Artificial lawns are increasingly popular in the UK. And when you compare them to real lawns, where you constantly need to maintain them, trim them, prevent weeds, and more, it is no secret why homeowners prefer artificial turf.

There’s one key thing homeowners should know, however: If you want all the benefits of artificial lawns, from needing little maintenance to looking immaculate for years, the artificial grass installation needs to be properly handled. The choice of infill, base, and membrane will decide whether your artificial lawn can properly withstand rain, is equipped to deal with children and pets playing on it, and can combat weed growth. In this blog post, we’ll teach you everything you need to know to get the synthetic turf of your dreams!

Guide to Synthetic Turf Sub-bases

The sub-base is the layer that goes under artificial grass. It is usually composed of crushed rocks of various types. While not visually visible, the sub-base is a very important layer that impacts the lawn’s drainage, evenness, cohesiveness, and durability.

A subpar base for fake grass will result in pooling water during rain, an uneven surface that will cause tripping, and will slowly cause wrinkles to appear and permanently damage the lawn’s aesthetics. So, it is very important to learn about the most common sub-bases, their advantages and drawbacks:

Granite Base

Crushed granite, often referred to as “decomposed” granite, is the most common sub-base for artificial lawns. It is an all-rounder choice that does the job well: It is a solid base that is resilient and durable while providing adequate drainage. If you are wondering what kind of base to use when installing artificial grass, you can’t go wrong with crushed granite. It is not without its downsides, however, the biggest being that it doesn’t make for the best weed barrier. So, it is usually coupled with a weed membrane during installation.

Gravel Base

Gravel is another common sub-base for artificial grass. When compared to crushed granite, gravel is larger, more durable, and provides better drainage. However, it also comes with significant downsides: It is prone to sinking, resulting in uneven and unappealing artificial turf.

Aggregate Base for Artificial Grass

An aggregate base, as its name suggests, is composed of an aggregate of crushed rocks, asphalt, and concrete. It can’t be directly compared to gravel and granite since the quality and characteristics of the aggregate wildly differ depending on its composition. Aggregate bases commonly installed in artificial lawns are largely propriety brews whose inventors purport various benefits, most of which can’t be independently verified.

granite dust for bedding under artificial grass

Guide to Artificial Turf Infills

Not only what goes under artificial grass but what goes over it also matters. Infills are various materials, largely made from silica, that go between the artificial fibres of fake grass, and they serve multiple purposes: infills make the turf look more natural, provide stability, and prevent it from wrinkling and moving. The choice of infill for artificial grass is crucial, and in this section, we’ll guide you through the most common infills.

Silica Sand

Silica sand, also known as quartz sand, is the most common type of artificial turf infill due to its cost and versatility. it stabilises the artificial lawn, prevents it from wrinkling and rippling, and has anti-weed properties. Coupled with its affordability, it is a favourite among homeowners. It has several downsides: it makes cleaning the artificial turf harder, it might trap bad odours, and it can be messy, especially if you have pets and kids regularly running around and playing on the lawn.

Coated Sand

Sand coated with a synthetic polymer layer is also popular as an infill for fake grass. It was largely developed as a way to address the downsides of silica sand. It doesn’t trap bad odours, it is easy to clean, and it is more stable. It hasn’t replaced silica sand since it is substantially more expensive, and many of the brands offering coated sand infills are small, local, and untested.

Crumb Rubber

crushed rubber recycled primarily from tyres is turned into crumb rubber and has been used as an infill in artificial grass lawns for decades. Prized for its durability and softness, which provides a cushion when stepping on, moving through, or playing in an artificial lawn, crumb rubber is the infill of choice in stadiums and sports arenas. It is rarely used in households.

Proprietary Infills

Though mostly silica-based, there are many hybrid infills for artificial grass, largely with proprietary compositions that are not entirely public. These infills have been largely designed to address the shortcomings of pure silica sand, with varying degrees of success. Since the quality of proprietary infills is so disparate, it largely depends on the client to evaluate their quality.

Guide to Artificial Lawn Backing Systems and Landscaping Fabrics

The sub-base and the infill are the two most important layers of an artificial lawn, but they’re not the only ones that matter. There are multiple other layers that you might or might not need to understand and install:

Need for a Weed Membrane

Though an artificial grass lawn is far more resistant to weeds than natural ones, it is not entirely weed-free, especially if certain infills and sub-bases are used, which are susceptible to and facilitate weed growth. This is why installing a weed membrane is recommended. Geotextiles that permit air and water while blocking weed growth, the membranes are generally installed below the sub-base layer. They serve additional functions like improving drainage and preventing sinking.

Importance of a Quality Artificial Grass Backing System

The backing system refers to the synthetic fibre that holds the strands of artificial grass together. The backing system influences the quality of the drainage system, the durability of the artificial grass, and the ability of the lawn to handle various infills.

Many homeowners pay attention to the quality and realism of the grass, but they don’t check how well they’re all held together with a backing system, which is quite the oversight. At Timberstore, we recognize how important is the backing system, so not only do we provide excellent artificial grass in Buckinghamshire, but we make sure they’re fitted with a durable and reliable backing system!