As an interior decorator, I really like designing homes from the inside. There’s really nothing like moving in an indoor environment that’s not only cozy and organized but well constructed too, right?
But we all know that we can’t stay indoors all the time. In fact, it would be good for us to get out and spend time in fresh air when the weather allows it. And if you’re a nature lover like me, the outdoor environment is just more relaxing than an indoor environment.
Whenever I renovate a house, I make it a point that the backyard always looks good and relaxing. So this time around, I am going to let you in on a cool trick on how to transform a boring backyard into something cool and relaxing so that you and your family will enjoy the time you spend outdoors.
Green Green Grass
I always say that green is a relaxing color whether indoors or outdoors. When this color is used to decorate the outdoor environment, it will blend in really well with nature.
The best way to introduce green in landscaping your backyard is through the use of trees and grass. I am sure you agree with me on that, but I am not so sure if you are up to the task of maintaining these wonders of nature, especially the grass. When left unmaintained, grass can really grow uncontrollably and make your backyard look like a mess.
But I have the solution – artificial grass!
I have used synthetic grass – Astroturf, in particular, and the results are always marvelous. Not only will the grassy areas look good, they actually look real! Yeah, honestly – that’s why I use them in landscaping all the time.
Although you can hire professional installers of Astroturf, you can also do the task on your own (but preferably with a buddy, of course). Well, you know me – I have a team of friends who are into DIY so we always tackle on all these things by ourselves. In our case, it really helps in minimizing the costs when we are house flipping.
Yes, there’s hard work involved in the installation of artificial grass, I won’t deny that. But if you do it right and pay attention to detail while you’re installing Astroturf, the whole project will end up professional-looking and your backyard simply amazing.
Take note, artificial grass fibers are basically maintenance free because they won’t grow uncontrollably. An of course, you don’t need to water the lawn to keep the grass green too. How cool is that?
Materials You Need
Here are the basic materials that you need for installing Astroturf:
- Astroturf Roll
- Crushed Rock or Gravel
- Dry Sand
- Seam Tape
- Adhesive or Glue
- Fasteners (U-Pins)
- Cutter or Knife
- Hard-Bristled Brush
- Mini Tractor (optional)
- Mini Backhoe (optional)
Measure and Plan and Measure Again
Ok, so that first thing that you need to do is to buy the type of artificial grass that you want. There are a lot of choices, actually, and you can choose the specific shade of green, length of grass and even the texture of the materials want.
But wait. Before going out to buy Astroturf, make sure that you measure the area where you intend to set up the grass area first. Grassy areas would look good anywhere, that’s true, but you still need to come up with a plan. So based on your family’s activities and preferences, think long and hard how you would want to arrange this.
Remember, your goal is to set up a relaxing haven outdoors, so it should be very accessible to the house. And since this will also add beauty to enhance your home, placing it somewhere very visible would be a good idea too.
Preparing the Area and Tearing Out the Old Backyard
So, it’s time to get rid of that old boring backyard to transform it into something new and more exciting. The preparation part is actually the busiest part of this whole project.
If there are existing grassy areas, you need to remove these. Also, the top surfaces need to be removed too. I recommend using a sod cutter for the first part of the project because this machine can remove unwanted grass and weeds while also preparing for the easy removal of top soil.
Run the sod cutter to create a crisscross pattern on the entire area that you’re working on. This pattern will make it really easy to remove the top soil from the area.
Now remove 2 to 6 inches of the top soil to prepare the area for the installation of artificial grass. If it’s just a small area, you can just use a shovel and wheelbarrow to tear out the upper portion of your current yard.
For a really large project, like in some of the home renovation jobs that we do, I would recommend using a mini tractor and a mini backhoe to speed up the procedure. These can be rented and the rental fee is minimal while speeding up the process.
Working on the Base Construction
When digging and tearing up the upper soil, try to achieve an even base as much as possible. You then need gravel to fill up the whole area before you can install the artificial grass.
When hauling and dumping gravel, start the work at the farthest point of your yard and work your way back until the entire area is filled. We always have one person raking the gravel to even up the surface while the other guys are filling up the area.
To make sure that the gravel is compacted properly, hose the whole area while continuing to even up the surface. I recommend using a plate compactor for this purpose. And again, this can be rented. So just run the unit around the area that you’re working on, making sure that nothing is missed.
