Installing an artificial lawn can a difficult process if you’re embarking on a DIY project. Taking your time to bulk up on fake grass installation tips is well worth the effort.
When high-quality artificial grass is installed properly, you can expect it to last in excess of 10 years. But it’s not only tips about installing an artificial lawn correctly that you need to know about, get yourself clued up on the mistakes you can make as well.
In this article, we cover all the common mistakes DIYers typically make during an artificial lawn installation so that you can avoid them.
A common problem many people run into when installing an artificial lawn is failing to excavate a sufficient amount of soil. You need to create enough space for a proper base and sand layers.
Without this space, these layers will be too thin and it will be almost impossible to get the surface level. This results in poor drainage and your artificial lawn installation collects puddles of rain.
Ignoring A Sand Infill
Not using a sand infill is very tempting. You might think of it as an unnecessary expense, and whilst it's true you can save some money by skipping the infill, your artificial lawn installation will not look its best without it.
Sand infills increase the lifespan of artificial lawns and help you get more bang for your buck. Infills act as a ballast attaching the artificial grass to the surface and reduce the risk of material lifting.
Failure to Install a Weed Membrane
Weed growth is still a problem with artificial grass - and it doesn’t look attractive. There is a solution to prevent weed growth though.
Using a deep sand infill and the base layer will deal with a lot of your weed problems. However, the best way to deal with all weeds is to install a quality weed membrane. Installed under the grass, it is an impervious layer that even the most stubborn of weeds will not be able to penetrate.
A weed membrane is admittedly an additional cost and may feel like a stage you can skip. But please don’t if you are laying artificial grass over exiting turf or concrete which has a weed problem. You will regret ignoring a weed membrane.
Uneven laying course
Making your garden perfectly level for the installation of artificial grass is time-consuming and can be frustrating. Nobody wants to spend hours outside with a spirit level.
Fortunately, you can save a lot more time by levelling the land properly. Attempting an artificial lawn installation on a bumpy and uneven surface is hard. It’s almost impossible to avoid the joins between sections of artificial grass being visible if the surface has not been prepared correctly.
Along with a spade and a spirit level, you might find using a flooring float will help you get the flattest finish possible. This wide and flat trowel-like tool usually used by floorers can be run along the whole of the area you have flattened to make sure it is totally smooth. The float will effortlessly cut through any time bumps that remain.
Failure to brush the turf
Many new artificial grass owners do not realise the maintenance it requires. Doing too little maintenance is particularly problematic in the first 6-8 weeks of its life.
Particularly, you need to brush artificial grass regularly during the first weeks. You will need to be this pedantic about brushing as the infill will not yet have settled.
If you don’t brush it, then wind and rain can force the infill into clumps leaving some areas entirely without infill. You will notice the problem almost immediately as artificial grass without infill is flat and doesn’t drain correctly.
A slightly quicker alternative to brushing is using a leaf blower to push the artificial grass strands in the opposite direction to the way it has fallen.
Inadequate sub-base installation
The sub-base for artificial grass is the layer at the bottom of your excavation. It should be about three inches deep. You need a sub-base to make your artificial lawn stable enough and to make sure it drains properly. Nobody wants to walk on wet artificial grass that sinks when you stand on it.
There are two important things you need to think about with your sub-base. It needs to be deep enough for the sub-base to be stable and drain well.
You also need to think about the type of sub-base to use. It’s sensible to use a standard crushed granite sub-base to get the best drainage unless the land has not had grass there before. In this instance, consider an MOT Type 1 sub-base. It’s harder wearing and less likely to sink.
To make a good joint, use good quality jointing tape to create a strong edge along the artificial grass. The grass you buy will probably have a small salvage strip running around the edge of each section to protect it.
Dealing with this salvage is easy, simply remove it before making the join. If your artificial grass has no salvage, the outer perimeter of the section will be damaged and you will need to cut away this grass.
Having to cut off some of your hard-earned artificial grass is difficult but necessary. When making the cut, you should aim to cut by around three tufts as this will remove the damaged grass without wasting it.
Joining tape incorrectly
Jointing tape is the base tape that you apply glue to so that you can join the sections of artificial grass. Using it is a delicate task and rushing will lead to an ugly join.
The hardest part about using jointing tape is making sure the sections of grass are straight and the right distance apart before joining. You should aim for a consistent 2cm separation because any more than that will make the join too visible.
A common money-saving method for artificial grass installers is to use the salvage that runs around the edge of squares of artificial grass as a joining tape. You should avoid this at all costs. Removing the salvage is required to make the roll of artificial grass run flat. Failing to do so will create ripples on your artificial lawn installation.
Improper Usage of Adhesives
If you notice that the joins on your artificial grass are messy, it could be because you haven’t used adhesive correctly. It’s easy to spot when you’ve used too much adhesive. When you stand on the joint, adhesive will leak out.
Leaky adhesive can become a big problem for artificial grass as dirt, debris and sand can stick to it. Matter sticking to the joint effectively highlights it, making the location of your seams painfully obvious. You need to wipe the excess glue off using a clean rag as soon as possible.
The other mistake you might make with adhesives is using too little. If you don’t apply a sufficient amount of adhesive the artificial grass will not stick down.
If this is the case, you might notice the artificial grass lifting up in certain areas, especially around the edges and corners. To avoid this, gently press along the edges after applying adhesive and bringing the seam together.
Choosing the Wrong Grass
There are hundreds of artificial grasses for you to choose from. They come in a variety of prices, quality, colour, and strand density. It can be a confusing market and it’s easy for people to choose grass and an artificial lawn installer that does not fit your unique needs.
By conducting proper research and giving your artificial lawn installation considerable thought, you increase your chances of making the right purchase. Before you select astroturf decide what you will mostly be using it for.
A key consideration is a budget. Ideally, we would all be able to buy the highest quality artificial grass but sadly, some artificial lawn manufacturers make cheap products that only last a few years. Therefore, the cheapest astroturf is never the best.
Work out a budget and then work out how much you can spend on the grass itself. Bear in mind that you will likely need around 5-6 tonnes of base layer (for 40 sqm) and sand and the other accessories we have mentioned so don’t forget to factor this into the price.
Once you know exactly how much you can spend, you can narrow down your purchasing options. Consider the height, density, and colour of the grass.
If you have pets or children, buy artificial grass with soft fibres for your home installation. If you need hard-wearing artificial grass that will be used a huge amount, opt for a short pile height with high density.
Whatever you do, request free samples from various suppliers before making your decision.
Error Free Artificial Lawn Installation
Making mistakes while installing an artificial lawn is common and chances are you will run into one of them. However, most mistakes are fairly easy to avoid so long as you know about them.
To avoid making mistakes with your artificial lawn installation, get in touch with My Lovely Lawn and let our skilled professional team of artificial grass installers do the job for you.