Artificial Grass Installation Guide
In this section we will run through the standards that Perfect green grass maintain and provide an installation guide that follows our practices if you would like to do it yourself. If you are looking for an installer, there are more and more artificial grass installers popping up and many landscapers that are able to install too. Make sure you find out their installation process and check that it is up to standard and also ask to see their work/references. A poor installation can be very costly to fix so make wise choices and remember, if you buy cheap, you buy twice.
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Download a printable copy of the Installation Guide to help with your installation.
Installing artificial grass in place of an existing lawn
Here is a diagram of the base preparation that Perfect green grass use before laying artificial grass:
This is a high quality installation and some of the perameters may be reduced such as the depth of stone if the garden has good drainage. However we would recommend that the timber framework not be sacrificed for cost or speed as it is important when it comes to fixing the grass down.
There are other areas of your home/garden which you may want to have artificial grass; over decking, roof terraces, balconies, over patio/concrete, childrens bedroom carpets etc. These are all possible with artificial grass and an accomplished installer will be able to help. For some of these installations we have provided instructions at the bottom of our installation guide.
We will now provide comprehensive installation instructions for several types of installation that you can follow to install artificial grass yourself. Once you have read through them you may decide that it’s not for you. We haven’t provided this to scare you but rather to show the amount of work it entails to do a good job.
• Skip for waste removal
• Turf lifter
• Mechanical whacker plate
• Power drill
• 19x38mm tanalised timber baton (length required is total perimeter of grass area plus some extra for stakes)
• Length of 2x4” timber wide enough to fit across your grass area.
• Type 1 MOT stone
• Sharp sand
• 20 year lifespan weed/geotextile membrane (choose one that is plastic not fabric and fabric membranes can retain smells)
• Staple gun
• Stanley knife & plenty of blades
• Screws (3.5 x 35mm for stakes & edging, 3.5 x 25mm for fixing grass)
• Carpet kicker/stretcher
• Infill sand (kiln dried or green sand) (Different products require different infill amounts so check with the manufacturer)
• Grass seeding trolley
• Stiff brush
Also depending on size of install you may require:
• Seaming tape
The first thing you need to do is get organised. Figure out what day(s) you are going to be installing on and make sure you have everything ready to go. If you use the aggregate calculator on our website installation guide this will tell you the approximate skip size and the amount of stone and sand you will need. Have the skip delivered early on the first day or the day before you start. If you have an off road area for the skip and materials to be dropped that’s great, however if you don’t and the skip has to go on the road you will have to pay extra for a permit. Another thing to bear in mind when ordering is to get a skip with a ‘drop end’ this is a door at the end of the skip that comes down and allows you to roll barrows right in rather than having to lift them over the side or use a ramp.
Have the stone and sand delivered on the first day too so that you have everything at your disposal.
Measure the perimeter of your lawn area, this is the total length of 19x38mm tanalised baton that you will require. You will also need stakes unless you are able to pin the baton to the surrounding areas. Make sure you order a few extra lengths to allow for stakes.
You will need a turf lifter/cutter for the clearance on the first day and a whacker plate/compactor on days where you will be compacting stone and sand. These items can be hired from most plant hire companies or builders merchants.
Ok so now you have everything you need we can start. Firstly asses the levels of the garden. The first thing to put in place is the frame, this will allow you to assess the level of the whole garden once done. Sometimes it is best to follow the lines of the garden and sometimes it is best to level it out.
Cut the timber to the lengths required to frame the area. Cut stakes for places where the timber cannot be fixed directly to the surrounding area.
The pile height of the product you have chosen will determine how much lower than the surrounding areas the frame needs to be. For example if you are installing a 30mm pile product then the top of the timber should be around 25-30mm lower than the top of the patio/path/etc.
