How to install synthetic grass

Updated April 17, 2017

Modern synthetic grass is not the same product as the stiff plastic fake grass popular years ago and often seen in indoor sports stadiums. Today, you can purchase synthetic grass with a realistic colour and texture that is attractive and comfortable on bare feet. The key to a successful and attractive synthetic grass lawn is proper installation. For example, a common problem arising from improper synthetic lawn installation is poor drainage and aggressive weeds growing through poorly secured seams.

Remove soil and any existing sod to a depth of 3 inches using a shovel or other mechanical means, depending on the size of the project. This it to make room for the gravel you will install as a base for drainage. This is a good time to grade or rake the area to ensure water will drain away from it.

Spread a 3-inch layer of finely crushed gravel over the installation area. Rake the crushed gravel smooth. Be sure to fill in any low spots with more gravel.

Tamp down the crushed gravel, using a mechanical plate tamper, a heavy device with a flat plate that pounds on the crushed gravel to pack it tightly. Once again, look for any low or uneven spots and fill them in with more gravel, tamping the area.

Spread a layer of heavy-duty landscape cloth over the gravel. The landscape cloth protects the synthetic grass from being punctured by gravel and stops weeds from growing through the seams where sections of synthetic grass meet.

Roll out the sections of synthetic grass. Be sure the sections of grass are rolled out where the grass blades point in the same direction to create a natural look. Use a Sharpie marker to mark where the synthetic grass should be cut and cut to fit with a sharp utility knife.

Secure the edges of the sections of synthetic grass with 6-inch landscape spikes. Place spikes a about 6 inches from the seam, then roll back the edge of the synthetic grass and install the seam tape. Roll the synthetic grass over the seam tape and secure with landscape spikes.

Spread a sand or rubber infill over the new synthetic grass lawn at a rate recommended by the manufacturer. The infill is spread between the grass blades so they will stand up and create a natural look. It is brushed mechanically or swept into the synthetic grass.

Spray the area with water to wash the infill further into the synthetic grass. Pick up any leftover debris.

Things You'll Need

  • Synthetic grass
  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Rake
  • Plate tamper
  • Finely crushed gravel
  • Landscape fabric
  • Utility knife
  • Sharpie pen
  • 6" landscape spikes
  • Seam tape
  • Sand or rubber infill
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About the Author

Jay Golberg is a certified Texas nursery professional and professional project manager. He has 30 years of business and farming experience and holds bachelor's degrees in English writing from St. Edward's University and finance from Lamar University.