How to Lay Artificial Grass on Uneven Ground (Don’t)

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Turf Factory Direct How to Lay Artificial Grass On Uneven Ground Don't Lay Turf on Uneven Ground

Originally posted on January 3, 2022

If you’re asking yourself how you might lay artificial grass on some uneven ground, well, the answer is: don’t do that. If you’re struggling with landscaping a property with divots and uneven ground, turf is the answer. But first, you have to level that ground.

Why can’t I lay turf on uneven ground?

If you lay artificial grass on uneven ground with dips, holes, and bumps, it increases the possibility of potential issues. Issues that are more likely to occur as a result of laying artificial grass on unprepared surfaces include but are not limited to:

  • Lifting, slumps, and wrinkles
  • Bubbles and blisters
  • Water pooling on the surface
  • Rips and tears in the turf fibers and/or backing

Turf can’t be laid on an uneven surface because it makes it more likely for turf to bubble, slump, and tear, which is why proper installation is important. To make sure your turf lives up to its fullest potential of a long lifespan, make sure you select the right turf for the job and maintain itTurf Factory Direct has years of experience and the best turf at the best prices. We can help you find the right turf and show you how to maintain it with our helpful resources. Get in touch with us with any questions, or start browsing our products:

Once you’ve determined turf is right for you and chosen the right turf for the job, you can start preparing for installation. Here’s how to make sure that you have level enough ground for turf installation.

Turf Factory Direct How to Level Ground for Turf

Step 1: Gather Your Tools

Before you can start working on getting your ground ready for turf, you need to make sure that you have the right tools. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Sod cutter
  • Shovel 

  • Tamper 

  • Rake

  • Garden hose

  • Wheelbarrow

  • Measuring tape

  • Chalk or paint for marking measurements

  • Wood stakes for marking ground level

  • String for marking ground level

If you’re dealing with a large property or if your surface is filled with large holes and bumps that can’t be tackled with a shovel and wheelbarrow, consider renting grading equipment like a small dozer to level and compact the surface.

Step 2: Remove the Topsoil

Remove at least 3 to 4 inches of soil from the top layer. Make sure all vegetation growing within this layer is gone. This helps ensure that your artificial turf has an even surface. Utilizing a sod cutter, hoe, or shovel, cut away the grass, sod, and unwanted vegetation from the marked areas, taking care to remove large unwanted rocks or roots. 

Step 3: Grade the Surface

After you’ve removed the topsoil, you’re going to need to grade the area. Using a rake or shovel, grade the areas of application, and then lightly water them down with a garden hose. Fill any holes and level off any bumps for an even surface.

Use your plate compactor or heavy drum roller to level out the dirt, otherwise, you can just walk over it repeatedly. Keep making passes over the project area until you have ensured that your compaction is acceptable. We recommend 80-90% compaction.

Step 4: Base Application

Add material such as crushed rock, gravel, or decomposed granite to the area. Make sure the particles are under ⅜ inch for best results. You can find these rocks at a local gravel pit or rock yard. Pour 3 to 4 inches of this material into the area. 

Around 1 ton of rock base covers 100 sq ft of an artificial turf yard with a 2 inch base. You’ll need to upgrade to 2 tons of rock for a 4 inch base. 

Base Depth

Base heights may vary from climate to climate and from project to project. A 4 inch base is the standard recommended base; however, in some arid climates, the base may be as low as 2 inch.  In colder climates, a deeper base of 4 inches will most likely be needed to aid in the ground’s expansion and contraction due to freezing weather.

Level & Compact the Base

Smooth this material with a rake until it has an even appearance. Create a 2 to 4 percent slope using a ruler, bubble level, and string. The slope should lead to the curb or a drainage system if you have one installed.

Dampen the base material with a hose, then compact it with a roller compactor, vibratory plate compactor, or hand tamp. This will require several sweeps of the area. The base is ready when it has dropped about 0.3 inches from its original depth.

Turf Factory Direct Prevent Drainage Problems

Eliminate Potential Drainage Issues

Artificial turf is designed to be water permeable, so you shouldn’t have issues if your soil has good drainage. When you are putting turf on soil with poor drainage, leave gaps about every 6 inches around the outer edges to allow water to drain. If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, you might need to install a drainage system, such as PDS tiles, before installing artificial turf.

6 Reasons Why You Should Get Artificial Grass

Artificial grass has a many benefits that make it worth the effort of preparing the ground the to install it:

  1. Turf is beautiful – Well installed and maintained artificial turf looks beautiful all year long. 
  2. Turf is versatile – Artificial turf can not only replace natural grass, it can be used for a number of applications that natural grass can’t. Installing an artificial turf lawn is the solution that can remedy or mitigate some of the causes of drainage issues, while also increasing curb appeal and property value to help you sell a home fast.
  3. Turf is safe – Artificial turf is non-toxic, not a choking hazard, doesn’t get muddy and slippery when wet, and is non-abrasive and shock absorbent.
  4. Turf is low-maintenance – Artificial turf is easy to maintain, and it discourages the growth of weeds and grass insects like chiggers, fleas, and mosquitoes. No watering, mowing, fertilizing, or reseeding required, and weeds and pests are kept to a minimum. 
  5. Turf is budget-friendly – Turf lawns save water, money, and time that would be spent making your lawn attractive, without having to give up the lush greenery. Find out how much artificial turf can save you by checking out Understanding the Costs of a Natural Lawn.
  6. Turf is environmentally-friendly – It helps you reduce and prevent use of harmful chemicals like fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides that contaminate the ecosystem. You can learn more about The Water Saving Benefits of Artificial Turf and why it matters from The Importance of Water Conservation.

Get the Right Turf from Turf Factory Direct

Once you’ve finished preparing the ground, you are ready to lay your artificial turf. Turf Factory Direct has the best artificial turf in dozens of different styles, lengths, and volumes. Our expert staff is ready to help you with your next turf project, no matter how large or small it might be. Get in touch with us, or start browsing our wide array of turf products today.