Installation Guidelines

Shawgrass is a strong turf that requires organization and skill to install correctly.

Artificial grass installation should only be done by a Family Turf Wholesalers professional. Preparing the site is critical for a long-lasting solution and while it will involve the most work, it will also deliver the best results. The following artificial turf installation guidelines will make sure that your layouts are planned effectively and give your customer the results they expect.


1. PLANNING

A. Area: The area for a turf installation should be plainly defined and scored.

B. Drainage: Decide if the prepared space has enough drainage or might need extra drains or modified drains, grading, or sloping.

C. Soil Condition: Check to see whether you will want to dampen or soften the soil or use a jackhammer to pull out invasive rocks. Rain-soaked ground may need to dry a few days prior to when synthetic grass installation can start.

D. Irrigation: Discover existing sprinklers or bubblers for the rest of the trees and plants or complete irrigation for trees and plants before moving on. Mark all irrigation lines, electrical conduit, etc. below ground that could become damaged during the artificial turf installation. Reroute where possible.

Irrigation sprinklers are not necessary for artificial turf, you will want to request help from your irrigation specialist to assist in rerouting or shutting off heads. If you choose the TurfChiller cooling technology, you may want to simply change the irrigation settings at the box as your customer will enjoy having an easily accessible watering source.

E. Preventing Future Damage: Decide if more parts or materials you require to safeguard against damage from small land animals such as rodents. Rodent wire (similar to chicken wire) may be the solution to the problem. Secure the entire perimeter to stop the artificial grass from being pulled up or damaged by your own pets.

F. Existing Design Elements: Locate the concrete borders surrounding your property and determine whether you need to nail into concrete slabs. If you are using curbing, edging or border materials, set it before shaping the artificial grass and adding it with any base material, as this will give you a more accurate measurement for the artificial turf. Roots from trees in your yard, as well as preventing to attract pests should also be strategized around.

G. Measurements: To reduce labor, measure the project area thoroughly and outline the layout to minimize the number of seams in the artificial turf. Prepare for a small amount of additional material, mainly if you want roundness for your desired layout. A great starting figure to use is 10%. Use a smart level or transit for a proper slope of 2% min.

H. Design Application Tips: All artificial grass products have a pile (grain) direction that must be taken into account. Determine the direction of the pile and place all rolls of synthetic grass in the same pile pattern. Installing synthetic grass in conflicting pile patterns may result in noticeable seams. The grain should be point toward the desired viewpoint as this will minimize shine.


MATERIAL PREP

A. TURF

Measure the full prepared space, and get more than enough turf to cover the entire prepared plot. Do this even if your installation requires a long-term plan. Turf is made in different batches with expected batch-to-batch variation, so you will be smart to get enough for your full project. Turf is most often packaged in rolls that are 12 or 15 feet wide, so you could separate your project plot into 12 or 15 foot wide divisions, and then add the total length of these areas. Roll out the synthetic turf the day before, allowing the panel to set. If the artificial grass has crimped, lay it flat in the sun or pull it taught.

The taller your pile height, the more infill you need. Therefore, make sure of your calculations. Also, remember that turf wrapped nearest to the middle may be far too wrinkled, prepare to have 18” of additional product just to be sure you have enough.


B. BASE MATERIAL

You will need about two to six inches of a stone base layer under your lawn. One yard of base material is enough to cover 80 sq. ft. at 4 inches in depth (one yard = one ton). Fine stone or aggregate (89 stone; 1/4” to 5/8” in size) can be poured over the top of a rough mixture (57 stone; 1/2” to 3/4” in size), or a mixture of coarse and fine aggregate (often referred to as crush and run) is used. 

Avoid using pea gravel as your base layer. DO NOT use pea gravel as the rounded stone is sure to shift to a problematic degree. Pea gravel stones have a smooth, round surface, which makes them hard to compact. Your local nursery, stone, or mulch center has the best options for gravel.