We do not want to attach the frame to anything that might need to be replaced within the lifespan of the grass so do not attach it to fences, instead if need be you can install gravel board retainers and fix the timber to that. In areas where you are staking make sure the gap between stakes is no more than 50cm, the frame must not move. You may need to chisel concrete away from fence posts or patio slabs to allow the timber to sit flush. If you have a large garden you may want to split it up into sections to make it easier to prepare the base
Once the timber frame is in place you can use a 2x4” bar (screed bar) from one side to the other to determine how much existing lawn/soil needs to come out of the middle. Initially the bar will sit high on the existing grass but as you start to strip layers of turf and soil it will eventually sit on the timber frame at each side. You will want to have a gap of 8-10cm between the bottom of the screed bar and the ground. You can also use the bar to level drain covers at the same angle as the grass will be. Once the drain cover is level with the top of the frame you can frame the cover too, this will allow you to create a flap during fitting for access.
In this example the garden requires a 4 x 5m & 4 x 2m so you would order 4 x 7m to save on delivery of two rolls.
Measure your garden then plot it out on grid paper to help with your calculations. Once you know the amount of grass required and any other products you may need (weed membrane, joining tape and glue) you can order your grass and ancillary products if you plan to do the installation yourself.
If you require help with measuring please contact us and we can talk you though the process.
Now you know the area of your garden you can work out the approximate cost of grass and installation. Bear in mind that the installation area will be smaller than the area of grass required because of the limited dimensions of the grass. If it falls within your budget and you have weighed up the pros and cons then it’s time to look at what grass you would like. You can order samples here.
Once the area is clear, place a geotextile membrane over the soil. This will prevent subsidence of the stone/sand layer into the soil.
Fill the area back in with Type 1 stone. The best way we have found to do this is to figure out how you are going to use the screed bar/s over the garden and then place barrows of stone behind the bar and drag the bar over. The stone can be as high as the top of the frame but no higher so if it is making the bar jump up then it needs to be scraped back. When the stone is compacted it will sit lower than the top of the timber allowing space for the flooring sand. You will need help when using the screed bar, one person at each and if the area is particularly large another in the middle.
Run the compactor over the stone. Use the screed bar once more to check that none of the stone is higher than the top of the frame.
Use the same process with the flooring sand. Work from one end to the other using the bar to drag sand over the base.
Compact the sand and then re-screed it with sand to smooth the surface as the compactor will leave small ridges.
Repeat the process if when walked on your boot imprint is deeper than a few mm. We often compact the sand twice. Be sure to also remove any extra frame in the middle of the area you may have used to help with the screeding. This will show in the grass once the sand has settled. Compact the area by hand with a plastering trowel and smooth the area over Once you are satisfied with the base, clear the edges of sand as during spreading sand will get caught up around the outskirts of the frame.
Place a weed membrane over the area. Using a staple gun, fix it to the top of the frame and make sure it is tight over the whole area with no ridges. This will allow you to move and position the grass without dragging sand around. Cut the membrane in with a sharp Stanley knife.
You are now ready to fit the grass. Re-measure the area now before cutting off the roll if several pieces are required. When installing the grass the pile direction should always be facing the house if possible. In front gardens decide if you would rather see the best angle facing you as you leave the house/look out of the window or as you return home/passers-by.
Place the grass down and roll it out to cover the area. If it is a large area requiring several widths then place the largest piece down first. Align the grass so it reaches into all areas and then cut any parts that have obstacles in the way such as corners or steps. This will allow the grass to sit properly and remove any creases. Make sure to be lenient with these cuts as the grass may still need slight adjustments.
If joins are required then cut three seams out of the joining edge of this piece and the piece it will be joined to. This removes the outside edge that has a tendency to face into the join rather than straight up. Align the second piece so that the join seams are the same distance apart from each other as the rest of the seams. Again, cut the second piece in places where it is needed to allow it to sit without creases or ridges, this may help with alignment.
Once the join is in place, pin the pieces in a few places to the frame so that it doesn’t move. Don’t pin too close to the join as the edges need to be flapped back. Pull the edges back to expose the weed membrane, Use the fiberglass tape down the centre of the seam and staple it to the frame at either end, making sure it is taught.
