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How to Lay Artificial Grass in the Garden & Over Concrete or Decking

Installing artificial grass is a complicated and expensive process which many people shy away from. The confusion that surrounds this decision can be eliminated with the correct information. 

.First things first: what type of artificial grass do you want to install?

There are two main types: synthetic and natural fibre.

This article is going to focus on the installation of synthetic grass, as it’s by far the most common, making up 98% of all garden installations.

Our North East synthetic turf installers will walk you through their process below.

Are you looking to install an artificial lawn yourself?

Artificial grass is a great way to add value and beauty to your home. It’s perfect for the UK climate, so it can be used all year round. You can even use it in areas where pets or kids are running around because they are unlikely to damage the surface. 

With our guide on how to lay artificial grass over different surfaces, you don’t have to worry about hiring a company if you feel the need to take this challenge on!

Our guide walks you through every step of the process, from removing existing turf and preparing your lawn for laying new turf, right up until installing, edging and finishing touches. 

We also include some helpful tips that we’ve learned along the way when working with homeowners just like yourself who want their backyard oasis! 

With this easy-to-follow guide, anyone can do it themselves and save money against what it would cost to hire someone else!

Our DIY Guide on Laying Artificial Grass in the Garden

Step 1 - Removing the old natural turf

Remove the existing turf down to a depth of around 25mm

You will need to remove the turf to a depth of about 25mm; this assumes you are laying your new artificial grass directly on top of the soil. We use a professional mechanical turf cutter, you can hire these but if the artificial grass lawn area is small, then just do it by hand.

If you are laying it over another surface, such as paving stones or decking, you can skip this step and go straight to Step 2.

Step 2 - Clean and prepare the surface

To ensure a level and secure installation, you will need to clean and prepare the area where your new grass will be laid. Start by removing any weeds or unwanted materials from the lawn, then add in some crushed stone or aggregates until it’s compact and level – this will help with moisture absorption and provide a level base under your artificial lawn. Once you have completed this step, rake over the area to create a smooth finish.

Step 3 - Layout your turf and mark the shape of the lawn

Take your artificial grass roll out of its packaging, then lay it on top of the prepared surface. Be sure to leave an extra 15-20cm around each edge. 

The next step is to mark out the shape of your lawn using an edging trimmer. This can be very time consuming and will depend on the size and shape of your garden. Our advice is to buy more turf than you need and cut it to size with a Stanely knife – this will make life a lot easier!

Cut the turf from the back, not the top, to ensure you don’t damage the fibres.

Step 4: Level the Area and Apply Weed Proof Liner

First, you will need to level your area so that your artificial grass space is entirely flat. 

This can be very difficult for a large area, even using levelling compounds that are designed specifically for this task. 

You should get a professional contractor to help you; they will be able to quickly and easily level your area or hire a mini digger if it is a large area.

You should then cover the entire space with weed proof membrane – this prevents weeds from growing up through your artificial grass long term. 

You can buy pre-cut membranes designed specifically for this purpose, but it is much easier to use multiple plastic sheets, overlapping them at the edges by about 50cm. 

It will likely be necessary to buy weed membrane in bulk; this is designed for large areas and comes on a roll, making it much easier to handle.

It would help if you then lay the hardcore aggregate on top of weed proof membrane. This can be done with a tipper truck, mini digger or hired dumper truck, or a good old fashioned shovel and wheelbarrow, depending on the size of your project.

Step 5 - Cut around openings for steps, drains etc.

By now, you should have a site that is slightly resembling a lawn. Next, you will need to cut around any areas where trees or decking will be placed. 

Once this is done, it’s time to start installing the artificial grass. Start at one end of your prepared area and place a piece of artificial turf on top of the weed membrane, being careful to leave an extra 15-20cm around each edge.

Take care when lifting the turf from the ground, as there may be weeds underneath waiting to grab hold!

Unroll the rest of the turf onto your prepared surface, remembering not to lift it too much. When you get three-quarters of the way round your garden, stop and lay an edging strip of turf around the edge. This will help to hide the edges from view and make a seamless finish.

Step 6 - Cut out a piece of artificial grass to fit over steps

If you have any steps or slopes in your garden, now is the time to cut a strip of artificial grass to cover these areas neatly. Simply measure the depth and width of your steps and cut a piece of turf that matches this measurement. Cut from any area that is going to be excess turf or waste.

Step 7 - Cut holes where you want to install lighting or irrigation systems

These days it seems like there is a gadget for everything, so why not add some artificial lighting to your new lawn? 

Installing some low voltage landscape lights will help you enjoy those long summer evenings out in your garden.

Step 8 - Cut out holes for planting flowers, shrubs or even a sunken trampoline.

If you want to add some interest and style to your new lawn, then why not add a planting hole or two? 

The best way to do this is to use a circle cutter to give your flower bed a neat and professional finish.

