Artificial Turf Installation is an intense DIY project and requires some heavy lifting, so recruit a few strong friends to help. First, remove existing grass and soil using a rototiller or spade, and lay down a weed barrier and type 1 base.
Locate and mark any wiring, sprinklers or electrical installations, then move them slightly inward to avoid accidental damage when nailing the turf edges down. Then, spread and rake the infill.
Preparing the Area
Creating a level base for turf is one of the most important and costly parts of a quality installation. Unethical installers cut corners here and it shows in their work. Gaps and ponds in the turf are usually the first indication that the job was not done well.
Spray the entire area with Round-Up or another weed killer to kill any existing grass and weeds. Then prepare the site by removing any debris.
Once the base is prepared, you can roll out the artificial turf. It may take a few hours to recover its shape after being tightly packed in rolls for shipping and transport. This will allow you to check that it is smooth and firm before moving on. If necessary, more base compaction can be done at this time. It is also a good idea to add a layer of silica sand for stability. The infill also helps improve the footing and reduces static electricity.
Adding the Base
Artificial turf must be installed on a base to drain properly, prevent weed growth and ensure the safety of your pets and children. This process involves digging up the soil, adding rubble and ramming it firmly to create an absorbing surface on which to lay the grass. It takes 5-7 days to prepare the area this way.
The base must be compacted, either by hand or with a vibratory roller. The turf can then be laid over it, and it is important to seam the turf as well as possible. This will help keep it from moving or lifting over time, especially if you have heavy foot traffic.
You will also want to fasten the turf down using galvanized nails or spikes. These will prevent the grass from shifting or curling over time, and they will also help hold it down when your kids and pets play on it. The nails should be spaced every 12-24 inches throughout the center and 3-4 inches apart along the perimeter.
Adding the Turf
It is important not to skip any steps in the installation process because one mistake could result in a turf lawn that doesn’t look as good or perform as well as you might want. A good set of tools, a wheelbarrow and a turf cutter are essential for the project, along with safety glasses for sweeping up infill that can fly into your eyes.
It’s also important to make sure the seams of the turf are as tight as possible. This helps ensure that the turf doesn’t develop a wavy appearance in the future. If the turf isn’t positioned correctly, the soil underneath will move over time, and this can make it less beautiful and more prone to damage.
When cutting turf for seaming together, be sure to always cut from the back. This will help ensure that the blades fall in the same direction and create a more appealing appearance. This is especially important if you are working with two separate pieces of turf, and the edges of each piece overlap.
Adding the Weed Barrier
A weed barrier is an optional step that reduces the likelihood of weeds poking through your synthetic turf. It’s an especially good idea if your yard is overly fertile and prone to weeds or if you don’t want to use chemical herbicides on your new lawn.
Once the weed barrier is in place, it should be covered with a layer of class 2 road base and tamped down using a hand tamper or a plate compactor. The goal is to create a smooth, level surface that can be walked on comfortably and will prevent the base from shifting or sinking over time.
It’s also a good idea to install a border around the area of your project, like a plastic bender board or concrete curb. This will keep the turf from separating over time and also help deter gophers or earthworms from digging up your lower layers. If the border is going to be on the outside edge of your artificial turf, it should be short enough that it won’t interfere with drainage.