C. INFILL

Infill helps anchor the turf down and stabilize the fibers to keep them pointing up and eliminates matting. Infill is essential as it promotes water drainage and produces a stable, natural feeling base. Specific infills can work as well. TurfChiller reduces the heat of the surface considerably and needs at least 2# per square foot to be effective. Envirofill is an infill that is green in color, has some cooling properties and has Microban®. Combining the two is a very good mix when children or pets are involved.


D. SAND INFILL

In some geographic areas, you may want to use a color-coated sand on the top of your infill. Color-coated sand is cost a bit more than normal sand, it is normally only used on the top of your infill. The right amount would be 1 lb per sq ft. Determine the amount of sand infill beforehand; an accurate volume is three to five pounds of sand per square foot on 50-80 ounce synthetic grass.


E. TURFCHILLER™

TurfChiller employs evaporative cooling technology for cooling artificial turf spaces. The Turf Chiller technology is a pre-coated material which is delivered on-site adhered to the sand infill. Once installed, just water to make it work. Turf Chiller requires moisture to provide a long-term cooling effect.

We highly recommend TurfChiller as it is a specially designed infill that decreases the temperature of the surface significantly. When used around the kids and pets it gives you and yours an extra level of comfort and gives you the best peace of mind on hot days.


F. FABRICS

Make sure to make a weed barrier. You may also need a wire mesh rodent barrier if you have had rodent problems before (gophers, moles, etc).


G. SEAMING MATERIAL

Be sure to have plenty of seaming tape to go the full length of your seams, and cover the paste. Make sure to go over your seams well as this will be one of the most easily seen features when complete. Also, please make sure to review all adhesives labels to be sure that they are used and stored well.

Plan your project to minimize or hide seams; for example move the seams in the back or out of . Also, try rebuilding your project to keep 15’ widths, this can save a lot of labor and potentially visible seams as well.


H. LANDSCAPE NAILS/SPIKES

(approximately 3.5 – 10 inches in length)

Spikes will be laid alongside sidewalks, tree rings, and other objects around the area to landscape. They will later be covered by infill but you will need to embed them as deeply as possible. There are a range of spikes that you can purchase made of different materials from plastic to galvanized/non-galvanized. Local soil will inform these decisions.

Application will influence the length of nails or spikes to order. Nails have to be used about every six inches along the outside of the installation, as well as over all seams to hold down the turf.

Use nailer board nails one-to-two inches galvanized or staples 1⁄4 inch – 1⁄2 inch. Smaller nail spacing could be needed when using nailer boards.


I. EDGING MATERIAL

Polyboard is better compared to other lawn border options because of its strength and many functions. It appears to be real wood but has all of the advantages of plastic. Polyboard can be bent and curved to satisfy all your lawn maintenance needs. Pressure-treated wood may also be used.


TOOLS & EQUIPMENT

A. SAFETY

Rubber leather gloves

Back braces

Knee braces

Safety goggles

First-aid kit

Safety indicators—for use on street for materials and machinery


B. MEASURING

100 ft. flexible metal tape measure

Snap line for marking lengthy sections of turf

Hard-edge level—two-to-four foot

Square or T-square for squaring the sides of turf


C. SITE PREPARATION

Construction-grade wheelbarrows

Flat point shovels

Spades—rounded point

Large picks

Small picks

Leaf rake


D. BASE PREPARATION

Transit or smart level

Asphalt or landscape rake (40 inch)

Pointed mason trowels – used to clear and clean sides of concrete, etc

Hand Tampers (Eight or 10 inch)

Water filled roller

2” x 1” x 2’ pieces of wood – for hand tamping borders & small areas


E. TURF CUTTING

Professional grade knives and blades (choose a blade and knife set that is easily changeable and stock up on blades)


F. INFILLING

Drop spreaders for small spots require only a small drop spreader (holds approx. 75 lbs. of infill) or for bigger sections, using a commercial drop spreader (holds approx. 200 lbs.) or walk-behind or tow-behind machines.

