Artificial turfs are everywhere in Miami these days. You must have seen them in stadiums and wondered what they are made of and how they are installed. They look so much like natural grass that you wouldn’t even know it is artificial. Made of synthetic fibers, they are tough, resilient and do not become damaged easily, which make them ideal for areas with heavy traffic,
The main reasons behind the popularity of artificial turfs are low maintenance and the fact that they can be installed almost anywhere. They do not require irrigation, fertilizers and mowing. They do not wither and die during an extended drought. They can be placed in areas that get the full brunt of the day’s sun as well as in areas that get no sunlight at all. They are easy to install, look good and require very little maintenance. This is why they are a popular residential option of landscaping in Miami.
Artificial turf is not a new invention. It has been around for the last half a century. The first artificial turf to catch the attention of the public was the one installed at the Houston Astrodome in the 1960s. Called AstroTurf, it was developed by Mansanto. Today’s artificial turf, which are third generation artificial turfs, have a mixture of sand and recycled rubber in the infills.
How to install artificial turf:
Installing an artificial turf doesn’t require much expertise, but may require some heavy work depending on the size of your lawn. If your lawn is large, you may want to recruit a few helpers. As long as you have a basic idea, your helpers do not need to be experts. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to install an artificial turf at home:
1. Remove the existing grass and plants:
In order to ensure proper installation of the artificial turf, you have to prepare the lawn first. Remove all the existing grass and plants so that they will not create an uneven surface. Excavate the soil 3 to 4 inches deep to make room for the new turf. If the soil is soaked with rainwater, leave it to dry for a few days. After digging, compact the soil with a hand tamp or by walking over it.
2. Provide proper drainage:
It is very important for artificial turf to have proper drainage as it should be permeable to water. Otherwise, rainwater will collect on it and become a breeding ground for algae and microorganisms. If the lawn has poorly-draining soil or an impermeable surface, then install a drainage system.
3. Install a waterproof border:
In order to prevent the artificial turf from slumping or separating over time, you should install a waterproof border along the perimeter of the lawn. Make sure that the border is below the grass level so that it will not obstruct the drainage.
4. Install and grade the base:
Fill the excavated area (described in step 1) with a mixture of fine crushed rock, gravel or decomposed granite. If you are installing the artificial turf over a hard surface, such as concrete, then you should install a rubber shock pad or self-leveling compound instead. Once you are done, smooth out the base using a landscaping rake. Using a bubble level, string and ruler, grade the base making sure that the surface has a slope of 2 – 3% towards the drainage system.
5. Compact the base to 90% of its thickness:
Put some water in the base and compact it using a hand tamp, roller compactor or vibratory plate compactor. The thickness of the base should be reduced to 90% or less of its depth so as to provide enough space for the artificial turf. You can rent the tools from tool rental services instead of purchasing them to save money.
6. Unroll the artificial turf:
Once the base is dry, you will be ready to install the artificial turf. Unroll it near the installation area and leave it there for a few hours to allow it to recover its shape. Wait until the base is smooth and firm and the artificial turf is back in its shape.
7. Place the turf over the base:
Now gently place each strip of the artificial turf over the base. Do not drag the turf over the base as doing so may disturb the smoothness of the surface. Make sure that all the strips have their fake grass blades bent in one direction. Otherwise, the grass will look unnatural.
8. Cut the edges of the turf where necessary:
Wherever necessary, cut the edge of the turf to make it fit in with the shape of the base. You can use a carpet cutter or a utility knife for the purpose. When cutting long strips, draw a line with a marker to ensure a straight line.
9. Seam or fasten the strips of the turf:
Seam or fasten the strips of the turf to make them look like one big turf. One way to do this is to line up the adjacent strips, folding back their edges, laying seaming material on the exposed base and covering the material with an adhesive. After that, fold the strips back on top of the seaming material and wait until it dries. You may also use a seaming tape to fasten the adjacent strips together.
9. Fasten the artificial turf around the perimeter:
Fasten the artificial turf around the perimeter using landscaping anchor pins or galvanized stakes 4 – 6 inches long. Hammer the pins or stakes flat into the ground.
10. Add infill or ballast:
Once the artificial turf dries up completely, add infill or ballast materials to keep the bristles standing and also to provide cushioning for physical activities. You may use washed silica sand, black crumb rubber or copper slag as the infill material. Water the lawn to help the infill settle.
Once installed, an artificial turf doesn’t require as much maintenance as a natural turf, but you have to clean it regularly so it continually looks new. You can brush it and occasionally wash it with soapy water if you like. Proper care and maintenance is very important if you want it to maintain its looks and last long.
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