Avoid basic errors to ensure a smooth artificial surface installation

As long as you have at least a modicum of DIY competence and are prepared to follow instructions carefully and work methodically, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do a good job of installing your artificial grass yourself.

That said, basic mistakes are easy to make and can potentially spoil the look of your new grass and affect its long-term durability and effectiveness.

Some basic errors to avoid:

Choosing the wrong type of artificial grass

A basic mistake before you even get started is choosing the wrong grass for your situation.

Suppliers offer artificial grass in many different styles and shades of green, so it’s vital to choose carefully rather than make a hurried decision based on a few photos.

Ensure you request free samples so you can physically examine the surface; try laying it on the area you’ll be surfacing and see what it looks like in terms of finish and colour shade.

Not ordering enough supplies

Along with ordering the grass, you’ll need supplies of items and equipment to complete the installation. Some, such as aggregates for the sub base, are obvious while others – including having plenty of blades for the knife used to cut rolls of fake grass to size – maybe less so.

You’ll need several sharp blades to cut the rolls effectively; it would be frustrating to end up with a blunt blade with more cutting to do.

Consider items you may need to hire such as a vibrating plate and ensure your local tool hire people have one available during the time you need it.

Poor preparation of the base

Before you start laying the grass, don’t skimp on preparing the ground it’ll lie on.

You need a completely level surface with good drainage to enable your new artificial surface to look good and perform well over several years. So, do whatever it takes including:

Removing the present base layer properly – whether existing turf, soil or combination of both; don’t even think of simply laying fake grass over existing grass or earth.

A minimum of 3 inches below the height of the new lawn should be removed – make that another inch if you’ve experienced poor drainage.

Deal with ‘soft spots’ – a sunken area of existing grass or earth could indicate a soft spot; left untreated it could cause areas of your new surface to sink. Dig them out and fill with sub-base aggregates.

Level sub base and laying course – when putting in the sub base and laying course, ensure they’re both properly compacted so they’re level and stay together – you may need to hire a vibrating plate compactor to achieve this.

Use correct laying course material – the laying course is the layer that the grass sits directly on top of; it should ideally be either granite or limestone dust rather than sharp sand which is prone to shifting and washing away over time.

Poor weed protection

An advantage of artificial grass is the reduction in maintenance including weed control, but this will only happen if proper provisions are put in place in the form of at least one weed membrane.

A weed membrane should be fitted on top of the sub layer, and ideally a second one should go on top of the laying course directly under the grass itself.

Inadequate preparation of grass before installing

This is all about taking time and not rushing things – don’t forget the following:

Grass acclimatisation – bearing in mind the grass has been stored rolled up for a while, it needs to be unrolled and left flat for at least 24 hours prior to actual fitting.

Minor kinks and ripples will naturally disappear making the grass easier to install.

Ensure pile is facing the same way – a basic error but easily done if there’s haste to get the job finished. Like a carpet, artificial grass has a pile where the fibres lean in a certain direction.

If two rolls of fake grass are joined with their respective piles facing opposite directions to each, they’ll appear different shades of green and the join will be more apparent.

Bad joins

If, as is likely, you’ll need to join rolls of fake grass together to cover the area then neat and strong joins are obviously vital.

Errors to avoid:

Cutting properly – there’s a strip of membrane attached to the edge of the roll (known as ‘selvedge’) that requires removal before attaching two sections of grass together.

Also, count three stitches of grass in from the edge and cut close to the fourth one.

Poor joint securing – use proper joining tape and adhesive specific to artificial grass installation.

When using the tape, ensure both sections of grass can fit on it and the tape is the right way up for the adhesive to bond; joining tape is rougher on one side than the other – the rough side should face uppermost for the adhesive to bond properly.

Don’t overdo adhesive use or it’ll ooze through onto the grass. Use a trowel ideally and spread around 2mm of it to the whole width of tape.

Take your time

Proper planning will pay off: you’ll have all the items and materials you need on hand to undertake your artificial grass installation, and you’ll know what work is required especially in preparing the ground for the fake grass.


Some basic errors made when installing artificial grass on a DIY basis and how to avoid them; initial preparation especially of the base the grass will sit on.