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How to Install Artificial Grass


Artificial grass or synthetic turf is becoming a popular inclusion in outdoor design in Jamaica because of its aesthetic appeal, versatility and low maintenance promises. The new phenomenon can be found in garden stores, hardwares and with specialty installers like ourselves, and can be used for lawns, play & pet areas, rooftops, gyms, golf & putting greens and so much more. If you’re still on the fence, read our blog on whether or not artificial grass is right for you. 



As artificial turf becomes more widespread, more companies are offering supply and installation services for homeowners and commercial spaces. However, having seen many turf installations both on the island and overseas, I have to admit not all installations are created equally. It is important whether you’re doing a DIY installation or if you pay for installation, that you ensure the best practices are being followed so you can get value for your money.  


As a SYNLawn-trained certified synthetic grass installer, I follow guidelines set by the Synthetic Turf Council in the United States and best practices from other SYNLawn experts with over 30 years of experience in artificial grass installation. The combination of these and my own experience in turf installation is what I'll be using to give you a general step-by-step guide for artificial grass installation that you can use for your next project. 





Site Evaluation: 


The first step is to evaluate your site i.e. where you will be installing your turf. This involves taking accurate measurements, checking the slope, making note of any drainage concerns, and taking stock of what is in the existing space. This step is seemingly simple, but it’s often overlooked. You need measurements as this informs the quantity of materials you’ll need (turf, base, infill etc) and what you’ll need to do for base preparation. 


For smaller projects, you can use a tape measure to get the square footage of your area and somewhere to record this information. Your slope can be calculated as the difference between two elevation points in the space divided by the distance between them. You can multiply by 100 to get a percentage. The last step is taking stock of what is in your space - do you have an existing lawn to be cleared, are you installing over a concrete area etc


Note: How you will use the space influences the recommended type of turf to be used in the installation and can even impact the materials used for the installation. In conducting our consultations we conduct a needs assessment as well to come up with the best solution for you. Book a consultation with us here. 




Base Preparation:


Base preparation is crucial. Your base sets the tone for not only the final look of your project but also the longevity of the turf installation. Unfortunately, many DIYers and local pros neglect their base. At this step, you’re creating the foundation for your turf to lay on top of as well as creating the drainage system that prevents the logging of water and other fluids. You may be using an aggregate base or a prefabricated subbase - like AirDrain or Champion Panel depending on your site requirements. For lawn and landscape applications you’ll need to remove the existing topsoil and lay a geotextile weed barrier. This is so you don’t have to deal with weeds springing up through your turf. Some go the extra step of spraying the area with a weed killer. 


Nailer boards around the perimeter will need to be installed so you can secure your artificial grass. Afterwards, you’ll need to fill the area with your aggregate base & compact it. For smaller projects, a plate compactor can be used. For artificial grass installations on concrete - like for rooftops, balconies and terraces - you’ll need a subbase like AirDrain. This base comes in panels that can easily be laid in the space and secured. I don’t recommend skipping the subbase and doing a total glue down on concrete because you could have resulting drainage and heat retention issues. 


Some speciality applications like playgrounds or sports fields require an additional step in base preparation which is laying down the fall pad. These are often styrofoam or rubber panels that help to cushion falls and prevent injury. 





Roll out Your Turf & Trim:


At this stage, you’ll roll out your artificial turf in your area. You want to ensure the grain is facing the correct way, and if you’re using multiple pieces or rolls of artificial grass you need to ensure all pieces or rolls are facing the same direction. This ensures you have one continuous green look instead of obvious green patches. If you’re joining multiple pieces, you’ll need to create the seams using seam tape and a strong turf glue. Afterwards, you’ll need to trim any excess pieces of turf. 



Secure your Turf & Add Infill:


In this stage, the edges of the artificial grass are secured to prevent shifting or movement. This is typically done using nails or staples with the nailer board we installed along the perimeter of the installation area. Special attention is paid to ensure a snug fit and smooth transition between the artificial turf and surrounding surfaces.


Infill is an often skipped but essential component of a good artificial grass installation. It ensures your turf fibres stay upright instead of laying matted and flat with foot traffic. Common infill materials include silica sand, rubber granules, or a combination of both. The infill is spread evenly across the surface of the artificial grass and brushed into the fibres to help them stand upright and maintain their shape. 


For my client installations, I use Envirofill infill because not only does it keep the fibres upright, but it adds temperature control, keeping the turf cool and it has antimicrobial properties, preventing mould build-up in the turf. For installations with pets, you could consider an infill like Zeolite that has anti-odour properties.




Brushing and Grooming:

Once the artificial grass is in place, it's important to brush and groom the turf fibres to enhance their appearance and performance. This helps to evenly distribute the infill, fluff up the fibres, and maintain the desired aesthetic. A power brush or broom is typically used to achieve the desired level of grooming. 



 


Installing artificial grass is a lot more than buying turf and rolling it out in your area. A proper installation involves a series of carefully orchestrated steps aimed at creating a lush, green lawn that requires minimal maintenance. From evaluating and preparing the site to laying the turf and adding infill to brushing and grooming, each step plays a crucial role in achieving a professional-quality result. By following this comprehensive guide, you can transform your outdoor space with artificial grass and enjoy a vibrant, evergreen lawn year-round. For more information, you can check out our blog on 5 things to know before installing artificial grass.











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