For all the ambitious people who want to try their own installation, it is possible. Take a look at the process. It is not that technical but it is alot of work. If you are the type of person that tackles most of your home improvement projects you can do this. For first time installers it is strongly recommended that you leave the putting greens to the professionals.
The area where the synthetic turf is to be installed needs to be stripped of all ground cover. It there is natural grass, a sod cutter will be necessary to remove the grass. Rock and gravel simply need to be shoveled out. The base material will need to be at least 2 inches thick. You should plan on removing enough of the grade to accommodate for this. Some parts of the country will require as much as 6 inches of base material to accommodate for different ground and weather conditions. A curbing or hard scape border will finish off edge of your new synthetic lawn nicely. It will help keep gravel or other plant bedding out of your new turf. If you don't already have a border installed now is the time to do so. If your are in Phoenix or surrounding areas we would love to help you with a new curbing border!
Installing Base Material
Different terminology includes DG (decomposed granite), crushed stone and 1/4 minus. Areas of the country requiring deeper base material may use a larger mix for the bottom layer. If natural grass is removed but not much of the underlying earth, it is a good idea to lay a weed barrier down before the base material. Some natural grasses are very aggressive and will try to find their way up. The installation of the base material is several step process. As you are spreading the base material it may need moisture added. The base material will need to be compacted, preferably with a plate compactor. It will compact to 50% of its loose height. Compaction is necessary to prevent settling once the turf is installed. You will need to rake smooth and fill in low spots as you complete this process.
Roll Out the Turf
It is time to roll out your turf. This will require several people as the turf is very heavy. Place all your turf in the area to be installed. If you are using more than one piece of turf make sure all turf sections are running is the same direction. If you change the directions of the turf it will appear to be a different color. In some installs this is desirable. If you like the look of freshly mowed grass and the cool patterns you see at the ball park, you can cut your turf into strips and run every other strip in the opposite direction. This will give the effect of mower stripes. Plan on extensive seam work for this.
After the turf is laid down in the area to be installed you must pull out all the wrinkles. The pros use carpet kickers, but you can do the same with your feet as well as pulling it from the edges with the help of several people.
Trim the Edges
Most turfs trim just fine with a sharp utility knife. Keep plenty of blades on hand as they dull quickly. If you keep your knife out of the dirt it will stay sharper longer. A good carpet shears also works great to cut synthetic grass. Take your time on this step. Stay as close to your border as possible without excess. If you cut off too much it wont grow back and most likely will add another much unwanted seam.
Spike Down the Synthetic Grass
At a very minimum you need to spike down the entire parameter and down each side of all seams. Spikes should be spaced a few inches apart. Around the parameter, the spikes should be within the first inch of the edge. Along the seams the spikes should be back from the seam about 12 inches. If you spike to close to the seam you might have a noticeable indentation down the whole seam making it visible. You should use a 5-6 inch turf spike. If your new lawn is going to get heavy use then it is a good idea to spike the entire area with 1 spike per sq/ft.
Spread the Infill
Different types of infill include silica sand, colored sand, copper slag, crushed rubber or a blend of these. The purpose of the infill is to weigh down the turf, help support the blades of synthetic grass and to give a realistic step to the synthetic grass. The most common infill is silica sand. It is inexpensive and is one of the easiest to work into the turf. Make sure you are using the fine silica sand. It comes in various sizes measured by coarseness. The higher number of coarseness equals finer granules. 50 grit is usually the finest to be found. 30 and 40 grit is most common and works just fine. The colored sand is larger in size but blends into the grass because of the green color. This works great in the looser, lighter weight turfs. The crushed rubber add a very realistic cushion to synthetic grass. If you use your lawn this is a must. You can add a layer on top of any of the other infills, or you can use it alone for the most cushioned step. Different types of turf require different amounts of infill. We can help you with that. Plan on a average of 2 pounds of infill per sq/ft of synthetic grass. All infills can be spread easily and quickly with a drop spreader. It is possible to do it by hand but will be much harder to get a even layer.
Broom in the Infill
The infill needs to be worked to the bottom of the synthetic turf. This is done with a broom. A push broom can be used just be patient. The pros use power brooms of different styles and sizes to speed up this process. Broom the infill in against the direction of the grass. This will get the infill in the quickest and aid in fluffing up the blades of the synthetic grass. After all infill is worked into the turf broom it in several different directions. Once you are satisfied with your new install, hose it down to wash the dust left by the infill.
It is finally time to show off all your hard work!
Enjoy your new synthetic lawn you deserve it!