How to Raise Your Lawn Game With Synthetic Turf Grass
Fed up of tending to your grass lawn? Then install a synthetic turf one.
If the video player is not working, you can click on this alternative video link.
Not sure how? Then follows this handy guide to make the process as easy-as-pie.
Like any project of this nature, you are going to need a few bits and bobs. For this build, you will need:
- 60mm (1/4-inch) crushed minus rock, or similar
- Weed and grass killer
- Weed barrier
- Steel stakes
- 12.7 cm (5-inch) galvanized nails
- Leaf rake
- Sod cutter (rent or buy)
- Plater compactor (rent or buy)
- Construction knife
- Tape measure
- 15cm (6-inch) level
- Walk-behind spreader
- Turf seam tape
- V-notch trowel
- Hard bristled broom
With all the materials in hand, it is time to get on with the task at hand. Brace yourself, this going to be hard work.
The first step is to, obviously, remove the old grass on your lawn. There is no way around this, and you'll just have to get your hands dirty here.
It is recommended you get some friends to help you. Depending on the size of the lawn, this may take a few days.
Use a mixture of a shovel or tools like a sod cutter. You can either buy one or rent one as required.
While a little hard to use, such machines are great as they cut out strips of turf making it easier to remove them afterward. You may also want to use a wheelbarrow to assist you in moving the turf around -- it is very heavy.
Dispose of it safely and appropriately at a dump. Some places will actually recycle it!
The next step is to attempt to level the ground as much as possible. You can either jerry-rig a device to help you, as the creator of this video did, or do it the old-fashioned way using a hoe, rake, and other hand tools.
Next, tidy up the soil surface, dig out around the perimeter of the lawn (to remove any remaining grassroots, and, if needed, create a border between your lawn and your neighbors (if none already exists).
Prior to jumping to the next stage, make sure you put down weed and grass killer all over the exposed soil surface. Mix and spray according to the manufactures instructions. This prevents weeds and grass from growing through your synthetic lawn once installed.
You may want to use a sprayer to help you out here.
With that complete, you will now need to install a weed barrier on top of the exposed soil. For best results, choose a barrier that is water permeable, but will block any plants from growing through it.
Roll out over the surface of the soil, and cut to shape, and anchor into place using stakes, as required. Overlap seams between rolls around 5 to 7.5 cms (2-3-inches).
The next stage is to install a layer of ground rocks or gravel. Depending on local suppliers, you should aim for around (60mm) 1/4 inch gravel.
You can either buy this in bags or have it delivered by truck, depending on the quantity needed.
This gravel will maximize the drainage of your synthetic grass once installed and compacted. Do not skip this step.
Again, use your wheelbarrow, and some friends, to help move and spread the gravel around.
Dump in small piles, and level out using a rake. Aim for around 5-7.5 cm (2-3-inches) of rock thick evenly across the surface of the lawn.
Once again, level out the surface as best you can.
Now water the surface of the gravel, and get prepared to compact the surface! Fun.
You can either do this by hand or, preferably, hire a specialist compactor tool to do the hard work. Ensure you take precautions, and use the tool as instructed.
Go up and down your lawn in a raster pattern, and it may take a few passes, usually between 2 and 3.
For funny corners, grab a sledgehammer, and pound the gravel using the top of it.
Next, it is finally time to install the synthetic lawn.
For this project, the creator used a product called "SmartTurf", but you can use whichever synthetic turf you want. Synthetic grass usually comes delivered in large rolls, so measure out lengths, and roll out over the surface of the compacted gravel.
If you have ever installed a carpet, the process is very similar. Once again, you will probably want to enlist the help of some friends and family to help you out.
When installed the turf, try to be mindful of the direction the "grass" is growing. Try to keep consistent, and aim the blades off to the side or away from the house for best aesthetics once installed (it will look brighter this way).
Also, try to have some overlap between rolls (if required) to make splicing together of them a lot easier later down the line.
With the turf rolls laid, the next step is to splice them together. When doing this, try to cut the turf along the rows so that the seam between them is more invisible.
Watch the video for more details on this.
Now it is time to stake the turf into place. For this project, the creator used 22.7 cm (5-inch nails). As you cut-in the turf around the edges, hammer in one of the nails every 10-15 cm (4-6 inches) or so.
Use a mixture of a Stanley knife and, pro-tip, gardening shears to make this as easy as possible.
Spend time on this part, as you don't want the turf to crimp and move around over time.
The next stage is to install some seam tape and adhesive to glue the seams of turf securely together. Follow the instructions, and watch the video for more details on this stage.
Once complete, also stake both sides of the turf as you did for the edges.
For any exposed edges, like on the street side, make sure you are cutting the turf along the seams. If you don't, the black underlay will likely be exposed, and the grass will become loose over time.
At this point, the project is basically complete. However, for best results, a layer of turf fill should also be installed.
This material will weigh the turf down and prevent it from lifting up over time. For this project, the turf fill is basically very small plastic beads.
Alternatively, you can use regular turf sand. Spread these out evenly over the lawn as instructed.
This particular turf fill also comes with an antimicrobial coating that will prevent the synthetic lawn from deteriorating over time.
It is also great for reducing odor and countering urine smells. This is especially important if you have pets.
To make the task easier, make use of a walk-behind spreader. You should also add an extra layer of fill around the edges too.
Tidy up with a regular hard-bristled garden broom, as required. Lastly, tidy up the edges with pebbles, etc, depending on your garden's design.
Also, give the lawn one final watering.
Now, just break out the deck chairs, grab a beer, and enjoy your handy work! Well done you.
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