How To Lay Artificial Grass On Soil Or Concrete
Learn to fit fake grass in just a few simple steps
By Michael Watson
Are you dreaming of a perfectly manicured, healthy-looking lawn all year round? Fake turf could be a great solution. Quality artificial grass gives the feel of the natural stuff, requires a one-time installation, and eliminates all lawn maintenance costs and work.
Artificial grass doesn’t require an expensive irrigation system. It doesn’t require water at all, as a matter of fact. Just like it doesn’t require mowing or weeding. Your lawn will look great under the summer’s sun and the winter’s snow with little to no maintenance.
Fake turf is also easy to install by yourself on both soil and concrete. In this article, we aim to show you how to lay artificial grass and share our expert tips to help make the process easier.
In this guide - learn how to install artificial grass, including...
Before Starting Your Installation
The idea of an evergreen lawn may excite you, but there are a few steps you should take before running into the first garden store to buy your rolls of artificial grass. This initial stage helps you scope out the work involved and make a list of tools and materials you’ll need.
1. Choose the right type of artificial grass
Not all artificial grass was created equal. There are materials and fibre lengths to consider, not to mention various colour choices, from lighter to darker green. While personal opinion matters to an extent, there are a few objective criteria to consider when choosing the right type of grass for your space.
It all starts with two questions:
- Where do you want to place the artificial grass?
- What will be the area used for?
Both indoor and outdoor high-traffic areas (such as public terraces, pet playgrounds or a very trafficked backyard) benefit most from short artificial grass with a fibre length between 15 and 25mm. This type of grass is created to withstand heavy footfall and is easier to clean with a broom or rake.
For no-frills garden decoration in mid-traffic areas, including the surroundings of a private pool, a backyard playground or pet enclosure, artificial grass with a fibre length of around 30mm is your best bet. This type of fake turf is still easy to clean when needed and looks better than short grass but won’t withstand heavy footfall.
The best option for any low traffic areas is long artificial grass. The fibres are typically 35-40mm long, and the look very closely resembles natural grass. It is perfect for private gardens and yards, high-standard outdoor environments and swimming pools, but it can also complement an indoor area. This type of grass is also very resistant and will recover quickly from any heavy footprints.
The materials the artificial grass is made from also influence the product’s quality and durability:
The strongest and stiffest material used in the manufacturing of artificial grass, nylon can keep its original shape regardless of the levels of foot traffic and can withstand extreme temperatures without losing its properties. Nylon artificial grass may look natural but is not as soft as the real thing. Nevertheless, this type of grass is the most expensive – but also the most durable.
This is generally the homeowner’s first choice due to its natural appearance and feel. This type of artificial grass delivers the softness of natural grass and the same vibrant green colour. Quality polyethylene turf is often expensive but very resilient and requires minimal maintenance.
Also looks like natural grass and is much cheaper than the alternatives above. However, the finer texture of the pile lowers the product’s resistance, which is why polypropylene grass will wear out much quicker than polyethylene or nylon. This type of grass doesn’t generally withstand high temperatures either, and will lose its shape under the hot sun. Nevertheless, this type of fake turf could be a great choice in a shady area or indoors.
2. Calculate how many rolls of artificial grass you need
Once you’ve decided which is the best type of artificial grass for you, calculate how much you’re going to need. The easiest way is to calculate the square footage of the area you want to renovate and divide the number by the square footage of a turf roll.
Standard artificial grass rolls have a length of 25 metres and a width of either two or four metres. In other words, a roll of artificial grass can cover a surface of either 50 or 100 square metres, depending on the roll’s width.
These numbers can help you figure out how many rolls of fake turf you need without any hassle.
3. Get the necessary tools and materials
- Measuring tape
- Utility knife
- Jointing tape
- Ground pins
- Hammer drill and concrete pins
- Geotextile membrane
- Granular sub-base
- Sand or granite dust
- Weed membrane
- White silica sand
- Artificial grass
- Self-levelling compound for concrete
Laying Artificial Grass On Soil
The process of laying artificial grass on either soil or concrete is pretty much the same, but the surface preparation is different. That’s why we decided to describe both methods. Follow the steps below for a no-frills installation of your artificial lawn on soil:
Step 1 - Prepare the base
If you are laying artificial grass on soil, chances are there is some form of vegetation to get rid of. A proper preparation of the surface also requires a few additional steps to achieve the best results.
Remove any existing vegetation
Whether it’s existing grass or simply weeds, it is important to remove all vegetation from the target area. Use a shovel to dig out all roots at a depth of 20 centimetres and remove all grass and weeds, then level the ground with a plank.
