Top 5 – Artificial Lawn Installation Mistakes

Evergreens UK has been in the industry for over 30 years, and in this time we have seen the industry change to the point where it is unrecognizable to what it was back when we started. Most of the changes have been for the good, with new markets opening, interesting new yarn profiles that have enabled products to look highly natural with high resilience properties without the harsh feel of older products.

As with all products trying to decide which is the best value or the best quality can be tough, along with who’s going to install it. Artificial Grass is a great product to install, it is simple to install, but we have the pictures to prove what can go wrong when an inexperienced installer decides to have a go without first looking at the installation guide.

If at this point you’re thinking can I install this DIY myself, then the answer would be yes. As with most things, the hard bit is the preparation with the grass being the simple bit so long as you read our fitting instructions and watch our fitting videos paying close attention on the ‘how to join’ artificial grass video as this is key to a perfect installation

Poor artificial grass install

# 1 Groundwork

Not Getting the groundwork correct is only going to result in one thing…. a poor installation. The key to getting this right is to take a good look at the area to be covered in the artificial turf and confirm a few things before starting work.

Poor Ground Work
  • The perfect base is MOT1 granite stone compacted to the roughly to a contoured shape of the lawn and finished off with 6mm – dust granite stone which once wet and compacted, provides a smooth firm base for applying the weed membrane followed by the artificial grass.

  • Does the area drain freely? If not, then a drainage pit may have to be included, this is simple enough and easily done whilst doing the ground work. The last thing you will want is a constantly damp artificial lawn which will only encourage moss.

  • Do you have a method to hide the edge of the artificial grass? This could be slabs, decking or gravel board separating a planting border.

  • Do you have any obstructions that may need modifying like a drain cover for example? In itself this is not a problem as the ground work can be contoured to match the required height.

  • Sunken Groundwork
  • Moles, Rats and Knotweed – this sounds like a gardening nightmare TV show, but to ensure you don’t have problems with your new artificial lawn any history of moles digging in the garden or rat burrowing causing the lawn to sink will need to be resolved before work starts. It can be achieved in various ways including installing a barrier around the lawn perimeter. Japanese Knotweed is a serious problem and using equipment on a lawn with Knotweed can cross contaminate the next lawn it is used on. A useful read on Knotweed can be found in this Telegraph article.

# 2 Joins

One of the most common mistakes is not getting joins perfect. Joining artificial grass is no black art it just requires patience and know-how which you can get from our ‘How to install artificial grass’ guide. Join mistakes can be broken down into three main groups while joining artificial grass.

  • Adhesive – Using too much adhesive on the joining tape or too much near the join gap. This can cause the adhesive to ooze out when pressing down each section. It can be cleaned if a small quantity has leaked out. Using a brush cleaner on a clean white rag will remove the adhesive. If the adhesive is not removed sand and dirt will stick to it and show up after the installation is complete.

  • Adhesive on join
  • Use Salvage as Join Tape – If you join the grass using the black salvage edge of the roll it will only guarantee a poor join. The salvage is not designed to be used as a joining method. If you look closely you will see the latex backing that covers the back of the artificial grass tufts but does not extend over the salvage.

    This can be an issue because as it goes through the backing plant it shrinks at a greater rate than the backed grass which in turn can hold ripples along the side of the artificial grass. Once this salvage is removed the grass drops flat giving a fault free surface. Also using the edge salvage means the tufts have not been cut back to provide a new clean edge for a perfect join.

  • Adhesive on salvage
  • Clean Edges – Not cutting back join edges is tempting if the roll has no salvage. The salvage is left on to protect the ends of the roll so has to be removed to expose a clean edge for joining. Just as important as removing salvage, is removing some tufts if the roll has no salvage.

    This is due to the ends of the rolls being slightly damaged during shipping and crushed when wrapped this is normal but requires the edge to be cut back. The procedure is simple and detailed in our fitting videos but simply means rolling the grass out in position and folding along the join, and counting in 3-4 tufts and cutting along the gap between the rows 4. Doing this on both sides will give a clean, perfect join, and if it’s not 100% then take a couple more off and try again. (See Below.)

  • Cutting tufts from roll
    Tufts cut from roll

#3 Folding and Fixing Over Timber Edges

Folding and fixing artificial grass to a timber frame is a common mistake for DIY installers and even professionals. Fixing to a timber frame can cause many problems for your new lawn, the most serious being groundwork settling while the frame staying at the original height. Over time the groundwork inside the timber frame will settle causing ripples along the edges and in worst cases cause the grass to rip along the timber edges, along with being a trip hazard.

Other reasons for not fixing over timber battens are more for aesthetic reasons, for example…

  • Folding the artificial grass over the timber will open the pile leaving an ugly edge.

  • Timber framed artificial lawns are restricted to being square and flat as it’s difficult to curve or follow contours of the garden.

  • Artificial grass nailed to the upright of timber edging looks very unnatural.

#4 Not Sand Infilling

This over the years has been one question up for discussion many times. The simple answer is almost all artificial lawns require sand infill. The main reason for not using sand is to cut costs of installation along with installing time. See our page dedicated to artificial grass sand infill.

Benefits Of Sand Infill
  • The sand acts as a stabilizing agent holding the grass in place to allow it follow the contours of your garden lawn.

  • It keeps the artificial grass lawn cool during the very not summer months and stops the expansion of the grass in the hottest of months.

  • With a sand infill to protect the grass from sharp object, Dogs claws, vandalism, play equipment feet.

  • Sand is a natural fire retardant, not that our artificial grass is flammable. Our range has been tested to BS4790 the same test for house and office carpets. But sand will help reduce damage from garden accidents. But do remember artificial grass is plastic and will melt in extreme temperatures or open flames, so we recommend informing your home insurance provider.

#5 Choosing the Right Grass

This mistake occurs before you have even stepped into the garden. When choosing which grass don’t simply hold the samples in your hand making your choice. We have even made this mistake looking at new products, holding the sample in our hands, and it felt great, it looked amazing but when you see it in a garden…. Oh, that’s a bit bright!

The only way to decide which grass will look perfect is to lay each sample on your current lawn, stand back even look out the bedroom window see which blends into the real grass. What you might be surprised to find is that the grass you dismissed as too bright or too dark might just be the perfect match. View our range of premium artificial grass lawn products.


Other Useful Information

It’s not all bad news… we have a network of installers across the UK trained to install artificial grass to the highest standard with the backup of a national company but with a local service. If you are planning to install yourself feel free to call our technical department with any questions.

Check References before accepting any quotation, get recent references and be sure to actually contact them to ask about their experience. Don’t always assume the references they give you will always say good things. You may be surprised at what you can learn.

Get a Free Site Inspection

Have your potential artificial grass installer come in and inspect the space, making sure they take account with drainage of the lawn, garden access, lawn edges and any obstructions. Always ask for an itemized quote for all steps of the installation see our artificial lawn quote example here. This way you know that the day of the installation you won’t end with a nasty surprise.