If you’re planning to install artificial grass plan ahead thoroughly
There’s no doubt artificial grass is catching on in both residential and commercial settings; the promise of virtually no maintenance and no concerns over a deteriorating surface when it’s excessively hot or wet is tempting many people to invest in fake grass.
If you’re thinking about it then you have the choice of calling in artificial grass installers who will supply and install your new surface, or you can go down the DIY route; plenty of businesses can supply the fake grass and other items required to handle the job yourself.
If you feel you’re up to fitting a new artificial surface yourself, then it’s important to plan properly by assessing what you need and ensuring you have all your supplies ready for the installation period. For example, you don’t want to find yourself unable to join two lengths of fake grass because you forgot to order some joining tape.
The devil is in the detail
To make a good job of installing artificial grass it’s important to work methodically and pay attention to the details. For example, if your grass is going to run up to a flower bed, border or pathway then special artificial grass edging will pay dividends in giving you clean and neat edges to your surface.
So along with the obvious tasks such as working out how much fake grass you’ll require, don’t forget to assess where it’ll meet paths and borders. Once this is known order some edging in appropriate quantities so it’s ready on the day in question as it usually needs to be put in position before laying the grass.
Basic steps and what to look out for
Observe the following:
How much artificial grass is required?
The old saying ‘measure twice cut once’ is true with fake grass – certainly the principle of measuring carefully certainly applies. Be aware of how grass is supplied; it usually comes in rolls two or four meters wide in lengths up to around 25 feet.
Allow for some ‘extra’ in that it’s better to have a bit more grass than you require as surplus can be cut off as opposed to the frustrating situation of not quite having enough to complete a length.
Be aware of when and where you may need a join between lengths of artificial grass; you’ll want to avoid having too many, but at some points it may be inevitable, so decide in advance where the best area is for any joins.
Your chosen supplier may well have a calculator on their website to enable you to work out how much fake grass you need.
Prepare the ground
If you’re replacing existing ‘real’ grass then this needs removing to a depth of about 40mm.
Prior to laying the sand, levelling the ground is important including the removal of any dips or uneven areas; take time with this as a properly level area is vital. You may require the use of a vibrating plate to help level off larger areas and make the job easier, and maybe some hardcore to fill in more pronounced hollows.
Lay the edging
If you do need to create edges where there aren’t any existing perimeters, this is when you need to install the edging as discussed above.
Install the base
Granite dust or sharp sand is the usual choice for a base; ensure it’s laid as smoothly as possible. Drag a piece of wood across the area in a ‘windscreen wiper’ type of motion to make for a smooth and level surface.
This is important to lay next as it’ll help prevent weeds germinating and establishing themselves while also making for efficient water drainage.
Install the artificial grass
Take the following steps methodically:
- Prepare the grass – ensure the pile of each roll is running in the same direction, and double check whereabouts joins (if applicable) will occur.
- Lay the grass – lay on top of the weed membrane and ideally leave for a day to settle as this will help prevent wrinkles and creases.
- Joining – using backing tape and adhesives from your grass supplier, join the grass where appropriate and above all take your time to get the perfect join.
- Trimming – once your grass is in place trim off any excess. Use a proper edging knife from your grass suppliers and change blades frequently to ensure clean cuts – around every three to five metres is ideal.
- Fixing into position – using ground pins at intervals of around 200mm around the perimeter of the surface.
As mentioned earlier, preparation is important; along with ensuring you order the right quantity of fake grass is ensuring you have all the tools and materials to hand.
Make a list and ask your grass suppliers to help – the following is a by no means exhaustive inventory of what you may require:
- Joint glue
- Join tape
- Sharp sand
- Granite dust
- Weed membrane
- Ground pins
Not to mention tools and equipment:
- Rake, spade and stiff broom
- Mastic gun
- Trimming knife and several blades
- Vibrating plate (maybe)
DIY certainly possible
Given the basic personal requirements to undertake the task, it’s perfectly possible to lay your own artificial surface – the key is preparation, planning and not skimping on the details.