At NexGen Lawns, we take pride in laying smooth, green, beautiful artificial lawns. If you’re in the market for an artificial lawn, you might be wondering what the process of installing one of these gorgeous lawns is. In this guide, we’ll go through the installation process step-by-step and also explain how your yard can go from ho-hum to fabulous with our steps to installing artificial grass.
A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Install Your NGL Artificial Grass
Equipment and Items Needed for Installation
Here is all the equipment you’ll need to install an artificial grass lawn, from start to finish. From the shovels and rakes to the artificial grass itself to the infill we use to make sure it’s all smooth, this is a list of everything you’ll need.
- Artificial Grass
- Shovel, rake, wheelbarrow, hand tamp, hammer, tape measure, utility knife, and extra blades for cutting grass
- Plate compactor (you can rent this at Home Depot) or water roller
- Crushed rock/road base, fine rock, or decomposed granite
- Silica sand or Envirofill (this is the infill that goes on top of the artificial grass)
- Seaming tape
- 5-inch galvanized ring shank nails. These will go along the perimeter and along any seam.
Step 1: Ground Preparation
Professional installation all starts with preparation. We need to start from a firm foundation, and if things aren’t level even in this stage, with the proper drainage and leveling, then we’re setting ourselves up for disaster. So, artificial turf installations always start with ground preparation.
We begin by removing existing soil or materials 3 to 4 inches deep and removing any existing materials, whether it is soil, weeds, or any substance by shovel, sod cutter, or other excavation equipment. By rough grading the area and uncovering everything underneath including electric wiring, irrigation, pipes, etc that is in the 3-to-4-inch depth area, this will allow you to have a solid sub-base for the project.
Sprinklers and Drainage:
We cap any existing sprinklers that will not be used and make sure to cap sprinklers at the pipe level as opposed to the riser. This avoids any leakage that may occur between the two.
Modifying irrigation and drainage
Then we modify sprinklers for irrigation or drainage. If you prefer, you may keep the sprinklers in the area if they are in their own independent zone. We will make any riser adjustments needed. So that the sprinkler heads are flush with the final grade of the base rock after it is installed.
If necessary, we’ll relocate sprinklers, modify existing irrigation lines, and add any required drainage. Then, we’re sure to backfill and mark the location of any unused sprinklers to avoid depressions or low spots.
When locating any wiring, electrical sprinkler valve boxes, etc.—move them inward and away from any perimeter by 12 inches. This will help prevent any accidental damage when it comes time to secure the artificial grass edge. Once moved, we lay all wiring on top of the subgrade surfacing, if possible.
Plastic Nailer Board:
The installation of a plastic nailer board is a highly suggested important step around the perimeter and flower beds. It will provide a clean line, lock in the base work, help hold the perimeter of the artificial grass down better, and also provide separation for the flower beds.
After all the excavation is finished, we lay a permeable weed block or geotextile material down. This will provide a layer of protection to keep the rock base separated from the dirt when it rains. Helping to prevent low spots or a lumpy yard in future years.
Step 2: Base Preparation
The next step is getting the base ready and making everything level, flat, and most of all, solid. This is a vital part of the process to make sure that no lumps, depressions, or waves ever appear in the lawn.
Gravel or Decomposed Granite Mix:
The next step is to install the base material. There are several different names and styles of rock depending on where you live. For best results, we install 2 inches deep of a clean stone that is 1 ½ inches or smaller mix, typically known as Class 57 Stone.
We spread this out smooth and compact (see step 3). This will allow for proper drainage. Next, we install 1 to 2 inches of a ¼ or less fine rock with dust.
We properly distribute and level the base. This is achieved with either a landscape rake or a level. Proper base distribution and leveling are important to account for sloping away from the home and patio areas and towards any installed drainage area. Proper base installation also ensures the artificial grass will have a nice, smooth appearance.
Step 3: Base Compaction
Before compacting, we wet the rock base to allow for proper settling and compaction. Base compaction is accomplished by using a plate compactor, hand tamping, or water rolling the rock base. This will establish a solid base for the artificial grass as well as a hard surface to drive any necessary nails into. Any additional leveling or grading that may be needed can be done at this time.
Step 4: Laying and Cutting in the Artificial Grass
Proper Artificial Grass Direction:
We roll out the artificial grass in the area so that the artificial grass blades are pointing towards the main viewing area. We make sure that all pieces of artificial grass lay in the same direction. Otherwise, you will see the different pieces of artificial grass when we seam them together.
After all the artificial grass pieces are rolled out and set in place, we allow them some time to acclimate to the current temperature. This usually takes anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. This will help prevent wrinkling on hot sunny days.
When the artificial grass is staged in the area properly, we cut the turf with a box knife along the edges to fit to the area. We do this one piece at a time, starting at one end and working to the other.
When seaming the artificial grass make sure you cut 1 to 2 stitch rows off the side of the artificial grass where the excess flap is. This will help to hide the seam. Align the artificial grass pieces next to each other with a 1/8-inch gap. We use some nails approximately 3 feet from the seam on both sides to hold the pieces in place.
We fold back both artificial grass pieces and lay either self-adhesive seam tape or white seam tape with artificial grass glue on the base. Once the seam tape is in place, lay the artificial grass piece that does not have the turf blades hanging over the side first.
This will help to keep the turf blades from getting caught in the adhesive. Next, we lay the other side of the seam which has the grass blades that lay over the edge of the artificial grass down to finish the seam.
Securing the Artificial Grass in Place:
We secure the edges with galvanized or stainless-steel staples and a staple gun 3 inches apart.
Anywhere we did not use a plastic nailer board, we install 5-inch galvanized ring shanks or timber tie nails along the edge. We install nails along the edge by placing them 6 inches apart, driving them down ¾ of the way. When finishing the nails, separate the artificial grass from around the nail to avoid pulling down the blades with the nail.
Then, we hide the nail in the grass blades at the base of the turf. We make sure not to drive the nails too deeply into the ground, as this will cause the artificial grass to pull down creating dimples in the grass.
We secure seams with nails every 12 inches offset on either side for extra seam strength.
Step 5: Applying Infill
Using a power broom, turf rake, or heavy bristled brush we push into the grain of the artificial grass causing it to stand up. This will help to allow the infill to fall in between the grass blades.
Next, we apply the silica sand infill or Envirofill. Envirofill has a green anti-bacterial coating to help prevent pet urine smells. Spread the granules evenly throughout the artificial grass. Depending on the artificial grass installed, you will need 2 lbs to 3.5 lbs of infill per square foot.
This will act as a balance to hold the grass blades upright and also give the artificial grass more weight to help fight against expanding and contracting in warm and cold temperatures.
Final Broom and Clean:
After we’ve applied the infill, we broom the artificial grass again to push the infill all the way into the grass blades. When finished, we rinse the artificial grass of any remaining dust or residue.