If you’re tired of your yard looking like a dull concrete slab, you might consider upgrading the area by laying artificial grass on concrete.
Artificial grass is quickly becoming a popular trend these days. It is an amazing alternative to regular lawn or concrete.
There are some great benefits that come with using artificial grass. It looks and feels great like normal grass, but it has the added benefits of being very low maintenance and long-lasting.
Most homeowners install fake grass over the soil, and this often involves digging up and removing existing lawn first. But if you want to lay it over concrete, you will run into some challenges.
Don’t worry – We’re here to help!
Our team has installed artificial lawns in households across the world, on all sorts of surfaces.
Today, we’ll show you everything you need to know about laying artificial grass on concrete. Follow the instructions below, and you’ll have a perfectly installed artificial lawn in no time!
- Artificial Grass vs Concrete
- Can You Lay Artificial Grass on Concrete? Check These Things First!
- How To Install Artificial Grass On Concrete – A Step By Step Guide
Artificial Grass vs Concrete
Installing artificial grass on concrete is not an easily reversible process. What’s more, there’s also a lot of work involved.
That’s why it’s important to consider the pros and cons before you make a final decision.
Artificial grass has several key advantages over concrete, in terms of aesthetics, safety, and overall experience.
When it comes to appearance, there is just no competition between grass and concrete.
While cement, asphalt, brick, or stone paving can be made to look beautiful, they cannot beat the natural and inviting look of green grass.
And compared to natural grass, synthetic grass requires very little maintenance and stays green all year round. With very little effort, it can quickly turn your home a beautiful and pleasant sanctuary.
Besides looks, you must also consider the functional aspects of either surface. As a play area, artificial lawn proivdes a fun and soft surface for you and your family. Concrete, on the other hand, is hard. This means the risks of bruises and injury are increased.
Also, concrete can get very hot on a sunny day. It becomes very unpleasant to walk or sit on the scorching surface. Furthermore, it can reflect and emit heat waves upward too.
On the other hand, artificial grass does not get hot, making it the perfect play area for kids, and a great place for the whole family to relax on.
Another safety perk of synthetic grass is that it is non-slip. Whether you install it around your pool or it gets exposed to rain, you won’t have to worry about slipping and falling.
With concrete, you could easily end up with a slippery surface or ice-rink. And if you do slip, you will fall on a hard surface.
If you have any pets in your home, it is important to think about how they are going to interact with the artificial grass too.
The good news is that artificial grass on concrete is great for dogs. Your pets can safely roll around and play on it because it is safe and chemically stable.
And when it comes to pet pee, cleaning this off is easy since artificial grass drains easily. We will explain more about this later in the article.
Can You Lay Artificial Grass on Concrete? Check These Things First!
When people decide to switch from natural to artificial lawn, there is quite a bit of groundwork to be done.
This all starts with removing the natural grass completely, compacting the ground, laying edging if required, then adding the base, which is often sand or stone.
Once the base is properly added, the ground needs to be compacted again. Only after all this is done can the grass and underlay finally be rolled out. After this, the installation is complete with joining, trimming, nailing down the lawn, and finally brushing.
When you are installing artificial grass on concrete, things look a bit different. For starters, the surface underneath is hard, and you will also have to take care of drainage.
If you are planning to cover your concrete with artificial grass, you should know that such an installation is permanent and difficult to reverse the process.
Can artificial grass be laid on concrete? The answer is yes, but only if you take care of the necessary ground work before you start fixing the grass down.
Preparing the ground properly will ensure that your artificial grass is durable and built on a good foundation. It protects your investment, and saves you time and money in the long run.
The main things you have to check before installation are whether there is good drainage, and whether the concrete is a strong and stable base.
You can visually check the condition of the surface and do some quick tests to determine what’s the best way to proceed.
A good surface for installing artificial grass is one that is flat, stable, and free from major cracks. This is going to be the foundation for your new lawn, so you want it to be as solid and durable as possible.
Here are three important inspections you should make before you continue:
1. Cracks And Instability
The first things you want to check for are for cracks and instability in the existing concrete.
While small cracks can be filled and repaired, larger cracks can be more problematic. You should watch out for significant cracks wider than 20mm. You should also inspect the area for any loose pieces of concrete.
All of these are signs of damage and weaknesses that are hiding underneath the surface. These can cause instability down the road.
