How to fit your artificial grass lawn
By Gavin Hall
You are nearly there. You are now at the third and final stage of laying your artificial grass lawn. This stage will show you how to fit your artificial grass lawn.
You are through the difficult phases of choosing your perfect artificial grass, and you have completed the most physical phase of installing the groundworks. In just a few more hours you will be able to sit back with a well earn’t Gin and Tonic and look out over the ‘envy of your neighbours’ – your brand new artificial grass lawn. I hope you will find the following step-by-step guide on how to fit your artificial grass lawn easy to understand and result in a lawn to be proud of. I have included a number of my top tips that I have learn’t in over 15 years of installing artificial grass lawns. Should you have any trouble at any stage along the way please leave your question in the comments section at the end of this article and I will do my best to answer it.
To get started there are a number of items that you will need to put on your shopping list:
- Joining tape
- Stanley knife with hooked roofing blades
- Stiff bristled brush or power brush
- 4-inch and 1-inch galvanised nails
- Kiln sand
Choose the best direction to lay your grass
Firstly decide whether to lay the grass length ways or across your lawn. Apart from being very heavy and difficult to move my main decision is based on the layout of the lawn I want to cover. I always try and lay the grass in the smallest pieces as possible i.e. if the lawn is 11m x 6m I lay three 4m x 6m sections rather than a 4m x 11m and 2m x 11m section as the joins are smaller and easier to butt together.
Make sure the pile is going the right way
Your roll of artificial grass will have a slight nap to it as it has been tightly rolled up for a period of time. This nap will go after a few months as the sun lifts up the fibres. However, to get your lawn looking great from the start make sure that the nap is running towards your best view point e.g. If you are looking out on your lawn through the kitchen window you want to look into the pile of the grass and not the flat back.
Aclimatise the artificial grass
Like us going on summer holiday to a hot climate we take a day or two to aclimatise and get used to the new weather conditions. Well, believe it or not artificial grass is no different. To prevent it from creasing or wrinkling I recommend laying it on top of the weed membrane for at least 12 hours before starting to fix it down.
Lay and trim the grass
I take the first roll of artificial grass and unroll it into position on the lawn in the decided direction. I use roof-fitting Stanley blades to reduce the grass to size allowing at least 10 centimeters extra all the way round the perimeter edges (not the joining side) before you start to make your final cuts. Once this has been done it is time to make your final cuts, always cut against the lip or fence rather than from directly above. Make sure you have plenty of Stanley blades on hand as they are easily blunted. Top Tip: Once the sides have been cut I make sure it is fixed in place by nailing it onto the hidden timbers this will stop it moving.
Joining the artificial grass together
Seaming is a very important process in getting a perfect looking lawn as you do not wish to see the join. To join (seam) two pieces of grass together I firstly make sure that the two pieces of grass I am joining have perfectly straight edges. To get these perfect edges I go in two seam lines on the artificial grass and cut down the line on both pieces I am intending to join together. I then lift the flap back on both pieces of grass and lay a piece of joining tape (shiny side down) along the underside of both pieces of grass I want to join. I put 5 or 6 nails down the joining tape so it doesn’t blow away when it is getting glued. Now for the tricky bit. If your base is as flat as a Tesco’s car park and you have cut the seams the way I have outlined you will be able to butt up with no problem. To check the seams I pull the unfixed piece of grass up to the fixed piece and line them up. Once I am happy they are in line I run my thumb down between the 2 pieces making sure they are just touching but not overlapping. I recently grassed the roof of Selfridges and I put in 13 joins in a day and you could not point out where they were!
If done correctly the join will be the strongest part of the lawn. To get this strong join I lift the flaps of the grass back and run 2 good lines of glue down either side where they meet. Then gradually start butting the grass up going from one end to the other. Top Tip: I always nail my joins using 4-inch nails as this holds the grass down whilst the glue sets and stops any moving of the join.
Sometimes areas of the artificial grass will require a top dressing if the grass slightly’ puffs’ from the base. We use kiln sand (a very dry sand) to these areas. For the majority of lawns I simply give them a good brush with a power brush (or a stiff broom) to make the grass stand up and you are finished. Top tip: The sand can be simply shaken and rubbed in with your hands to these areas and once brushed, lightly hose the area with water to add more weight and to remove any surface sand.
Hopefully by following my guide on how to fit your artificial grass lawn you will be sitting back with your Gin and Tonic getting ready for your next DIY task. For those attempting a self-installation. If at any stage you find it too much to complete yourself please fill out this form and I will arrange a free quotation. For any questions please leave them in the comments section below. For a more general look at installing artificial grass take a look at this simplified guide.