Installation and grooming rakes (poly-nylon)

Grooming hand brooms or tools (poly-nylon)


G. MATERIAL HANDLING > 1000 SF

Forklift with forks and 15-foot carpet pole

Bungee cords or rope for securing loads

Carpet dollies


H. HAND TOOLS

Small hand shovel—used to clear and clean around pipes and small borders

Hammers

Pliers (various sizes and shapes)

Wrench and socket set (for small tool repairs and use in adjusting irrigation, etc)

Sledgehammer (medium to large)

Rubber mallets

Cement chisel for removing additional concrete, rocks or other items

Pipe cutter (for modifications to irrigation)


I. POWER TOOLS

Power brush to fibrillate (bloom) blades

Hand saw or power saw to chop bender board, pipes

Leaf blower (for cleanup of organic materials and job site areas)

Sod cutter (optional rental)

Vibrating plate compactor (optional rental)


J. MISC. TOOLS

lots of small and large tarps or plastic drop cloths

lots of little containers for used blades and small buckets for filling by hand, small tools, and job materials

Gas cans for both regular gas and mixes


K. SITE CLEAN UP

Water hose (100 ft.) and nozzle with variable heads

Brooms (one hand bristle and one soft bristle)

Small hand broom for rocks, edges, etc.

Shop vacuum (two gallon or larger)


2. AREA PREPARATION

Before you dig, call 8-1-1 to make sure you don’t cause damage to utilities underground and service interruption. This is the universal number for the 71 regional services in the U.S. that manage location services for underground public utilities.

A. Remove all mulches, sods, turfs, etc. from the marked area. You can do this with a hand-held shovel, or a gas-powered sod puller (these are available to rent at typical rental centers) or find a local landscaper you can have remove the existing sod and any landscaping you shouldn’t have in your installation area. To remove an old lawn, you should excavate two-to-six inches of turf. Later you will replace this old turf and dirt with two-to-six inches of stone material.

B. For landscaping around shrubbery, trees, flowers, utilities, light poles, etc., remember to mark around those places and leave space for the turf edge configuration.

C. Leave an ample area uncovered around the bases of trees.

D. Check on local legislations on disposal of natural waste before starting. Let your site dry for a few days before you excavate.

E. Don’t use a tiller to remove turf because that can ruin the dirt below the sod and create a poor base. When removing turf from bigger areas, use a sod cutter instead. These are available at one of your local tool rental supply stores. A shovel or a spade can be used to cut the sod in hard to get to areas into small strips.

F. Decomposition of organic material that’s left underneath newly installed surfaces will lead to sub-surface failure. Any recently removed tree stump or root areas must be free of organic materials, then filled and compacted before the job starts.

G. By using an inverted spray can marker, mark off boundaries for your yard and layout. Don’t forget that artificial turf comes in either 12-foot or 15-foot widths. Remember this when you plan your installation to avoid any potential issues with your layout.

H. Lots of different types of border solutions and edging materials may be used for your synthetic turf project. Examples may include transitions from synthetic turf to a flower bed, mulch, stone edging, or sidewalks. You may also utilize synthetic lumber or synthetic turf edging.

I. This is the perfect time to add edges, large rocks, install walkways, stepping stones, pavers, and walls.

J. If there’s a sprinkler system in the installation space, reroute to the perimeter if possible, or cap the unnecessary sprinklers and turn off their valves.


3. SOIL COMPACTION

A. It might be essential to compress the native soil/subgrade prior to base construction.

B. In a situation where the native soils are soft and/or saturated, it is advisable to install a geotextile to separate the soft soils from the crushed stone base.

C. As a general rule, if there’s standing water, or if water comes to the surface under foot, a geotextile should be used.

D. You should totally firm up the earth that you want to have as the foundation for your synthetic turf. Use either a sod roller or a vibrating plate compactor, which you’ll be able to rent from the local rental suppliers. Make sure that the ground you use is properly sloped or follows the grade of the area surrounding it for draining to work.

E. It’s recommended you apply a professional-quality weed and turf killer to the lawn job space.

F. Determine if additional materials are needed to help stop damage from ground animals, weeds, or rodents. Weed barrier and rodent wire (similar to chicken wire) may be the solution (this is not always necessary in arid or dry climates).


