Installing artificial turf can be simple really if you take the right steps to prepare. This article is designed to help the consumer or general contractor that wants to save money by doing the job themselves.
The first step is proper measurement of the area. Turf comes in 15 foot rolls and is ordered by the linear foot. 1 linear foot is equal, therefore, to 15 square feet. If you measure an area of 140 square feet, you will need, at minimum, 10 linear feet. Ordering any less will net you less than the required amount. In addition, you need to determine a proper seaming plan. If you have a yard that is 100 feet across and 20 feet wide you will need more than 2000 square feet of turf. If your seams will run up and down you will have to have 7 sections of turf 15 feet wide by 20 feet long, that is, 2,100 square feet total. If you wanted only one seam running horizontally, you would need to order two lengths of turf 15 feet wide and 100 feet long, that is, 3,000 square feet total. Your seaming plan and your area that needs to be covered are of vital importance.
When you excavate the yard, you need to do so to a depth of 4″. Planning on where you are going to dump this material is important. You can’t just dump it in the garbage. There is a cost for dumping as well so check with your local dumpsite to plan on adding this fee to your list of expenditures.
So the earth has been excavated. You need to grade it smooth before you put base down. Once it is graded smooth, you can place gopher wire if needed. If you don’t have gophers you can add the base. Typically, you need one ton of base for every 100 square feet of turf installed. Using the example above, then, you would need 20 tons of base. We suggest using either class II road base or decomposed granite. Once the base is installed it must be compacted and graded smooth.
If you don’t have pets, lay down a water permeable weed barrier on top of the base and secure the weed barrier with sod staples or galvanized nails. If you have pets, a weed barrier is not recommended as it will retain the smell of animal waste.
Once the weed barrier is in place you can roll out your artificial turf and cut it to fit. Never cut turf on top of another piece of turf for obvious reasons. Also, measure twice and cut once. The worst thing you can do is waste a large length of turf because you cut it incorrectly.
Once the turf is rolled out, you can secure it down with sod staples or galvanized nails every three inches around the perimeter and seams. You don’t have to use staples throughout the entire yard.
Finally, you will lay out the infill. Most do-it-yourselfers use silica sand as it is readily available. Plan on buying 1.5 to 3 pounds of silica sand per square foot. Spread the sand out with a rolling fertilizer spreader and then rake the turf to allow your infill to settle. You can use a broom to rake the turf upright to make it look perfect thereafter.