Artificial turf, or synthetic grass, first came out in the 1960s. Since then, it has changed significantly, with manufacturers focusing to make it more realistic, beautiful, and durable. These days, you can get all of the benefits of artificial grass, including low maintenance and greener falls and springs, without worrying that the turf you pick will end up disappointing you in looks or durability. There is a lot to discover about artificial turfs, types, installation, and maintenance.
Here’s our complete guide to artificial turf to guide you through the process of selecting, installing, and maintaining your lawn.
The Basics of Artificial Turf
What is artificial turf? It’s a kind of carpet that mimics real grass, but it’s a little more sophisticated than your average carpet. The synthetic blades of grass are made of soft and pliable filaments. The blades feel real, colored match to certain species of grass, developed to be the right width and length to look natural, and they move under your feet and in the wind the way that you would expect from real grass (at least when you choose a quality type).
The synthetic blades are woven into a permeable backing. The permeable backing will allow water to move through it and into the ground. The turf is installed onto a drainage base that allows water to drain and disperse into the ground even faster. The drainage base is typically made up of screenings, limestone crush, or ¾ clear depending on the drainage requirements and subgrade soils.
Once the turf is installed, specialty sand is spread around to weigh the turf down, add bounce, and texture to the artificial turf, helping the blades move more realistically and making the artificial turf look and feel more like natural grass.
There are many types of artificial turf as each manufacturer makes its own version. At Van Beek’s Landscape Supply, we sell and stock North America made Rymar synthetic turf. Rymar produces a wide range of artificial turf products that suit a wide range of spaces and needs. Three of the main types that are commonly used:
- Backyard Putting Green (Pro Putt, Durafringe, Bermuda Pro – Golf Turf): If you want to have your own golf or mini-golf on your property, this sturdy, healthy-looking putting green is a perfect choice. It has been designed to mimic the conditions of real grass so that the ball will roll and bounce true to your expectations.
- Synthetic Turf (Durablade 65, Triblend 70, Rymar 81): This is our all-purpose artificial lawn that is specifically designed for our Canadian climate. It has added softness so it feels real but can still withstand moderate and heavy traffic. This product comes with an impressive 15-year warranty.
- Pet Synthetic Turf (Durapet, Eco Grass – Landscape Turf): Dog owners, and those who own other pets, will appreciate the durability and pet-friendliness of this product. This synthetic grass will stand up to heavy traffic from pets. It is also specially designed for our climate and has a quality pet-friendly infill material to ensure it feels natural.
Where to Use Artificial Turf
You can use artificial turf anywhere that you want or need the benefits of it. Some reasons and areas you can use artificial turf include:
- In tough to grow grass areas
- Between and around houses
- Tough to mow areas
- Dog runs
- To lower maintenance
- For environmental reasons
- Where there is heavy traffic
- Indoors and balconies
- Sports fields
Homeowners, commercial property owners, businesses, and other organizations can all use artificial turf anywhere that they currently have grass. To learn more, contact us today.
Artificial Turf Installation
Artificial turf projects can be installed by a DIYer or a professional landscaper in as little time as a couple of days. Your first step should be to plan carefully. Van Beek’s knowledgeable team has helped plan many projects and would be happy to help you with yours. First, mark out the areas where you will be installing the artificial lawn with stakes or a garden hose. Second, measure these areas, and work with our professionals to organize the right materials.
Then the installation can begin. Follow these basic steps:
- Prepare the area: All of the grass and debris that is currently in the marked out area needs to be removed.
- Soil compaction: Depending on the subgrade it can be beneficial to compact soft soil before installation,
- Filter Fabric: Add a geotextile like Terrifx 270R to keep the soil and the next layer, a crushed stone base, separate.
- Add the base: Now you must add a layer of crushed gravel base. How much depends on the specific brand of artificial turf and your local conditions. Most of the turf requires 4-5 inches of crushed gravel.
- Compact: The gravel base must be compacted, either with a small vibratory compactor for small projects or a larger roller compactor for larger ones.
- Add a leveling layer: When you have uneven ground to start, a leveling layer can help you achieve a smooth, polished look even over hills. Still, keep this level to no more than two inches. Then it must be compacted with a heavy roller.
- Lay the turf: Now roll out your synthetic lawn. Make sure that the grain of the fibers runs the same way on each roll. If you are using multiple roles you will need to seam the turf, by using turf tape and adhesive. Hold the sheets in place with heavy sandbags until the infill sand is installed.
- Adhesive seaming: You can now use an adhesive to join the rolls and complete your lawn. You’ll need to follow the instructions from the adhesive manufacturer, but typically you add seam tape then adhesive, and connect the sheets. You may need to wait to let gases escape before you join the two sheets of fake grass, depending on the temperature and kind of adhesive. You will also need to weigh down the seams after the adhesive is applied in order to make sure they bond tightly.
- Edges: This is an optional step that can make your lawn more secure, although if your infill is heavy it may not necessary. If it is, add landscape spikes to the edges of the lawn. Typically, you want a spike greater than eight inches, and you want to place them roughly every 12” in order to prevent curling.
- Add infill: The last step is always to add the infill on the lawn. You can get a specialized tool called a drop spreader to do this. And you can brush the infill out for evenness with a fiber broom.
Artificial Turf Maintenance
Artificial turf requires significantly less maintenance than real grass. You will never need to mow, fertilize, aerate, or do any of the tasks associated with a normal lawn. However, it would be wrong to say that artificial turf is no-maintenance. Like other long-lasting features of your home, from carpets to tiling, it does need to be cleaned and maintained occasionally.
You may find that your artificial turf needs to be cleaned occasionally. You have many options to clean it, including sweeping it with a broom or rake to remove leaves, using a leaf blower to remove dirt or debris, or hosing it down with your garden hose for the same purpose. We do not recommend that you use a pressure washer, as this can damage the artificial grass, ripping holes in it, bending the blades, and causing other problems.
If you choose a quality artificial turf, it should come with built-in stain resistance that helps it avoid discoloration. However, it is still a good idea to clean up any spills that could stain it. Right after the spill, soak up the material with a cloth, paper towel, or another absorbent material. Then you can wash the area with soap and water to remove anything leftover. You may also need to scrape any sticky material, like gum, off the grass with a knife.
It is important to keep in mind that artificial grass is not indestructible. It can be damaged by fire, drippings from the barbecue punctures from axes, or sharp tools.
What happens if your artificial grass has developed stains, holes, or other problems? It is easy to repair a section of the grass. You, or a professional, simply need to cut out the damaged section right down to the ground and install a new piece of turf. It’ll be important for you to keep information about your original turf so that you can be sure your new turf will match. Or, the experts can help you figure out what brand of artificial grass you have.
Van Beek’s Landscape Supply Can Help
Thinking about adding some artificial turf to your home? Contact our professionals at Van Beek’s today to learn more.