How To Lay Artificial Grass On Garden Decking
Learn to lay artificial grass on decking boards
By Michael Watson
Long gone are the days when artificial grass was nothing but an ugly and thin sheet of plastic fibres looking nothing like natural grass. Newer materials and technologies have transformed artificial lawn into a true must have that can easily enhance the outdoor appeal of your property.
One of the most frequent questions asked by homeowners weighing in the benefits of fake turf is whether artificial grass can be laid on decking. We’ve asked our experts the same question, and long story short: yes, it can!
But there are things to consider before getting started. This guide aims to show you how to lay artificial grass on decking, and we also share some of our expert’s tips to help you lay artificial lawn like a pro.
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What Should You Consider Before Laying Artificial Grass on Decking?
The actual process of laying artificial grass on decking is ridiculously simple, but the nature of your decking can jeopardise your efforts and compromise your hard work. We are talking about gaps – the traditional gaps that almost all decks have between their boards.
These gaps may or may not interfere with the results depending on the type of artificial grass you’re using.
Typically, artificial grass can have:
- Short piles: between 15 and 25mm; some artificial grasses may be thinner than 15mm.
- Medium piles: between 25 and 35mm.
- Long piles: over 35mm.
If you want to hide any gaps, choosing artificial grass of at least 30mm thick should do the trick. Alternatively, you can install plywood on top of the decking to fix any gap issues.
Some cushioning layers typically installed under the artificial lawn, such as underfelt, can also help reduce the visibility of any gaps.
Another thing you must consider before laying the artificial grass on decking is drainage. Many DIY’ers overlook this because drainage isn’t an issue – at least in theory.
Decking has gaps to drain water. Artificial grass is permeable. So, should you really need to worry about drainage?
The answer is yes and no. If the decking has a gradient, any water will run off, and you shouldn’t worry about drainage. But if the surface is completely flat, puddles can form above the joints of the artificial grass. This happens because the rows of artificial grass are joined with adhesive, which prevents water from running through the material.
Once you’ve acknowledged these potential problems and took any and all steps to resolve them, move on to the next section which teaches how you can lay artificial grass on decking.
How to Lay Artificial Grass on Decking
Laying artificial grass on decking is similar to laying artificial grass on concrete. The process is straight-forward and easy to follow, even as a relative amateur.
Tools & Materials
- Utility knife
- Nail gun and nails
- Jointing tape
- Artificial grass
- Underfelt (optional)
- Flat plywood (optional)
- Weed membrane (optional)
Step 1 - Measure the perimeter
It is hard to estimate how many rolls of artificial grass you need without measuring the perimeter. The easiest way to tell is by calculating the square metres of the area to cover. Then, simply calculate how many rolls you need based on the length and width of a roll.
Step 2 - Prepare the surface
Proper surface preparation is key to the success of your project. A few things to decide before proceeding is whether you want to get rid of the gaps by installing flat plywood or underfelt. The underfelt also has a cushioning effect, giving the artificial grass a more natural feel.
Regardless of your choice, it is important to clean the surface thoroughly and let it dry completely before proceeding. If you decided to install plywood, remove all dust (preferably with a vacuum cleaner) before laying the grass. In the case of underfelt, simply lay it on the decking, making sure to cover the entire surface.
Another thing to check at this stage is the state of the weed membrane installed under your decking. Its role is to prevent weeds from growing, and if it is in poor condition, you might need to replace it with a new one.
Step 3 - Lay the artificial grass
Lay the artificial grass on the prepared surface by unrolling it. Start from one side of the deck and unroll the grass until you’ve reached the opposite side. Cut the grass and lay another row next to the first one, placing the blades of the grass in the same direction. Continue until all of your surface is covered.
Let the grass settle for at least four hours before continuing with the next step.
Step 4 - Fix the artificial grass
You will have to fix both the joints and the edges of the artificial grass to prevent it from curling or wrinkling over time.
The joints must be fixed with joining tape and adhesive. Place the tape under the joints and pour adhesive on it. Glue the joints – avoiding any contact between the adhesive and the blades of grass – then ruffle the blades with a soft rake to hide any lines.
The edges of the artificial grass must be fixed with nails. Use suitable wood or plastic nails based on your decking material and a nail gun to drive the nails into the material with high precision.
On the corners, you can reinforce these with heavy flower pots or decorative stones.
Step 5 - Groom your artificial lawn
Once laid, bring the artificial grass’ blades upright with a broom or soft rake; sweep the lawn contrary to the direction of the blades for the best effect and remember that in some cases you might have to repeat the procedure several times before achieving your desired look.
And that’s it! We hope you now feel confident enough to upgrade your old decking with artificial grass by yourself. If you’d like to share your feedback or progress with us, get in touch using the form on our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.