Before you make the final decision to make the switch to artificial grass, you most likely want to find out everything you can about it.
There are many benefits to artificial grass, but it comes with its own set of requirements.
While it looks as gorgeous as a real lawn, artificial grass has the advantages of being low maintenance.
Because it never grows, all the time and energy that could have been spent mowing, fertilizing, and watering can be devoted to other activities such as flower gardening.
What’s more, it does not fade in the sun, is safe for your family and pets, and it continues to look lush and green for years on end.
Although there is an initial investment in installing artificial grass, you can save a lot of money on maintenance work in the long-term.
Knowing what the installation process entails can help you plan ahead. Figuring out the maintenance requirements for this type of grass can also help prepare you as a potential artificial grass owner.
In this article, our team of artificial grass experts presents a handy list of tools you will need for artificial grass installation and maintenance.
We’ll also show you how to use each tool properly, so you will be able to install and maintain your grass easily and without any worries!
- Tools for Artificial Grass Installation
- Tools for Artificial Grass Maintenance
Tools for Artificial Grass Installation
Installing artificial grass looks a lot different from planting a regular natural lawn, and you need some specific tools to get it done.
Such a project may be something you want to carry out on your own if you are a fan of DIY projects, but you can easily hire an experienced landscaper to get the work done for you.
There are a few key steps involved in installing artificial lawns, and different tools for artificial grass are needed at each stage. The main steps are preparing the ground, installing edging, protection from weeds, working on the base, and finally, rolling out the artificial turf.
The base is important for supporting the lawn and preventing it from slumping and also to provide water drainage.
It can be made up of different types of crushed rock, and the selection process involves looking at available options such as sand, decomposed granite, gravel, or rock. This material is called the “aggregate”.
When the artificial grass is to be installed on concrete instead of soil, the base can be made of a rubber-shock pad.
Below, we’ve listed the 10 most important tools for artificial grass installation you are going to need. Each of them relates to a particular stage in the installation process.
1. Turf Cutter
Before you start installing the artificial lawn, you have to remove all the existing turf in your yard. This is where a turf cutter or sod tiller comes in handy.
This tool allows you to easily dig up all lawn and vegetation on the ground so that you don’t have to do it yourself. Using a fork or a spade might take you a long time, and it might be a lot of hard labor depending on the size of the area to be covered.
We recommend that you hire out a turf cutter if you have a large area that needs to be cleared. You can find one of these efficient tools at a home improvement store or tool hire shop near you, which will save you hours of digging.
2. Vibration Plate Compactor
The importance of having a strong base cannot be overstated – This will determine the stability and strength of your lawn, as well as the quality of drainage for years to come.
For a perfect artificial grass installation, it is worth taking time to make sure the base is done right before laying the turf.
A good base must be compact and level. The aggregate materials that make up the base need to be thoroughly and tightly packed.
The basic and manual way to compact the base involves using the back of a shovel to pound the base in different directions. The manual process becomes very time-consuming and labor-intensive with a greater area to cover, so it’s wise to go with another tool…
A vibration plate compactor, or “wacker plate”, makes the compaction process very quick and easy. You will save hours of time and effort compacting your entire yard.
Just like the turf cutter, this piece of equipment can be hired out easily and cheaply from a tool hire center. And as with other tools, it’s important to remember safety precautions when using it.
3. Shovel and Pick
A shovel is one of the essential artificial turf tools. You are going to need this to scoop up the rolls of turf or sod that you have dug out as well as loading up the wheelbarrow with all the aggregates to be used in the base.
Having a pick on hand is also very important, even if you opt to use a turf cutter to dig up your existing lawn. You can use the pick to reach the far corners of the perimeter that the turf cutter cannot reach to take out any turf that remains.
4. Utility Blade/Curved Blade
A blade is important when it comes to cutting the artificial grass and weed membrane. Good quality blades are needed, together with some spares, because the artificial grass has a strong latex back that needs sharp artificial grass cutting tools.
You may want to use a curved blade if your yard has an unusual shape, and you want to cut round edges. On the other hand, you may also find a straight edge useful in preparing the artificial turf as well, so we recommend having both on hand.
Wheelbarrows are one of the unsung heroes in the gardening world. Transporting materials, waste, and tools from one corner of your garden to the other is fast and easy when you have a good quality wheelbarrow at your disposal.
In fact, it’s practically impossible without one!
When it’s time to prepare the ground for installation, you need a wheelbarrow to carry away the old turf and bring in the new aggregates.
The bigger your yard and the materials you have to move around, the more you are going to appreciate this tool.
6. Carpet Knee Kicker
Once the ground and the base are ready for installation, it’s time to prepare the artificial grass. For the best installation, you need to make sure that the artificial grass has no ripples or wrinkles and that the pieces are positioned well together.
