You don’t need to be a professional to install the best artificial turf, but you do need to approach the project like a pro. That means learning how to prevent common DIY mistakes before you even start your project.
That’s exactly what we’ll tackle in this article. Later on, we’re also sharing some turf shopping tips to get you started, along with some success advice that DIY installers are often surprised to learn.
To start, here are some of the most common mistakes that happen during artificial grass installation, and how to fix or avoid them:
Mistake #1: Inadequate Ground Preparation
In the excitement to see their new lawn, some DIYers neglect the crucial step of proper ground preparation. It involves removing the existing grass, ensuring the ground is well-drained and level, and creating a solid, stable sub-base.
How to Avoid/Fix
- Start by digging out the existing grass and vegetation to a depth of about 2-3 inches using a spade or turf cutter. This prevents organic material from decomposing underneath your turf and causing unevenness.
- To secure proper drainage, compact the ground and ensure it has a slight gradient away from buildings.
- A weed membrane is essential at this stage to prevent weed growth, which could disfigure the lawn's surface.
- For the sub-base, spread a 2-3 inch layer of crushed stone or gravel for stability, followed by a layer of fine sand for smoothness. Compact each layer firmly using a vibrating plate or roller.
- A solid, smooth sub-base is crucial for a smooth, durable artificial lawn.
Mistake #2: Choosing Inferior Quality Artificial Grass
To save costs, some DIYers might select the least expensive artificial grass available. However, inferior quality grass often lacks in terms of durability, texture, and a natural appearance.
How to Avoid/Fix
- Remember that your artificial grass is a long-term investment.
- High-quality artificial grass should be UV stabilized to withstand sunlight exposure, be pet-friendly, offer an adequate weight and stitch rate for durability, and have good drainage holes.
- While quality grass may require a higher upfront cost, it will be more economical in the long run as it lasts longer and requires less repair and replacement.
Check out our turf shopping tips later in the article!
Mistake #3: Ignoring the Turf Direction
Artificial grass, like natural grass, has a grain direction which it naturally falls or lies. Ignoring this can result in visible seams and an unnatural look.
How to Avoid/Fix
- Pay attention to the grain direction, especially when laying multiple turf pieces.
- Ensure they all run the same direction.
- For lawns with a noticeable grain, the grain should face towards your home or the area from where it will be viewed most often. This enhances the overall aesthetic appeal.
Mistake #4: Improper Cutting and Joining
Cutting and joining the artificial grass are crucial steps that require precision. Rough or improper cutting may lead to uneven edges, gaps, or visible seams.
How to Avoid/Fix
- Always use a sharp utility knife for precision cutting and ensure you replace blades frequently to maintain clean edges.
- When joining multiple pieces, ensure the seams fit tightly together without overlapping or leaving space between.
- Use a high-quality seaming tape and adhesive, applying it evenly.
- Carefully place the turf on the adhesive, ensuring no grass fibers get caught in the seam, which could cause a visible line.
Mistake #5: Insufficient Securing
Not securing the turf adequately is another common mistake. This can cause the grass to move, wrinkle, or lift over time.
How to Avoid/Fix
- Use U-shaped turf pegs or nails to secure the artificial grass around the edges and at regular intervals across the area.
- The pegs should be driven deep enough into the ground to be flush with the turf, but not so deep that they cause dips in the surface.
- If pegs are too shallow, they may become exposed or fail to hold the turf in place properly.
Mistake #6: Overlooking the Infill
Infill is often an underestimated component. It consists of sand or rubber granules spread across the grass to help the grass fibers stay upright, giving a natural look, and adding weight to the turf to keep it in place.
Skipping infill and not choosing the right type is a serious mistake that can compromise your entire installation.
How to Avoid/Fix
- Depending on the type of usage your lawn will see, select the appropriate infill.
- Sand is fine for general use, but for high-traffic areas or pet-friendly lawns, rubber or zeolite infill could be better.
- Apply the infill evenly across the grass, and brush it in against the grass's grain with a stiff-bristled broom.
- The infill should be just below the grass tips.
Mistake #7: Lack of Maintenance
Although artificial grass requires less maintenance than natural grass, completely ignoring its care can lead to a less appealing look and a reduction in its lifespan.
How to Avoid/Fix
- Regularly remove leaves and other debris.
- Rinse the grass occasionally to remove dust or potential odors, especially if you have pets.
- Brush the grass regularly to keep the fibers upright and ensure the infill is evenly distributed.