Spread tubes of Aquabond glue over the tape. One tube should cover about 3m if it is spread 15cm wide down the centre of the tape.
Fold the grass back into place making sure not to trap blades from one piece under another. Then apply pressure down the seam to press the back of the grass into the glue. The glue can take a long time to set especially in cooler temperatures so if there is a chance of rain make sure the seams are covered overnight.
Repeat this process for any other joins.
Now you can cut the grass in. Cut the back edge in first, the pile is facing away from this edge and it gives no room for error so take your time and keep a sharp blade. If you make a mistake and you have left yourself room for error on the earlier cuts then the grass can be moved to try again. Once the back edge is cut, fix along the whole edge using 25mm screws at regular intervals (15-20cm). If there are still creases in the grass then you can now use a carpet kicker to stretch the grass from the back edge towards the front edge. Be very careful not to move the seams. If you think the grass will require lots of adjustment then this can be done before joining but bear in mind that the stretching and adjustments can make the seams harder to align. Un-pin any fixings you made for the joins at the front edge so that the grass has room to move. Re-fix the front edge once you have stretched the grass. You can now cut in the rest of the edges.
Once the grass has been cut, any areas that need fixing can be done and then all the offcuts collected and removed from the surface. If there are lots of cut blades around the edges then clear them up before sanding. If not then you can apply the infill sand.
Using a seeding trolley if you have one, if not then cut the corner of each bag of sand and spread it in as best as you can evenly by pouring it out over the surface. Place the required amount of sand into the surface of the grass. Do not do this in damp conditions as the sand will stick to the surface of the grass and not fall into the base. It has to be bone dry. Once the surface is covered use a stiff brush to brush it in. Try not to leave clumps of sand in patches. Once the sand has been brushed in you are done.
Arrange collection of the skip for when you know you will not need it again and if possible while you are still on site so that the area around it can be cleaned.
Installing artificial grass over patio or concrete areas
If the existing concrete/patio needs to be removed then follow the same process as laying over existing lawn.
If the area is flat and smooth then you can install right on top of the area. Sometimes it may be necessary to use an underlay underneath the grass to help over small gaps in slabs but the thicker the grass the less likely you will need to do this. If necessary the area can be screeded with concrete the day before laying the grass to provide a flat smooth surface.
There are two methods to installing on concrete, the first is using a polyurethane glue to stick the grass down and the second is one we favour and that is to use concrete screws to fix directly into the concrete/slabs. We lean towards this method because the fixings are immediate and therefore we can stretch the grass using carpet kickers to remove any creases. The fixings can also be removed at a later date whereas the glue is a permanent fix. We cannot use the gluing method in wet conditions either.
In both cases make sure the area is clean and there are no stones or material on the surface that will show in the grass. Lay the grass out and cut in the back edge. If you are using screws then you can fix the back edge, kick out the grass and then cut and fix all of the other edges. If you are gluing then bead the glue along the edge and then use bags of infill sand to weigh the area down while you kick out, cut and glue the other edges. Again using bags to weigh the edges down. You will then have to wait for the glue to set before removing the bags. Please note: for drainage purposes, the lowest edge and therefore direction of water drainage should not be completely glued down. Glue in patches to allow water to run off under the grass.
If the area requires joins then use the same method as above, use fiberglass tape and glue rather than straight to the surface or screwing into the surface. Using the tape will create one large area of grass only fixed at the edges so it allows more room for movement (expansion and contraction in different temperatures).
Once the area is fixed and cut into place you can infill the grass with sand and brush it.
Installing artificial grass over a decked area
As long as the deck is in good condition then grass can be placed over the top. If the boards have large gaps between them then the use of an underlay may be required.
The grass can be fixed directly into the deck using 25mm screws and any joins can be fixed into the deck too as the screws can be removed if adjustments need to be made.
Once cut and fixed into place sand infill the grass and the job is complete.