So, you’re interested in installing artificial turf in your yard. No more mowing or watering, just gorgeous green grass year-round! But before rolling out those synthetic blades, it’s really important to think about what kind of base goes underneath. A proper base is crucial for making sure your artificial lawn stays fresh and weed-free for years on end.
Let me break down everything you need to know about what goes under fake grass and also how to get that base prepped right.
The Key Ingredients for an Artificial Grass Base
When constructing a base for artificial turf, you need to bring together a few key ingredients:
- Landscape fabric – A weed barrier cloth can prevent weeds from poking through your turf if they’re an issue. It will also keep the dirt and rock separated, maintaining a stable base for your artificial grass. Just overlap the fabric panels when you lay it down.
- Crushed rocks – I’m talking 3/4 to 1 1/2 inch gravel. Crushed granite or limestone works great. These stones allow for drainage while giving stability.
- Rock fines or screening – Placed on top of the crushed rocks, these tiny rocks and dust will make a nice smooth surface.
- Infill material – Those artificial grass blades need some infill brushed between them to stay upright. Think silica sand or an anti-microbial infill like Envirofill. Spread a couple of pounds per square foot.
What will my lawn look like when you start?
Why Even Bother With Artificial Grass?
I know you’re probably wondering why go with fake grass in the first place. Here’s why it rocks:
No more mowing or watering – getting artificial grass installed at your Texas home is a great way to save money and time on watering.
It’s super durable – If you have kids, dogs, or pesky in-laws, artificial grass is incredibly low maintenance so it’s easy to keep up with.
Looks very realistic these days – the right turf can fool your neighbors and even if it doesn’t, who cares?
Stays green rain or shine – no more brown summer grass, the beautiful green color will stay and it doesn’t fade over time.
No need for fertilizers or pesticides – safer for people and pets and better for the environment as well.
Constructing the Ideal Base Layer
You’ll want 2 to 2.5 inches of crushed rock aggregate laid over a flat, stable surface. Compact it down really well with a plate compactor. The uniform gravel pieces create a nice flat pad.
Then top it off with the small fine rock material. Decomposed granite is a great choice for your top base layer aggregate. It compacts nicely and the rock particles interlock for stability. Other small, crushed rocks like limestone screenings would also do the trick.
Prepping the Ground for Artificial Turf
Installing that base layer takes some ground prep:
- Clear away any grass, plants, or debris – remove 2-3 inches of topsoil while you’re at it.
- Grade and level out the dirt – fill any low spots or holes.
- Compact the bare subsurface with a compactor
- Optional but recommended – lay landscape fabric over the leveled ground before the rocks.
- Spread your crushed rock aggregate 2 inches thick.
- Compact the daylights out of the gravel layer to lock it in.
- Add the fine rock to get to your finished grade. Approximately 1 to 2 inches thick
- Smooth over any uneven spots for a perfectly flat base.
- Mist the finished base with water and compact one more time.
- Doing this groundwork prevents problems like wrinkles or rippling down the road.
Skipping the Base Layer? Don’t Do It!
I know it’s tempting to just throw down some artificial grass over bare dirt or concrete without building a proper base layer. But let me tell you – skipping the base is a bad idea that can lead to major headaches down the road.
What kind of problems can crop up without a solid base? You may end up with major drainage issues as water can’t flow through and pools on the surface. The ground can settle unevenly underneath, causing unsightly bumps, dips, and divots in your turf.
Without a stable foundation, you’re much more likely to get rippling, raised seams, and other distortions as the artificial turf shifts. Weeds will also have an easier time poking up from the bare ground below. Even if you securely glue or nail the fake grass initially, it will fail prematurely as the unstable subsurface moves around beneath it over time.
Do yourself a favor and do it right from the beginning by constructing a proper base – your lush artificial lawn will thank you for years to come.
How to Apply Filler to Turf Installation
Once your artificial grass is rolled out, you need to apply infill material between the blades. Here are the steps:
- Use a stiff brush to comb the blades upright and in different directions. This preps them for the filler.
- Spread silica sand or other infill evenly over the turf. Aim for 2-3 lbs per square foot.
- Gently brush the infill down into the grass blades’ base using light, multidirectional strokes.
- Remove any excess material left on the top once the infill is worked down into place.
- Follow up with more brushing once the turf is in use to smooth and redistribute the filler.
- Properly applied infill ensures a lush, natural look and feel.
Do I Need Irrigation for Artificial Turf?
One of the great perks of artificial turf is that it doesn’t need regular watering. However, there are a couple of cases where installing irrigation can be useful:
- In very hot climates, occasional misting helps keep the turf cool and fresh.
- For turf on a slope or embankment, irrigation provides added stability.
- Nearby real grass or landscaping may require some watering overlap.
- Synthetic grass around swimming pools benefits from occasional rinsing.
- So, irrigation isn’t mandatory but can be worthwhile depending on your climate and specific needs.
The Takeaway: What to Put Underneath Artificial Grass
When installing artificial grass, don’t just focus on the lush synthetic blades you see. Understanding what to put under artificial grass will ensure that your yard holds up against anything Mother Nature throws at it.
A properly constructed base keeps your artificial lawn flat, green, and thriving for the long run. Follow this advice and enjoy your backyard oasis!