Ignoring these can only lead to wasted time, effort, and expense, as well as a lot of troubleshooting when these problems get worse.
If there are large cracks and loose pieces, the concrete may shift later on, causing the grass to sink and creating divots and holes.
In such cases, we recommend removing the concrete and starting fresh with a standard installation from the soil. While this might seem like a lot of work, it is worthwhile to get it right from the very start.
2. Poor Drainage
As you would expect, poor drainage can cause a lot of trouble for your yard. So before you start installing the artificial grass, you need to check how water behaves on the concrete surface.
In a standard installation, water drains easily into the soil. But as we’ve mentioned above, this is not the case with concrete.
The easiest way to test the drainage of the concrete surface is to simply spray water onto the surface.
A good surface should have a slight gradient or slope to allow for water runoff. Having channels between slabs and pavers is also a helpful drainage feature.
If there is no water runoff and water puddles start to develop and remain, these are indications that the concrete has poor drainage.
If you notice this on your concrete, don’t worry: These issues can be addressed with the help of drainage holes, but we will discuss this in more detail later…
3. Bumps and Unevenness
Let’s face it – Nobody likes a bumpy lawn!
Laying artificial grass on a hard surface means the bumps and divots in that surface will show up in the lawn once everything is installed.
When there are large bumps and holes that are greater than 20mm tall, this can cause visible unevenness once the grass is laid.
And believe us: An eneven lawn is not something you want to have after all that hard work and money you spent during installation!
Smaller holes and minor bumps might be covered up with a foam underlay. But these can still be problematic – If there are many bumps and holes across the entire area, you might have to do a bit more work to deal with them.
One option is to to level any high spots off with a concrete grinder or sander, and to fill small cracks and holes with cement.
You could also opt to remove the concrete entirely and start with a standard installation from the soil. This way, you are guaranteed good drainage.
How To Install Artificial Grass On Concrete – A Step By Step Guide
Having made the 3 key inspections above, you are now ready to start installing the artificial lawn onto the concrete!
In this section, our team will guide you through the 7 steps of installing artifcial grass on concrete.
Make sure to follow these instructions carefully – Every step in the installation process is critical for a final result that you can enjoy for years to come.
Make no mistake: This installation is not an easy process. You are going to need a range of materials and garden tools.
For those new to yard work, having a professional do the installation for you is always a safe choice. You don’t want to waste a load of time and money, only to have to start again!
Step 1: Plan Your Installation
They say that failing to plan is planning to fail… And this certainly rings true for a project like this.
Before you get started with any of the materials and installation work, you should first determine which approach you are going to need to take.
The first thing is to check the area and the concrete surface as described above to see what you are going to be working with.
Once you have done this, you know what extra prep work is required, and whether or not you should pursue a standard installation on soil instead.
The next step is for you to decide, plan, and measure the area to be covered with artificial grass. It is important to have defined boundaries for your grass lawn, with clear borders for every edge.
Once you have done the measurements of what area is to be covered, you can figure out exactly how much grass is needed. It’s also important to keep in mind where the joins are going to be, if any.
We recommend that you lay the grass with the leaning direction of the pile towards your house or main area. This is going to give off a more natural look to your installation.
When you lay fake grass onto concrete rather than soil, you get to skip over many of the steps and move right to the installation once the concrete is ready.
In this case, you are not going to have to deal with steps such as compacting the ground and laying down a sub-base. The concrete itself acts as a solid foundation, provided it passes all of the checks we covered above.
Once you’ve planned out the area for installation and gathered all the materials and tools, you can move on to the next step…
Step 2: Scrub the Area Clean
Before you lay anything permanent onto the concrete, you first need to make sure you’re starting with a clean surface.
Begin by blasting it with your garden hose, and scrubbing it rigorously with a stiff brush. Or better yet, use a power washer.
The goal is to remove as much dirt and debris off the surface as possible. You may notice a lot of small particles hidden in the ground. You must avoid trapping these underneath your grass.
A clean surface is very important for proper installation and longevity of the lawn. Allow the area to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.
(Bonus tip: We like to mark the installation area with chalk after the ground dries, so we get a clear idea of where the grass should go)
Step 3: Prepare Drainage Holes (If Needed)
As we’ve explained above, you only need to prepare drainage holes if you found that the concrete had poor drainage.
