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4 Preparation Steps For Artificial Turf Installation

by Dan Mckinney

Whether you live in an area with water restrictions or are just simply weary of routine lawn maintenance, an artificial turf lawn provides an aesthetically pleasing alternative to grass. Installation begins with properly preparing your yard before the turf is actually laid and fastened in place. 

1. Utility Planning

It's vital that the utilities are marked before installation begins. You don't want to hit a gas line or bust through your water line during the installation process. In most areas, you can call 811 and request to have the utility lines marked. Old irrigation lines will also need to be located and removed, since irrigation won't be a necessity once the artificial turf is installed. 

2. Turf Removal

All lawn grasses, weeds, and ground covers need to be completely removed before installation. This includes any remaining roots and any seeds that may be present. After cutting the turf into strips and removing it, the top 5 inches or more of soil is removed to ensure that no living plant material remains. Then the area will be graded to ensure it is level and that water can flow toward the nearest storm drain or other suitable drainage areas.

3. Base Preparation

The base is the most important part of the turf installation, as this is the part that ensures longevity. Compaction is key so that the ground doesn't settle, leading to a wavy or uneven artificial turf surface. After compaction, sand is laid in a thick layer and further compacted. Finally, coarse road gravel is applied to a depth several inches thick. This is also compacted so that it won't shift in the future. The combination of sand and gravel aids drainage and provides stability.

4. Drainage Installation

Depending on the local climate, additional drainage beneath the turf may be necessary. Different drainage systems are available, and your installer will recommend the ones that are best suited to your climate and yard. One of the most common systems consists of a plastic grid that is installed on top of the base. Water is able to drain through the turf and into the grid, so the surface of the turf is never saturated. Sometimes perforated drain pipes will also be installed so that the water can flow more easily toward the nearest storm drain.

A strong, properly constructed synthetic grass base is best installed by professionals. Contact an artificial turf installation service for more assistance.