of the first patch, then trusting your eyes for the rest, otherwise, the weekend will be over, and you'll have achieved little more than creating a pit full of dust!
Again, our professional installers have useful tools to make this process easier, but you will need to flatten the sand out as best you can. A plank of wood or a long spirit level can do the job but a lawn roller, tamper or wacker plate is best.
LAYING A GEOTEXTILE MEMBRANE
This isn't strictly a necessary step for installing artificial grass, but if you want your new lawn to last as long as possible, we strongly recommend to lay some form of weed membrane. It's best to lay the geotextile membrane on top of the sand to prevent any chance of unsightly weed growth.
Laying a geotextile membrane for your artificial lawn is an easy process, requiring no additional joining materials. It simply involves unrolling a sheet of the membrane across the laid subbase. Be careful not to displace too much evenly laid out subbase or you will risk creating an uneven surface to lay out your artificial grass. Our high-quality geotextile membrane for preventing weed growth is available to buy online here. Once down it is often easier to fix the geotextile to the base using some small nails and then cut to the desired shape. This will stop it from moving once you start cutting and allow for a neater finish!
If you are planning to add a border to your updated garden, make sure that you fit and install your chosen artificial grass edging at this step, ensuring that the border does not sit higher than your artificial lawn to allow for optimal water runoff.
INSTALLING ARTIFICIAL GRASS
At this point we'd suggest taking a step back to congratulate yourself for what you've achieved, and have a nice cup of tea. But mainly because the next step requires a bit of planning.
You want to lay your carpet in a way that will minimise cutting too much, and if you're having to join two or more pieces of grass you need to make sure the grass is laid with the pile running in the same direction on each piece.
It's important not to rush this process, roll out our artificial grass and then leave for ideally 24 hours - this allows any creases to fall out.
Then stretch the grass to make sure it's nice and flat and anchor the lawn to the edged with fixing pins.
TRIMMING EXCESS LAWN TO SHAPE
Cut the grass to shape using scissors or a Stanley knife for a perfect fit. Like all processes of removing material during installation, it’s important to measure twice as you’ll only get to perform the cut once. Otherwise, you run the risk of cutting too much from your new lawn.
There is no reason to rush this process. You’ll be making the final joins next and if the process of trimming any extra lawn is carried out hastily and goes wrong, it can be difficult to join smaller offcuts together to repair the problem area.
MAKING NEAT JOINS
By ensuring that the pile on joining pieces of grass run in the same direction during the artificial grass installation process, you’ve made joining two artificial grass carpets neatly a much easier task for yourself. To guarantee that joins are secure and look the part, follow the next process steps on how to join artificial grass:
- Cut off the manufacturing edge strip (if present) or cut off another stitch so that there is as little backing as possible next to the stitch and butt the two edges together
- Fold back the edges and position jointing tape (smooth side down) so that the edges of the carpet meet down the centre of the tape when joined. It is often easier to fix the tape with a nail at either end to prevent it from moving
- Apply adhesive in a zig-zag motion to the rougher side of the tape allowing one cartridge for approximately every three metres
- Fold the carpet back into the wet adhesive starting from one end and working your way down to the other. This step is easier with another person to prevent the whole carpet suddenly folding back over forcefully impacting with the glue.
- Weight the seam to ensure good contact with the glue until cured
The more care and time you take over this operation, the neater and less visible the joins will be.
SPREADING AND BRUSHING IN FILLER SAND
Spread kiln sand across your artificial lawn as soon as you have finished fixing the joins, building the depth in layers and gently brushing in the sand with a stiff-bristled (non-metal) brush. It’s important not to apply all the sand at once and to only lay the sand when the artificial lawn and weather are dry, as you won’t be able to efficiently brush the sand in when wet or damp and it will affect the appearance of the end result.
When you have finished applying an even layer of sand to your artificial grass, firmly and vigorously brush the sand into the carpet, brushing against the pile fibre direction to encourage the individual grass tufts to stand upright.