4. BASE CONSTRUCTION

A. A crushed stone base of two-to-six inches must be spread evenly over the prepared area.

B. If operating heavy equipment to do so, the equipment shouldn’t drive directly upon the prepared area. If it is beyond avoiding, the worker in the machine needs to be wary of turns that can hurt the base.

C. The crushed stone could be a D.O.T. Class 2 aggregate or equivalent, with a maximum particle size of 3⁄4”, or approved equal. Class 2 aggregate is available in most regions.

D. The crushed stone should be spread evenly, as smoothly as you are able to. Using a finer material will help to complete the final grade.

E. For the depth of the base as a rule of thumb, in desert climates such as San Diego, Las Vegas, or San Diego, two inches of base course is enough. In climates with more rainfall or a higher water table, such as New Orleans, Houston, or Seattle, up to six inches may be needed.

F. Lightly shower your area with water and then strongly press the sub-base using a hand compactor, landscape roller, or vibrating plate compactor.

G. Investigate for shallow depressions. If the base course layer is not as smooth as you would like it, or there are unwanted bumps, it may be needed to also add a layer of fines (stone dust, screenings manufactured sand, etc.) to fill in the depressed sections or create a surface that has been levelled. This layer must be kept to a small amount, desirably no more than two inches. This layer must be compacted with a heavy roller or plate machine. Fill in and re-level any base dip that is more than 1/4” deep.

H. Even though turf drains water straight down through drainage holes built into it, we also recommend angling the base at a mild slope, away from any properties, to a proper drainage area to protect from any pooling of any kind.

J. Continuous goes-over the installation space are needed until a compaction rate of 95% or more is reached. When dry, the installation space should be smooth and firm to get rid of unwanted ridges under the turf.

K. Add your base beginning with the opposite side of the space. Go from edge to edge, not center to edge. Feather base from load to load. The base layer should be distributed evenly. Grade and level to meet design and drainage requirements. Shape to the appearance you desire—flat, slight roll, mounded.

L. A gas-powered vibratory plate compactor could be rented for more intense jobs. Overlap shipments with the compactor to lower the risk of ridges and bumps.

M. Do not walk on the recently installed base until it is settled. Walking on the shaky base will create holes and irregular spots. A simple way to guess the correct amount of packing is to step onto the stone base. If you leave a footprint, the base is not packed yet.

5. LAY TURF

A. Lay the synthetic turf out on top of the engineered base, as planned. If the site asks for multiple roll widths, ensure to have the lay of the points on each roll of synthetic turf running all the same way.

B. When seaming is required, trim the selvedge (un-tufted edge) off the synthetic turf and put in the desired position.

C. When clipping selvedge, begin cutting two tuft rows in from the edge in order to achieve proper seam strength.

D. Install the next roll close to the first and repeat Step C. Then butt the seams together.

E. With a box cutter or carpet knife, snip the extra material to match the trimmed edge of the first roll if necessary.

F. Make all cuts as near to it as you are able without making contact. Seam spacing should be no more than 1/8 inch.

G. Repeat as often as you need for as many roll sizes as the job needs.

H. Around the sides, trim the turf to match the sides.

I. If a reinforced or fastened edge is desired do not reinforce the edge until almost all of the infill is put in (Refer to Step 8). More on this later.

J. When cutting curved edges, cut in small relief cut increments to match the style.

K. Rough-cut the perimeter before you perform any seaming.

L. Always stretch synthetic turf tight to prevent wrinkling.

6. SEAMING

A. Crease the adjacent trimmed sides of two rolls of artificial grass about two feet apart from the entire length of the seam.

B. Identify the centerline of the seam on the open base or seaming tape with spray paint, a piece of chalk, etc.

C. Lay out the seam tape precisely over the entire length of the seam line. Place adhesive on all of the seam tape from one end to the other. Depending on the type of adhesive you use, you may need to set aside time for vapors/gases to escape (flashing). Find and refer to the adhesive manufacturer’s instructions. The flashing time needed may depend on the temperature and humidity of the environment.