By understanding these common DIY artificial grass installation mistakes and their solutions, you'll be better prepared to create a beautiful, lasting artificial lawn. A successful DIY project is all about planning, patience, careful execution, and the willingness to invest in quality materials.
Shopping Tips: Choosing the Right Artificial Grass for Your Project
Choosing the best artificial turf for your DIY project is crucial as it determines not only the aesthetic appeal of your space but also its functionality and longevity.
We offer a complete selection of landscaping, putting green, and pet turf here at Artificial Turf Express. To help you select the right one, follow these advice:
1. Identify Your Specific Needs
Begin by understanding the purpose of the artificial grass in your space. Are you aiming for a child-friendly play area, a pet zone, a space for sports activities, or a decorative garden piece? Each purpose will require a different type of synthetic grass.
2. Quality Over Cost
While sticking to a budget is important, it's essential not to compromise on quality. Higher quality artificial grass not only looks more realistic but also lasts longer.
- Weight and Density: Heavier and denser grass usually equals more durability. Look at the stitch rate, which is the number of stitches per square inch. A higher stitch rate generally indicates denser turf.
- UV Stabilization: To keep your grass from fading under sunlight, make sure it's UV stabilized.
- Backing Material: A strong and durable backing holds the grass blades in place and adds to the overall strength of the turf. Polyurethane backings are known for being durable and resistant to wear and tear.
3. Pile Height and Color Matter
The pile height, or length of the grass blades, is another crucial aspect. While longer blades may initially appear lush and appealing, they may "flop over" over time, resulting in a less attractive flat appearance. A pile height of around 30-37mm is generally recommended for a natural, upright appearance.
Color-wise, a mix of greens and a thatch layer will give a more natural appearance. Uniformly bright green grass might end up looking artificial and less appealing.
4. Ensure Adequate Drainage
Particularly for outdoor installations, adequate drainage is critical. Look for artificial grass with efficient drainage holes to prevent water from pooling on the surface, as this can lead to mold and mildew and reduce the lifespan of your turf.
5. Assess the Texture
You want your grass to be comfortable underfoot, especially in areas where children or pets will be playing. That’s why we encourage installers to visit our showroom so you can touch and check our products first hand.
Unexpected Success Tips for DIY Artificial Grass Installation
While there are traditional tips that guide you through a typical artificial grass installation process, there are also less conventional tips that can enhance the success of your DIY project. Below are some:
1. Consider the Sun’s Position
An often-overlooked factor is the sun’s position. Just as with natural grass, sunlight can create reflections and shadows on the best artificial turf in San Jose, influencing its appearance. If possible, orient your artificial grass in a direction where the sunlight enhances its look. It’s easy - lay out sample, then see how it looks from different angles.
2. Temperature Matters
When you're ready to lay down your grass, the temperature might not be the first thing on your mind. However, artificial grass is easier to work with in certain temperatures. On warmer days, artificial grass is more pliable and easier to cut and shape, making the installation process smoother.
3. Seek Inspiration from Your Surroundings
To achieve a natural-looking lawn, observe real grass in your area or in similar climate zones. Take note of the color variations, the direction of the grass blades, and how the grass appears at different times of the day. Use these observations as inspiration to imitate a realistic appearance.
4. Mimic Natural Lawn Irregularities
No natural lawn is perfect. There are always some slight irregularities, be it in color, texture, or level. Mimicking these irregularities can make your artificial lawn look more natural. For instance, you might consider using slightly different shades of green in different areas or introducing slight undulations in the sub-base.
5. Use Extra Infill Near High-Traffic Areas
While an even spread of infill is typically recommended, high-traffic areas may benefit from a little extra infill. This can help the grass withstand more wear and tear, and maintain its upright position, enhancing its longevity.
6. Combine Different Types of Artificial Grass
For a more realistic look, consider combining different types of artificial grass. Using a finer, softer grass for lesser-used areas and a coarser, more resilient grass for high-traffic areas can provide a more dynamic and natural-looking lawn.
These unexpected tips provide an added edge to your DIY artificial grass installation process. Remember, the goal is not just to complete the project, but to create an outdoor space you'll enjoy for years to come.
Wrapping it Up
Installing artificial turf yourself careful planning and precise execution, but the payoff is a durable, lush, and green space usable year-round.
Feeling overwhelmed by the process? That's where ArtificialTurfExpress comes in. We have everything you need for a beautiful, maintenance-free landscape, from synthetic turf to best artificial grass accessories.
Contact Artificial Turf Express today at 408-960-2255 and let us help you conquer your installation project.