Each and every synthetic turf installation is customized to perfection since each and every space is different. There are many factors involved in the installation process, such as the type of binding or which infill is used. In this article, we will cover installations from A to Z, listing the steps taken to ensure a successful installation and more.
Typical Steps of Artificial Grass Installation
Whether it’s for a home, playground, or putting green, the average artificial grass installation takes anywhere from 1-5 days, depending on the scope of work, space, the difficulty of access, and therefore the time needed. There are eight basic steps involved in your typical artificial grass installation.
A successful installation requires a clean, ready-to-use sub base. This process involves rough grading the land, including the removal of irrigation, existing pipes, or electric wires. Any sprinklers will be capped at the pipe, and bender boards are installed to keep the plants separated from the artificial grass.
Installing a smooth base is key here, and doing so means it’ll be about 2-3 inches deep into the ground. This step is important as it plays a big role in the smoothness and evenness of the grass. To level the area better and avoid road base stones jumping out of the base, we add a thin layer of decomposed granite. It makes a huge difference in terms of smoothness, level, and safety.
Note: Area and base preparation are very costly parts of the installation. When not done correctly, the base shows gaps and ponds. Unethical installers may cut costs here, where the job is hidden from your eyes. Defects begin to appear after a few rain showers or after a few months when the installer is long gone.
Compacting the Base
In order to ensure the base is compacted, installation requires vibrating and packing the road base. Double compaction is most often recommended for playground areas. We don’t want any objects such as nails to come up off the grass in the future. This step, when done successfully, prevents such a thing from occurring.
Applying Weed Layer
This step is completely optional and essentially involves the placing of cloth on top of the base in order to prevent weeds from coming through the artificial grass. The cloth is nailed into the base as much as possible. Why optional? Because we do not recommend this layer if you have pets as it holds bacteria above the soil. Many people think that weed barrier prevents weeds from growing through the base, but this is not true. Weed barrier prevents new seeds from getting into the top level of the soil. Even if you get occasional weeds, those will be weak and can be removed easily. And only very rare weeds can grow through 3 inches of a properly compacted base.
Artificial turf has a direction. Blades fall to one side only. The most appealing look is generally when looking at turf against the blade fall. Side look is a win-win. We always try to position the blade fall direction towards the area that provides more traffic.
Trimming Turf to Fit the Area
It’s necessary to cut the turf larger than the actual space as you can always return and cut more later. A seaming tool is used to seam the edges together in an S-shape for a smooth look and to avoid the turf from pushing up later on. Seaming is a very important step, and installers use a tool called the “Super Seamer.” Nails are installed every 6 inches and are only driven ¾ of the way down. Before tapping the nail head all the way down to the base, we must remove any fibers that surround it.
Be careful! Check for procedures that regulate razor replacement. Otherwise, used razors may find the way into the turf and bring harm. Be especially cautious when installation moves quickly. Workers get tired. It takes a blink of an eye to lose a blade in the turf.
Nailing the Turf
Every installation contains thousands of nails. It is very important to put the nail just right - not too deep, but secure. Make sure that every person on site follows the procedure to check nails for full contact. Otherwise, you may discover nails that stick out with your own feet and this can hurt you.
Applying the Infill
The purpose of the infill is to keep the blades held upright and to add more weight to the grass. This greatly improves the look and gives the grass a full, healthy appearance. A power brush is used to force the blades up in order for the infill to be applied.
Final Brush and Groom for Perfection
The final step requires one last final brush of the grass to remove any debris and to push the infill granules down to the base.
Pet installations are essentially the same as your classic turf installation. There is an extra step taken to help minimize the smell of urine on the grass. A deodorizer is applied on top of the base layer. Most pet installations use a round type of silica infill or Durafill. It allows for the base to dry and prevents bacteria growth. A drainage layer is optional depending on the usage and would be installed before the grass.
Putting Green Installations
There are different types of putting green installations and they also take 1-3 days more depending on the type. When installing the turf for a putting green, the base needs to be 1-2 inches thicker than your standard base. 1/8 inch of decomposed granite is then installed on top of the compacted base layer. The setting of the cup also depends on the type of turf installed and could range from a grade-level setting to 5/8 inches above grade level. Once the putting green is cut and shaped and the fringes are attached, a compactor is used to distribute the sand infill into the putting green materials.
The turnaround time for a playground installation is usually about 2-4 days. Do not rush this job, as tiredness increases the risks of lost knife blades and unsecured nails. Playground installations require playground padding to be laid on top of the base layer. This is great for kids as it provides comfort and can even absorb the impact of horseplay and heavy falls. The pads should be about ¼ inch separated in order to allow for expansion and contraction. A non-abrasive infill is used. Playground installations also usually use seaming tape and glue rather than nails (unless needed) to prevent any injury to the children.
Installing Around Hardscape and Concrete Slabs
There are a few things to know when it comes to installing around hardscape. The contrast of a synthetic grass lay with a paver, walkway, or drive can make for a beautiful sight!
Synthetic grass follows a grain direction. It is important to keep this pattern going in the same direction to ensure a smooth, uninterrupted look, especially when held up against a hardscape. Using a turf with a higher face weight will also make the look of your turf against a hardscape much better, and it will allow for extra “wear and tear.” Through all of this wear and tear, turf with a higher face weight will have a much quicker recovery time.
More Than Just a Landscape!
Artificial grass is much more than just a pretty front lawn. Its fame is being spread all around the nation and it’s being put to uses most people never really imagined. Here are some non-conventional (yet really interesting) ways that synthetic grass is being put to use: outdoor wall scapes, patios, bedroom headboards, puppy pads, porch rugs, green eco-friendly sandals, furniture, rooftop gardens, and more!
Lifetime, Warranty, & Disposing of Artificial Grass
Depending of course on the wear and tear, most artificial grasses can last between 8 to 15 years. The warranty that comes with your purchase depends on the manufacturer, where some offer 8-year warranties. The standard industry warranty, however, is a 15-year warranty and this covers manufacturing issues. Once the grass needs to be replaced, you can simply dump it in a landfill. In the future, we will see a more sustainable, recyclable material that is currently being developed in the industry. We are always improving!
Why You Can Trust Us
You can trust us to install your artificial grass and to deliver the best results possible. Here in Los Angeles, California, there are requirements upheld in order to keep consumers at ease knowing they are hiring professionals who have been trained properly to do their installation. We hold the B-general contractor license, and a C-27 license, which is a landscaper’s license. We hold ourselves to the highest standards and take pride in our knowledge of proper artificial grass installation.