Prepare the sub-base
Soil can collapse under your artificial grass, causing unflattering waves on your lawn. To prevent this, prepare a sub-base by installing a layer of geo-textile membrane onto the ground to prevent it from collapsing. Then, lay a substrate of granular sub-base of about 7.5 centimetres to promote drainage.
Level the base
A levelled surface will make laying your lawn easier and will improve the final result. The easiest way to level the base is with sand or granite dust. Spread a layer of about 2 centimetres of sand on the entire surface and level it with a plank, shovel or sand spreader.
Your goal is to achieve a surface as levelled as possible, so we recommend checking the depths and adding or removing sand accordingly.
Fight any weeds
Weeds will eventually try to grow under your artificial lawn. If you want to maintain the beautiful look of your work for longer, lay weed membrane over the sand before rolling out your lawn. If you have to use more than a roll of weed membrane, overlap the joints to prevent any unwelcome surprises.
Step 2 - Lay the grass and let it settle
Artificial grass is very easy to lay on a properly prepared surface. Basically, all you need to do is unroll the turf according to the pattern established in the initial phase. The most important things to pay attention to are the joints and the direction of the blades.
For a natural look, it is recommended to lay the artificial grass with the blades facing in the same direction. However, if you want to achieve an artificial effect (for instance, if you’re building a football pitch or kid’s playground) you can alternate the blade direction between the artificial grass rows.
Once you’ve laid the grass, it is recommended to let it settle overnight, or for at least four hours if you’re in a hurry. This will allow the material to straighten itself, so your new lawn won’t curl or wrinkle after you fix it.
Step 3 – Join the edges
Regardless of the direction of the blades, once you have laid and settled the artificial grass, you have to join the edges to make a seamless join.
For a natural look, it is important to fix the joints perfectly, merging the edges of the rows to disguise their existence.
To do this, once you’ve laid all rows, raise the edges of two adjacent rows and spread joining tape under them. Add adhesive to the tape and glue the edges, keeping the blades away from the adhesive and paying attention not to overlap the joints.
Once fixed in place, use a rake to ruffle the pile and disguise the seal.
Step 4 - Fix the grass
The last step before grooming your artificial lawn is fixing the turf to the ground. But before this, you should trim or cut all edges that overlap with other existing elements, such as garden edging, fencing or flowerbeds.
You can do this with a utility knife, but if you want to make sure all edges are trimmed to perfection, it is recommended to use fabric scissors or a crafts knife for greater precision.
When you’re happy with the result, proceed with fixing your lawn’s edges to the ground with landscaping pins. Use as many pins as necessary to prevent the edges and corners from curling or wrinkling over time.
Step 5 - Manicure your new lawn
You’ve successfully laid the turf, but its look and feel could be less flattering than expected at this stage. More often than not, the fibres are all flattened out from being rolled up for extended periods, so you’ll need to revive them.
Use a stiff broom or soft rake for this purpose, sweeping the lawn contrary to the direction of the blades. This will straighten them, giving your artificial grass that natural look you’ve been looking for.
Laying Artificial Grass On Concrete
Whether it’s a patio or a garden paved with concrete, laying artificial grass on a fixed substrate is much simpler. You can skip some of the initial preparation steps, but if the surface is uneven, you might have to use a levelling product before laying the grass. Here is a quick guide.
Step 1 - Prepare the surface
Artificial grass can be laid directly onto the concrete substrate, or you can use a sub-layer for a cushioning effect. Furthermore, if the surface is uneven, it is also recommended to use a self-levelling product before laying the grass.
A self-levelling compound will only adhere to a clean surface; begin with a thorough cleaning of all dust and debris from the substrate. You can wash the area, but make sure the concrete is completely dry before proceeding.
Apply the self-levelling compound as instructed and wait for it to dry and cure before laying the grass.
If you want to enhance the feel of the fake turf and make it seem completely natural, our experts also recommend laying underfelt under the turf, for a cushioning effect.
Step 2 - Lay and fix the grass
Once all surface preparation has been carried out, proceed with laying the artificial grass by simply unrolling it. Let it settle as instructed above, then fix any joints with joining tape and adhesive as explained.
You can then fix the grass either by placing heavy objects in the corners and along the edges, or with concrete nails, using a hammer drill. In the latter instance, make sure your drilling action won’t damage the blades and use coloured nails which are easier to hide among the blades.
Step 3 - Groom your artificial lawn
Groom the grass with a broom or soft rack as described above. High-quality artificial grass laid correctly will beautify your space for at least 20 years, depending on how well you take care of it.
Regardless of the style of your property and purpose, you now know how to lay artificial grass on soil or concrete. So, are you confident enough to install your fake lawn by yourself? What other topics would you like our experts to cover? We’d love to hear your thoughts or feedback, so please get in touch using the form on our contact page. Looking forward to hearing from you!