A plate tamper also works great because hard-to-reach areas can be worked on manually with this device. I also find a piece of wood (2 x 4) useful for compacting soil around the base of trees. Just hit the piece of wood with a hammer when you see uneven surfaces around trees.
Note that the compacting part is really important for drainage and proper installation of artificial grass. So before continuing with the next step, go over the entire area one more time to look for imperfections. And if you find areas that need to be filled up or areas that need to be flattened, go back to these portions first before proceeding with the rest of the work.
Cutting the Astroturf for Installation
Good news! The hard part is over and you can now install artificial grass in your yard. If you need to use several pieces of Astroturf, mark the areas where these should be positioned. This will allow you to work in an organized matter and produce professional results as well.
Find an area where you can roll out the Astroturf on an even surface. The street in your neighborhood is a good choice if you don’t have sufficient space in your garage.
Measure and put marks at both ends of the Astroturf to make sure that the correct measurement is achieved. Then draw a straight line between the two marks before cutting it.
The person who cuts the Astroturf should have really steady hands. In our team, the cutting part is always done my brother, J or my fiancé, the Australian Stud Muffin. Aside from steady hands you also need a very sharp cutter like a knife to do this job well.
Ok, once the sheet is cut, roll the Astroturf again to make it easier to carry back into your yard. Now it’s time to install it!
Installing Artificial Grass in Your Backyard
The installation part of artificial grass is really easy if there aren’t any objects inside the area that you’re working on. But if there are trees, sidewalks and other structures that are there in the area, you will need to work around these objects to make the grass look natural.
Unroll the Astroturf and lay this flat on the area, just like you’re positioning a carpet. You then need to cut around objects.
Putting relief cuts will make the installation process fast and efficient. Just fold the excess parts inward and cut at the back until the sheet is positioned flat on the surface. It would help to have the relief cuts close together as this will ensure perfect fitting around objects and other structures in the area.
You then need to come back and cut the flaps to finish the job. Yes, if you’re installing just 1 piece of Astroturf in your backyard, you’re through for the day!
Seaming Astroturf Together
If you’re installing artificial grass on a large area, you will need to install 2 or more pieces together. As you would want this to look natural, there should be no traces of joints on the grass.
When joining 2 pieces of Astroturf together, position the next piece really close to the existing piece. Cut a seam tape and position this under the 2 pieces of Astroturf as this will serve as the joining tape for the 2 sheets.
The seam tape needs to be fastened to the ground so that it can hold the grass securely in place. You can either use nails or fasteners (U-Pins) to accomplish this task. Then apply adhesive evenly on the surface of the seam tape before proceeding with the next steps.
Once the seam tape is ready, you can start putting together the pieces of Astroturf from one end of the area. You will need assistants on this delicate part of the project because they need to hold onto the sheets as you go along connecting the pieces together.
As you join the edges together, apply pressure on the joined parts, making sure that they are sticking to the seam tape successfully. Do these procedures until you reach the end of the sheets and have joined the entire sheets together.
One final point – you still need to secure the sheets by installing spikes every few inches on the joined parts. The glue and the spikes will really hold the Astroturf in place securely.
Infilling and Brooming – the Final Touches
At this point, the Astroturf is already installed properly but it will still look a bit unnatural. Just a little more work needs to be done and the whole place will look like natural grass.
Using a brush with hard bristles, brush the fibers up briskly, so that sand can drop in when you apply it. Just so you know, the process of adding sand to the installation procedure will allow the grass fibers to stand up and look more natural.
Use a flat shovel to sprinkle or shower sand on the entire area. Make it a point that the sand particles are spread evenly all over the place.
As the final procedure, brush the area again so as to ensure that the sand can settle down underneath the grassy fibers evenly. If you notice some bumpy areas, you can flatten these by brushing hard on the surface until the area flattens. You can also let little imperfections remain as long as the entire project looks natural.
That’s it… It’s Done… You Have Maintenance-Free Grass!
So there you have it – an amazing backyard with artificial grass (but no one will know it). Do this right from the start, making sure that there are no creases and that everything is fastened and secured properly – and you will be able to create a natural looking grassy area in your backyard.
Now, just accessorize the place as you want. You can put garden furniture, fountain, pond, lighting, whatever. You can build your dream backyard by following the simple steps I told you about in installing artificial grass.
Let me know how you love your new backyard, ok?