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laying artificial grass

In 2012, garden decking was all the rage. TV gardening shows and the promotion of award-winning landscape gardeners in mainstream newspapers promised “the delights of decking.”

To be fair, decking exudes a chic outdoor vibe - when it’s first laid. Several years down the line it looks shoddy and withered.

What’s more, decking is difficult to maintain. That annual creosol is back-breaking isn’t it!

In recent years, the popular choice of revamping your garden is to lay artificial grass. It’s easy to maintain and will last at least twice as long as decking with very little effort.

If your decking has faded, why not consider covering your garden eyesore with a vibrant patch of lush green astroturf. Artificial grass is far more natural-looking than you might expect.

Can you cover a deck with artificial turf?

Replacing astroturf grass for decking is arguably the perfect solution. Decking is one of the easiest surfaces for laying artificial grass. And fake grass doesn’t need sweeping like wood surfaces.

Another benefit of laying artificial grass on decking is to save money. Fake grass is a cost-effective alternative to ripping out your decking and installing natural grass - plus you don’t have to wait for the grass to grow. Artificial lawns come ready-made.

Do you need decking underlay to install artificial grass?

A decking underlay is not necessary in every case. It really depends on who - or what - will be using your artificial grass.

For families with young children, decking underlay is a wise choice. Underlays have shock pads that provide cushioning for tumbling toddlers and sporty kids.

Decking underlay will also act as a weed barrier which will be needed if your decking was installed more than five years ago. A weed membrane would have probably been installed when your decking was laid but they only last around five years. You might get 10 years from a good quality weed membrane.

Decking underlay or weed membranes are not ideal for artificial lawns that will be used by dogs or other pets. They are made from moist absorbent materials and trap the smell of urine.

If you want to install pet-friendly artificial grass, we recommend using zeolite infill. ZeoLite absorbs ammonia - the nasty smell associated with stale pee.

Step One: Prepare the surface for laying artificial grass (if necessary)

Before you install artificial grass over decking, you need to prepare the surface. This includes removing any plants, weeds and other garden debris and repairing loose or rotting boards.

If the decking is old and decaying, the wood will weaken even more after laying artificial grass. It could give way and cause an injury.

The gaps between decking boards should be no smaller than 1cm otherwise the astroturf will sink through and create grooves.

We also recommend giving the decking a thorough clean using a scrubbing brush and hot, soapy water to remove excess dirt and moss.

Step Two: Install The Decking Underlay

If you are fitting decking underlay, place it over the surface area and secure the edges with either an adhesive, screws or a nail gun. The underlay should be completely flat to the surface and smoothed over.

Step Three: Lay Astroturf for Decking

Before laying artificial grass on the decking, measure the surface area and cut the astroturf to fit. Alternatively, if you have enough space to work in, you could roll the artificial grass over the prepared surface and cut the material to size once it’s in place.

If the decking is on a raised lip, we recommend folding the material over the edges and attaching the grass to the sides of the decking. If you are cutting the piece of astroturf before rolling it out, add an additional 50mm of fabric for each side you plan to attach to the side of the decking - so 100mm if opposite ends will fold over the edges.

Large gardens may require more than one roll of astroturf. If this is the case, make sure you position the material so that the fibres are facing in the same direction. We recommend laying the grass so that the fibres are pointing towards the house.

When you first roll out the artificial grass, you may find that it has some kinks and wrinkles. This is quite normal. They will fall out overnight or in a day or two. Expose them to the sunlight to fall away naturally, you don’t have to do anything to encourage them.

Step Four: Join the Grass (if necessary)

If you are covering a large surface area and have used two or more rolls of fake grass, you will need to stitch the seams together. Ideally, you will have the right tools for this. Feel free to speak to one of our professional artificial grass installers for advice about which type of glue and jointing tape to use.

There are several ways to position the jointing tape. We find the best way is to pull back the edges of the fake grass by approximately 300mm and unroll the jointing tape down the centre.

Make sure the shiny side of the jointing tape is facing downwards and the blotting side is facing upwards.

Fix the jointing tape at both ends with adhesive or a small nail. Replace the turf over the tape and bring the seam together. Ideally, there should be a 2-3mm gap between the two pieces of fabric to get a good seam.

Once the seams are lined up, replace the grass over the jointing tape and apply adhesive under the edge of one section using a mastic gun. Then do the same on the other side.

Bring the seam together ensuring there are no blades of grass caught in between the seam. Gently press along the edges with your palms to help the adhesive spread out.

Step Five: Fasten the Edges

The final stage of the installation process for laying fake grass on decking is to fasten the edges. We recommend using a nail gun because they pin the fabric plush to the wood and will give you a long-lasting hold.

Step Six: Apply the Finishing Touches

To get your artificial grass looking natural and vibrant, add an infill such as silica or plastic pellets. This helps the fibres stand upright. For commercial installations with a short height pile where people may walk barefoot, sand is the best option because plastic pellets can get quite hot and burn the soles of your feet.

As we mentioned above, if your fake lawn will be used by pets, the best infill bar none is zeolite. This soft grain will not damage pet paws and helps to reduce the smell of urine.

Once your infill is down, brush the artificial grass with a broom or carpet rake to clear away dust and debris. Leave the grass for at least an hour before using it.

Allow the artificial grass to settle overnight and examine it the following day to check for low levels of infill. Top up any areas that look thin or expose the backing.

Call Experienced Professionals to Lay Artificial Grass on Decking

No matter how good you are with DIY, laying fake grass on decking is not as straightforward as it looks. If you don’t want to risk getting it wrong contact our experienced artificial grass installers and we’ll do the job for you.

We cannot stress how important it is to get the installation process right. If fake grass is not installed correctly, it may not last as long as you would have hoped. You should expect to get 10-20 years of moderate to heavy use from an artificial lawn.

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