Don’t worry, we haven’t completely lost the (garden) plot! We’re not talking about mowing artificial grass, that’s a really bad idea as it’s synthetic turf. Instead, we’re talking about cutting and installing synthetic grass when you first put it down, and how you can get the best results and a neat job that will look good for years – after all, it’s a long-term investment for your garden. Here’s our guide to successfully cutting and laying artificial lawn.
Why install artificial grass?
There are many reasons to use artificial grass in your garden. It requires no maintenance, so it’s perfect for busy lifestyles, and it’s child and pet friendly. If you have an awkward space where grass won’t grow, then using synthetic lawn instead means you can still have a sleek, glossy lawn. It means you don’t have to keep a bulky lawnmower on hand, which is ideal if you have little storage space or limited access to your garden.
High quality artificial grass is also ideal for all weather conditions and is allergy free and mud free. These days, you can get artificial grass which looks and feels much more like a real natural grass lawn too and there are lots of different colours and textures available. If you’re having a large area of artificial grass fitted, it may be best to have it done by professional installers as it needs to be taut and firm for a long lasting result. By using professionals, you should hopefully get accurate measurements, have the grass installed using the right tools and have your entire lawn is subject to a high-quality installation. For smaller areas, though, you might like to have a go at the installation of artificial turf yourself.
How much cutting will you need to do?
Before laying your grass, the first step is to look at the area to be covered. Not only will you have to trim the edges to the required size and shape, but you might also have to work around existing objects such as trees, shrubs, stones or other irregular shapes. Artificial grass is usually supplied in roll format, so you’ll also have to work out how much you need – preferably before you buy it, so you can ensure you have enough new turf and don’t end up with wastage. This is an important part of the planning process, so pay close attention and double check your measurements.
It’s also important to check the thickness of the turf you’re purchasing, so you can make sure you have a suitable depth of flat surface on which to lay it. Don’t forget to double-check the size of the roll, as incorrect measurements can waste time and money.
How to prepare the ground for laying artificial grass
Artificial grass needs to be laid on a firm, smooth hard surface or you won’t get a nice end finish. If you already have existing, real natural lawn grass then this needs to be removed first. It’s not recommended that you install artificial lawn on topsoil, so if you have existing soil on your planned surface area, remove it first.
For small areas, you can dig any existing lawn up with a spade. For larger areas, you might need to beg, borrow or hire a proper turf cutter. You’ll need to dig out the base to around 4 to 5cm to give a good base. You’ll also need to clear away any obstructions such as stones, overhanging branches or discarded toys. Rake the area smooth and flat, as well.
To help secure the artificial grass, you’ll also need a timber edge. The turf will be laid on two base layers, a layer of crushed stone then a layer of sharp sand so that the finished result drains well. A weed-proof membrane or weed barrier is fitted next to stop cheeky dandelions forcing their way through the artificial turf.
If you have a base material of paving, concrete or even decking, it is possible to install artificial turf onto your existing garden design. You may need additional carpet tacks, or outdoor adhesive tape to attach the fake lawn onto decked or paving areas, but it can look just as effective.
Cutting artificial grass
Before you start the cutting process, assemble your tool kit. You’ll need gloves, a sharp knife or sharp blades, some large scissors, a tape measure and a marker pen. If you have an existing round area that needs to be grassed, then something to mark a circle with, such as a large compass or pin and string., can help you achieve a perfect circle.
Measure very carefully before you do any cutting, as a lot of care is needed as mistakes are hard to recover from and precise cutting is necessary!
Put your artificial grass roll upside down and always make your cuts on the back of the turf where there no fibres, stitch lines or fabric grain, so you’ll get a cleaner result. Cut in small increments, making straight cuts with proper cutting tools, using the tip of your blade where it’s sharp, and check your work frequently against the place where you’re laying the turf to ensure the installation process is going as planned. It’s important to keep focused on the task in hand as a lack of concentration could result in an uneven, odd looking lawn.
If you have a small gap or need to join sections of artificial grass pieces together, then make sure you get all the yarn facing in the same direction so that there’s no difference in appearance. This will help it look more like natural real grass.
Once correctly finished, your artificial grass should last for many years with very little maintenance other than the odd hose off.
If you get confident at cutting and laying artificial turf, you could even have a go at creating your own artificial grass outdoor furniture.
Featured image credit: Gerry Burrows / Shutterstock0