Step 9 - Cut around existing paths, fences or walls

In order to install the final piece of turf, you need to cut out a section from the remaining roll that includes any paths, fences or walls. When you have done this, continue to unroll the turf across your garden until you reach the final piece of turf, which will need cutting to size with a sharp blade.

Step 10 – Unroll your last length of artificial grass and start laying it

The final step is to complete the installation by unrolling the final piece of turf and working your way around until you reach the other end. You will need to use some metal skewers or wire nails to fix this section in place so that it is secure, but once this has been done, you are almost finished!

Step 10 - Securing or Weighting the Artificial Grass

We recommend you weight the lawn down being brushing in kiln dried sand. You want a 5kg bag from every 2-4 sq metres. You can also fix the edges down with nails, screws or pins, but we think weighting is a far better solution to stopping the artificial grass from moving in the future.

Step 11 - How To Join Artificial Grass

This video by Building Supplies Online talks extensively about joining new artificial lawn sections and walks you through how to do artificial grass joints step by step.

Now, all there is left to do is enjoy your new lawn,

Sanding and Brushing a New Artificial Grass Installation

For optimal results, you will want to add sand to the artificial grass and use a stiff brush or, better a power brush at regular intervals during the first week.

Make sure to brush always in the same direction and towards the house for the perfect artificial grass look. Sometimes pile leaning can require more brushing.

The purpose of this is to give your artificial grass a clean and even look and prevent loose fibres from matting together and causing an uneven area that may develop issues later on. A simple power brush will eliminate this problem easily.

When brushing, be sure to work out any knots in the artificial grass by hand or with a power brush. These tight knots will cause an indentation that becomes a nightmare to fix later on if left unattended.

Laying Artificial Grass Over a Concrete Patio or Yard - Step By Step Guide

A lot of homeowners are looking at artificial grass to improve the look and feel of their lawns. Placing turf can be an attractive solution if you have a patio or concrete yard where grass doesn’t grow.

There are a few potential pitfalls in laying artificial grass over a concrete surface, but it will transform your outdoor space and add value to your home if done correctly.

How To Lay Artificial Grass Over Concrete

Clear the Area and Dig up or Build Up The Concrete [or Remove Timber Decking]

You will need to dig out or build up any concrete or wooden decking that may be in place; this should be relatively easy, but make sure to wear protective clothing and equipment such as safety glasses, gloves, plyers and shovels.

You should then check that the ground you are going to lay turf over is level; if not, it will be necessary to add sand, hardcore, or crushed stone or another filling material.

Now follow the steps above for a standard artificial grass installation.

Can You Install Artificial Grass on Top of Concrete or Decking?

Yes, but it will need to be level and concrete, especially needs adequate drainage facilities.

Stabilise the Ground

Artificial grass is much thicker than natural grass and therefore needs to be anchored down well. 

To do this, lay a weed proof membrane over the existing ground beneath your turf, then secure it with heavy-duty staples or pins that are recommended for artificial turf installation. 

If you are covering an extremely uneven base, adding sand or other filling material underneath will be necessary.

Be aware that if the subsoil is too soft, this can cause drainage issues for your artificial grass long term.

If you want to lay fake grass over your existing concrete patio or yard then follow the steps above and ensure any inconsistencies are filled with suitable material to provide a solid base.

Laying Artificial Grass Over Uneven Concrete – Step By Step Guide

This is one of the most challenging installations. It would be best if you levelled off the area first, then lay weed proof membrane over everything before finally adding your levelling sand or other filling material.

– Fake Grass Installation Guide For Installation Over Paving Stones or Patio

Same advice as above, make sure area will drain or has drained well in the past, and make sure its level. Hardcore and sand base work can easily block up your drains and create a mess if not installed correctly.

How To Fix a Fake Lawn On Timber Decking?

The easiest way to install an artificial lawn on wooden decking is to screw down a treated timber board, then lay the turf over that. If the wooden boards are not treated, this can cause problems with rot if water gets into the gaps between boards. 

Try to space the untreated wood as far apart as possible. Also try to do it near a skirting board, so there is less chance of getting moisture where you don’t want it. As with an uneven surface or paving stones, do not try to fix or adapt the area before laying your artificial lawn. Send us photos of the site and we can give you advice on how best to install your new lawn

How To Install Artificial Grass with a French Drain?

When there is no drain for water, you will need to create one, which you can do using upturned slabs or paving stones or even a French drain, a shallow trench filled with gravel and pipes. 

This creates a space to channel the water away from your lawn. You can also use it as a border for your lawn, or make a feature out of it by putting plants in the bottom.

Last Word

We hope you’ve found this article helpful and that we’ve answered any questions you had about how to lay artificial grass. 

If not, please feel free to contact us anytime about your installation to help answer anything else for you. You can also get a quote from our team of experts by filling out the form on our website! Live in the North East? Get a FREE Quote today!

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