D. After adhesive has flashed, place the edges of each roll of artificial turf directly onto the adhesive/tape, making sure not to bury any turf fibers into the adhesive.

E. Add weight (i.e. sandbags) down the length of the recently placed seam, or use a heavy roller around the seam length once the adhesive has tacked up. The adhesive drying/curing time will vary with different adhesives based on climatic conditions.

F. After the adhesive has dried, clip off your turf so your installation fits just as you want.


7. INFILL INSTALLATION

A. You might also choose to sit the turf up vertically with the power broom or rigid bristle broom before spreading the infill. Do not use wire or steel bristle brooms that can damage the fiber. This keeps all of the synthetic grass fibers upright and exposed.

B. In synthetic grass applications, a drop spreader (commonly used to spread turf seed, fertilizer, lime, etc.) can be used to disperse the infill in lifts ranging from 1⁄4” to no greater than 1⁄2” depths.

C. Infill should be spread evenly and groomed to be sure a consistent infill level.

D. If the borders or edges are going to be secured, save the infill work for these spots for last (See step 9).

E. Do not pour the infill in large quantities on your turf, this can lead to over-grooming caused by trapped fibers. As you spread the infill, make one thorough sweep on the surface of your new yard and then sweep the infill within the fibers with a rigid bristle push broom or power broom. Repeat the infill spread/fiber brooming cycle until the infill is spread out such that no less than 1⁄2” – 3⁄4” of artificial turf fiber ends are exposed above the level of the infill. Repeat this process until all of the infill has been laid out and shifted in between the synthetic turf blades.

F. CAUTION: An excess of fiber exposed (not enough infill) will cause the fibers to mat or crush with heavy foot traffic. This will lead to excessive wear of the material and will void the manufacturer’s warranty.

G. There is more than just one kind of infill used on the same product. Sometimes, a combination of silica sand and granulated rubber, or silica sand and synthetic sand topdressing, may be used in layers. In either case, the silica sand is installed first, then the granulated rubber or topdressing.

H. Be sure to follow the site specifications showing the amount or depth of each infill kind.

I. A 50-to-80 ounce product, usually four pounds per square foot should be used. Heavier options may use up to five pounds per square foot. The exact amount of infill will depend on the product weight and the desired product reveal. When done, 1⁄2” to 3⁄4” of the synthetic blades must be exposed. You may choose to apply color-coated sand as the last layer of infill to better match the local geography. In general, you will use a pound per square foot of colored sand.


8. SECURE EDGES

The edges can be fastened in several different ways:

A. Landscape Nails and Spikes. Simply hammer landscape spikes, timber spikes, sod staples, etc. around the boundary of the lawn spaced every 4”-8”(especially if you are not going to use an edging or curbing). The nail heads must be lined up with the artificial turf backing to protect turf from creasing. Afterwards, more trimming might be needed.

B. Nailer Board. When laid out near a concrete or asphalt curb, a nailer board/artificial lumber can be set up (preferably in Step 2, Area Preparation) by attaching the board to the curb with concrete nails. The material can then be fastened into the top of the previously nailer board with a landscape nail. Afterwards, more edge trimming of the synthetic grass might be required.

C. Buried Edges. Cut a small trough around the border, deep enough to bury the exposed edge of the yard. Tuck the turf’s edge into the trench (additional trimming of leftover turf may be required). Nail and backfill the dug up dirt against the buried turf, and compact. The fringe can then be hidden with rock, straw, mulch, etc.

D. Contingent on your lawn and your landscape concepts, you might install edging around your new yard. Possibilities are incredibly varied and include extruded curbing, 4” x 4” timbers, natural rock, stone, plastic, and metal edging. If you aren’t going to add an edging, we recommend you hammer landscaping nails every 4” to 8” along the perimeter of your synthetic turf to keep the edges from folding up.


9. FINISH INFILL AND TOP DRESSING

A. If you had a secure edge installed, it may be required to add infill around the border. (Use the technique described in Step 7).

Get a Quote