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Tips For Installing Turf


I've finally "finished" installing artificial grass ("turf") in my backyard. It took forever and I definitely made some mistakes. Next time, I'll do some things differently.

If your yard is a relatively normal convex shape (like a rectangle), then some of these tips may not be as useful.

Orient The Turf to Face You

The turf has a grain to it, and points in a default direction. In my case, I've installed it such that my turf points away from the primary viewing direction. The primary viewing direction for people viewing my turf is going to be looking towards the back fence as they approach from the house/front of the house. My turf looks darker/lusher when it is pointed at the viewer. So I would want to turn it around 180 degrees.

Maybe it will look better after I add the infill and the turf becomes a bit more vertical.

Optimize For Fewer Seams

When we bought the turf, we simply gave the hardware store the dimensions of various parts of our backyard. Because the shape was concave, we ended up with a couple of large pieces and a couple of small pieces, and we essentially needed to stitch them together. I'm not sure if it is possible to hide a seam completely (or maybe I'm just not good enough yet).

Next time around I would just over-buy and just have massive pieces with fewer seams and cut out the concavity. And fewer seams means an easier and quicker install (at least it was for me).

Orient the Seams to Run Parallel to the Primary Viewing Direction

The seams seem more noticeable when they run latitudinally (horizontally, left to right). When they run longitudinally, they don't seem as noticeable.

Orient in a Consistent Direction

As I mentioned the turf has a grain, as a direction. And if you're buying multiple pieces from a hardware store, they're going to cut those pieces off from a larger roll in whatever way is easiest for them. And later when you're puzzle-piecing them together the grain between the pieces may not be consistent.

If we went with the over-buying solution, that would probably have worked. But if you need smaller pieces and need to stich them together, it is not sufficient to just provide the hardware store with a width and height. You would need to somehow also communicate the direction you want the grain. An alternative would be to buy the smaller pieces as squares using the longer of the two dimensions and then later during installation trim it down yourself to the appropriate width/height taking into account the grain.

In my case, I did have pieces that were 90 degrees off. But I was able to make it work at the expense of having another seam.

Next Time

It'll be easier next time. But it'll probably be so far in the future that I'll have forgotten the little physical techniques. Hopefully I'll at least remember to reference this note.