If you notice puddles of water gathering on the surface, these are the areas you should focus on.
Remember – It’s very hard to resolve drainage issues once the grass is laid. If the ground isn’t draining well, you will have to take care of it before you go any further.
Use a 16mm (5/8 inch) masonry bit and a hammer drill to drill your drainage holes. Drill straight through the concrete layer, and into the ground.
If the problems are limited to a few puddles, concentrate on drilling there. If it is across the entire area, you will need more holes.
Loosely pack these holes with pea gravel or shingles. After this, it’s time to test the ground for drainage again.
The best way to do this is simply by spraying water over it again. Observe if the drainage has improved, and make more holes if the problems persist.
Note that deeper or bigger puddles may be a sign that the ground is uneven. In such cases, it would be wise to remove the concrete and proceed with a standard installation from soil instead.
Step 4: Install The Foam Underlay
In general, a foam underlay is a thin layer of cushioning on a carpet, for example, to provide comfort and insulation.
For artificial grass, this underlay prevents the lawn from feeling hard and makes the final product feel softer, just like a real lawn!
This will also prevent injuries. A good underlay should drain well so that no moisture or pet urine is trapped in the lawn.
You want to pick the right underlay for artificial grass on concrete, and we recommend 10mm or thicker. Use a high-quality foam underlay or shock pad designed specifically for artificial grass.
As a word of caution here, you want to avoid laying down sand under the foam underlay. Despite this method being recommended by others, the sand is going to wash away eventually, leaving gaps underneath your lawn.
To fix the underlay in place, run a continuous line of glue around the edge of your grass area. If you plan to have water drain off the gradient instead of through drainage holes, you need to leave gaps in the glue to allow the water to run off.
Step 5: Roll Out the Artificial Grass and Prepare Joins
At this stage, you have a concrete base that is free of cracks, holes, and unevenness and is scrubbed clean. The drainage has been checked and fixed, and you have also laid your foam underlay.
It is finally time to bring out the artificial grass and do the actual work of installing it. All the initial prep work was to ensure that this step could be done seamlessly.
Roll out the artificial grass, and allow the grass to rest outdoors on a flat surface for 24 hours. Doing this allows it to return to its natural shape and acclimatize.
After that rest period, you should arrange the panels and prepare the joining edges by trimming three rows of grass away.
Joining is required if you have a large garden space and need to attach pieces of artificial grass.
It is very important that you avoid gluing directly onto the underlay, as this can shift around. Instead, lay down joining tape and glue the panels onto that. Allow time to dry.
Step 6: Trim the Artificial Grass, and Secure It at the Edges
You have rolled out the grass and made the joins. Only then should you turn your focus onto the perimeter of the lawn.
Trim the excess grass to size, using a sharp blade. A regular utility blade is fine, but be sure to change blades often to maintain sharpness and keep the cuts clean.
After this, secure the grass at the edges with glue directly onto the underlay. As with the underlay itself, use a continuous line of glue if you’re using drainage holes. If you’re allowing the water to run off, leave gaps in the glue for it to pass. Allow time to dry.
Step 7: Install Infill and Brush
Finally, it’s time to put some finishing touches on your artificial lawn.
For most households, we recommend installing silica sand as an infill, or organic infill if you have pets. This is essential for the longevity and durability of the grass.
The infill is the equivalent of sand in an artificial lawn. It helps the grass fibers stand, assists in drainage, keeps the grass cool, and much more.
As a final step, you should brush the grass as part of a weekly maintenance routine. As mentioned before, artificial grass is very low maintenance, which is why many individuals and families choose it over regular lawn.
Brushing the grass involves removing the debris from the surface with a plastic tooth leaf rake. After this, simply go across the lawn with a stiff push broom, brushing against the grain of the grass to fluff them up and make them stand up again.
Down the road, be sure to stick to a simple weekly maintenance routine. Keep debris off your lawn to avoid trapping moisture and bacteria, and remove pet waste and stains whenever they appear.
You made it! Now it’s time to enjoy the amazing lawn you’ve installed.
If you’ve followed the steps above carefully, you will now have an artificial lawn that will last you up to 20 years, or even more.
With artificial lawn, you don’t have to water it, mow it, or fertilize it. Most of the lawn care requirements are completely eliminated. You can save time, money, and energy this way, and you can focus on decorating and using your yard.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy the lawn that you’ve always deserved!