So you’ve made the decision to install artificial turf due to one or more of its many benefits, whether it’s because you’re looking for something low-maintenance, live in a place where it pays to be drought-resistant, or just like the look of a nice, green lawn.
Now comes the workaround figuring out what you’ll need for your artificial turf project, and all successful projects start with a good base.
The base for artificial turf is almost as important as the turf itself you choose for your project. If installed properly, it will allow for proper drainage and a solid foundation for decades of use.
Before we dive into the options, let’s define what the base for turf is and why it’s important.
Suppose you’re eyeing a traditional installation to replace existing landscaping. In that case, the base material for artificial turf goes on top of your existing dirt, serving as a barrier between your turf and the dirt underneath.
Without an appropriate base, you could see big problems with your artificial turf: pooling water due to a lack of drainage, and a warped, uneven turf surface, among other things. You want your artificial turf to be functional, certainly, but to look good as well.
With those details out of the way, let’s look at common options for your base for artificial turf, particularly if you’re seeking residential artificial turf. One thing to note as you consider your options more generally is that the Association of Synthetic Grass Installers recommends a ratio of 70:30 of solid mass, that means rocks, larger pieces of material, to fines, which typically means sand or sand substitutes. Anything outside of that recommendation could mean all kinds of potential problems down the line, like wrinkling or uneven turf.
Crushed miscellaneous base, or CMD, is a sand and gravel mix often used in residential landscaping projects. It’s more budget-friendly than other options for your aggregate base for artificial grass.
You may also see an option for class II road base, similar to CMD, but more compact. The mix may include recycled materials but is typically a mix of concrete and fines.
With pieces that are no larger than 3/4 of an inch in size mixed in with the finer particles, these options allow for a high level of stability when it comes to your finished project.
Decomposed granite, or DG, consists of pieces of granite mixed in with gravel and sand. It’s more expensive than CMD, but the more popular option if you’re installing a putting green with artificial turf. The reason for that is its smooth finish, as the material is more permeable than others, allowing moisture to seep through more efficiently.
If your turf installation process doesn’t involve an existing layer of dirt followed by one of the options for a turf base described above, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to enjoy the benefits of artificial turf.
Turf may be installed over solid surfaces, as well, where the base for your turf installation is the surface you’re working with. Concrete, a wood deck, even a flat roof all make for an appropriate base for your artificial turf installation.
The same considerations would apply, though, namely drainage and ensuring that your turf is laid out evenly and securely. Just because you’re installing turf on an existing flat surface, it doesn’t make the process easier, either. You may have additional turf materials to consider that will make your new turf surface softer, for example, or more efficient when it comes to drainage.
You may think you’re all set with your turf and turf base picked out, but there are additional artificial turf materials to consider, depending on your project.
If you’re worried about weeds sprouting out of your artificial turf – let’s say you’re already battling weeds in the area regularly and know of existing roots – you may want to consider a weed barrier. While optional, a weed barrier still allows for proper drainage while stopping weeds from poking through that fresh turf.
Infill is also a good idea for many turf installations, particularly if you’re looking for a more real grass feel. Pet owners who will be using their artificial turf as a pet relief space may appreciate the benefits of an infill with a deodorizer.
We’ve gone over the pros and cons of different base material for artificial turf. What you choose will depend on your project in mind and your specific needs at the end of the day. Connect with our turf installation experts to go over your options so that you can make the switch to artificial turf.