child and dog relaxing on artificial grass

How to Install Artificial Grass

Replacing real grass with artificial grass is a great way to be water-wise and save hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year in watering costs. At Southwest Boulder & Stone, we want to help you with your synthetic grass installation, and we carry a variety of products so you DIYers will have everything you need to complete your project. Throughout this guide, look for corresponding product numbers so you know exactly what is needed when visiting your local Southwest Boulder & Stone superstore.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Drain Rock

Having proper drainage is the single most important step in artificial grass installation. Drain rock is crushed rock or gravel that allows water to pass through easily. Southwest Boulder recommends a ¾” crushed rock for most applications.

Crushed Rock ¾”, Construction Grade

Decomposed Granite (DG) or Class II Base Rock

Southwest Boulder & Stone carries a large selection of Decomposed Granites (or DGs) to choose from. One of our most popular choices for artificial grass installation is our Desert Gold Decomposed Granite. You can buy DG by the weight, or for smaller jobs just grab a ½ cubic foot bag or two. Our Class II Base Rock is another great choice, designed to compact tightly. If you don’t know how much material you need, bring in your measurements and we will help you determine exactly what is needed.

Desert Gold DG, sold by weight or 1/2CF bag.

Class II Base, sold by weight or 1/2CF bag.

Weed Barrier Fabric

Weed barrier fabric, sometimes called landscape fabric, comes in either a (3’x50′) roll or a (6’x300′) roll. We offer 8yr and 20yr products. Some projects do not need this layer, but if the soil beneath your artificial grass is “alive” and weeds were wildly growing prior to installation, protect your investment with this inexpensive barrier.

3’x50′ 20yr Weed Barrier Fabric

6’x300′ 20yr Weed Barrier Fabric

Artificial Grass

Southwest Boulder & Stone cares about the environment and we are proud to contribute to the greening of our planet earth while being water wise. We carry lead-free artificial grass products that are safe for both people and animals, ideal for residential and commercial landscapes, playgrounds and sports fields. Our artificial grass has passed vigorous tests and far exceeds government standards. More than 20 available products range from 40oz to 102oz (face weight) with variable color/share options. We provide a 10 year warranty (turf only) with a 20 to 25 year projected life under normal use. Contact us if you’d like help deciding which type of artificial grass is right for your project.

Green Infill Sand

For longer turf grass, use a larger grain size for your infill, such as our Green Infill #16. Smaller grain sizes, like Green Infill #30, are perfect for putting greens or any other project that uses very short turf. Both of these green infills meet Synthetic Turf Council standards.

Green Infill #16

50lb bag Green Infill #30


Additional Items:

  • Landscaping Jute Staples, SKU 90787
  • Plastic Bender Board, 20ft rolls, SKU 91678
  • 60D Bright 6″ Common Nails, SKU 90045
  • Turf Tape 6″x75′ roll, SKU TURF-JS50
  • Zeolite (14×40) Fill, SKU 52290BG
Grading soil for artificial grass installation

Getting Ready to Install Artificial Grass: Site Base Preparation

  1. Remove 3-4 inches of existing dirt. Cap and/or remove any sprinklers. Be sure to set a rough grade for drainage.
  2. Lay 2 – 2.5 inches of drain rock, hose down, then using a vibrating plate compactor or a small hand compactor thoroughly until ground seems fully compacted. *Rent/buy a compactor at your local hardware store.
  3. Lay 1 – 1.5 inches of either Class II Road Base or DG.
  4. Hose down and then thoroughly use the compactor until ground seems fully compacted.
  5. Optional: Lay the weed barrier fabric over road base or decomposed granite.
  6. Make sure base surface is as level and as smooth as possible.
  7. Create a slight grade for optimal drainage.
Roll of artificial grass in yard

Installing Your Artificial Grass

Caution: Artificial grass should be rolled out under the sun at least 1-2 hours before installation. This will allow the turf to acclimate and make it easier to work with.

  1. Lay out artificial grass onto base and position where needed. Using a carpet knife/razor knife, cut off excess turf on the backside, 3 stitches in from the sides. Cut turf (on backside) to fit area.
  2. Fasten one end with 60D Bright Common nails spaced 3-4 inches apart along the edges. Stretch turf and fasten with nails as you move across to the opposite end. Place a nail every 12-24 inches throughout the center and every 3-4 inches along the perimeter.
  3. Turf tape should be used to secure seams. Apply tape lengthwise to the bottom side of turf, lining up the turf edges with the orange lines on the seaming tape. Activate the glue on the turf tape. Fasten together seams by using Jute Staples spaced 4 inches apart along the seam. Do not countersink staples. Note: Be sure the seams are taut and precise, the grain of the turf is all facing in the same direction, and the space at the seam is the same as the stitching gauge.
  4. After turf is installed, power broom before applying infill. Apply infill onto turf using a drop spreader. Note: Never use regular masonry sand for infill.
  5. Hand or power broom again so that the blades are standing straight up. Use carpet scissors to trim off the excess turf blades. Clean the surrounding area with a blower or a broom.
Artificial grass along concrete pathway

Tips for Making Your Artificial Grass Install Look Professional

  • Prior to installation, lay artificial grass out under the sun for at least 1-2 hours to allow turf to acclimate. This will make the backing less stiff and the turf easier to go over with a broom.
  • Always stretch and install turf taut (a carpet stretcher can help with this).
  • One yard of base materials will cover 80 square feet at 4 inches depth.
  • Do not overlap seams.
  • Never drive nails into base too far because this will create a noticeable dip.
  • Always hand or power broom turf prior to filling.
  • Always run grain of turf in the same direction.
  • Use a 2×4 (straight line installation) or 1×2 (curve line installation) of synthetic or pressure treated wood bender board around the perimeter of turf area to frame and protect the turf from soil and debris.
  • Use only manufacturer recommended infill materials. Infill amount will vary. A 50lb bag of infill will typically cover 30 square feet of turf.
Snow on artificial grass in backyard

Other Things You Should Know about Artificial Grass

Weather Considerations

Our artificial grass gets installed in the mountains, where rain and snow drain very well with no flooding issues. Wind is not a worry if the installation has been done properly. While the grass can get quite warm to the touch at midday in hot weather, the grass does not retain heat in the shade or darkness like rock does. The artificial turf can easily take even the hottest direct sunlight without damage, providing there isn’t any strong reflection or sun magnification.

Combatting Pet Odor

The best solution for getting rid of pet smells on your artificial grass is to use ZeoLite. It works as a molecular sieve creating a cation exchange; a process which occurs when two or more positively charged compounds or elements exchange places on a negatively charged host. This exchange process removes ammonia in pet waste. Contact us for more information on ZeoLite or to add a few bags to your next order.

Sunlight reflection on artificial grass

Reflection of sunlight on Artificial Grass:

Beware of highly reflective windows on the south or west side of your home. In certain conditions, sunlight hitting these windows can create a “magnifying glass effect” that acts like a laser and will melt your artificial grass. Coating on the outside of the windows will prevent this.

Patio furniture on artificial grass in backyard

Seem like a lot of work?

It is! But the hard work of installing artificial grass will pay off. You’ll be left with an artificial lawn that will look great, have zero watering costs and require very little maintenance for years to come. However, if you think you could use some help with your project, don’t hesitate to ask us when you call or visit your local Southwest Boulder & Stone location. We work with some of the best contractors in the business, and we’d be happy to recommend one in your area. Best of luck in your synthetic grass project!