A carpet knee kicker is the perfect tool for this job, and you can buy one or opt to hire one out. As the name suggests, it helps you stretch out your artificial grass so that your final product is perfectly flat, smooth, and free from wrinkles.
During artificial grass installation, we have to lay timber edging around the perimeter of the garden to support the base and restrict weed growth around the space. A claw hammer is an important tool at this stage for installing nails to secure the timber edging.
You may also need a hammer to pin the grass to the edging when you install it, to put U-pins in the ground if you opt to not use timber, and also to remove bent nails and U-pins when necessary.
8. Tape Measure
For the perfect installation, it’s important to have a tape measure on hand. You can use a short (8m) or a long one (30m), depending on the size of your yard.
The tape will be useful when you must measure and mark out your lawn. Accurate measurements go a long way in ensuring that you have enough artificial grass to cover the space.
9. Flooring Float/Trowel
During the process of compacting your granite and limestone dust using the plate compactor, the goal is to create a flat, compact base.
Once this is done, there may be small surface marks left and unsmoothed areas around the perimeter, especially in little corners and crevasses where your plate compactor cannot reach.
You can use a flooring float or trowel or float to smooth off the perimeter and iron out any marks. This tool will also be useful when it comes time to spread the adhesive when joining the artificial grass, after which it must be cleaned thoroughly.
10. Saw and Drill (For Edging)
When you are installing timber edging, you can find a hand saw useful if you have to cut down the timber to a more appropriate length. A drill is also useful when securing the timber with nails.
Tools for Artificial Grass Maintenance
The tools detailed above make installing your artificial turf quicker and less strenuous on the body. But once you have a nicely laid out turf, you have to consider maintenance.
One of the main perks of an artificial lawn is that it is very low maintenance. That being said, you can still expect to have a few easy maintenance tasks to do on a regular basis.
The main steps in artificial lawn maintenance include regularly removing leaves and debris that land on the grass, trimming trees and hedges around the lawn to limit waste, brushing, and occasional cleaning.
Here is a handy list of the most important artificial grass maintenance tools you should have:
1. Wood/Plastic Lawn Rake
It does not matter where you live and which season it is; There is always going to be some debris that accumulates over time on your beautiful lawn.
This must be removed by hand, because there is no organic decomposition process that can happen as it might with a natural lawn.
If left uncleared, debris can trap moisture and bacteria within your lawn, and even encouraging weeds to grow through your artificial grass!
This means you will have to clear your lawn by raking away leaves, sticks, and stones from your lawn about once a week, or as needed.
For this, you should use a plastic tooth rake, instead of a steel rake, to ensure that you don’t damage or rip out the fibers of the artificial grass.
2. Push Broom/Power Broom
When there is a lot of foot traffic, the lawn can start to look tired and flat, despite its natural tendency to bounce back. Over time, the lawn may start to lose its original shape and look worn out.
This is where the push broom comes in. By brushing your lawn every week, you will fluff up the grass fibers, and make them stand up again.
When brushing your artificial lawn, always remember to brush against the natural direction of the grass blades. This technique is called “cross brushing”, and will ensure your grass comes back to life again.
For faster and better results, a power broom is an even better tool that will fluff up your entire lawn in minutes, bringing older and worn out artificial grass back to life, and ensuring that it stands upright.
Believe it or not, vinegar is one of the best ways to clean your artificial grass. It’s cheap, safe and effective!
Here are a few situations where vinegar would come useful:
Every now and then, you might get food stains and bird droppings on your lawn. To clean this off, you can use a clean cloth to wipe off all excess adhesive and then a small amount of white spirit vinegar to remove any remaining stains.
When using adhesive to join pieces of artificial grass during the installation process, it’s very possible that you may spill some of this onto the fibers. Here, you can follow the same steps to clean away the excess glue.
If you are a pet owner, you might find yourself having to clean up after your furry friends when they help themselves on your lawn. Once again, white vinegar can be used as a disinfectant, deodorizer, and cleaning agent.
The best part about this natural solution is that there is no risk of damage or discoloration to your lawn. However, for heavy spills and tough stains, a store-bought artificial grass cleaner might be a better choice. The great thing about some of these cleaners is that it leaves a grassy scent on your lawn!
4. Garden Hose
It’s a great benefit that you never have to worry about watering your artificial lawn to keep it alive, but a hose is still a useful cleaning tool to have.
You can also use a hose to rinse off dust and pollen that gather slowly and may not be caught by the rake. Doing this about once a week can keep your lawn looking fresh and presentable.
The great thing about artificial grass is it drains just like natural grass. Any dust, bacteria or urine can easily be drained away into the soil with a quick water rinse.
A hose also can be useful during the compaction stage to lay down the aggregates, but it is also very essential in maintenance. We recommend that you hose down the new lawn at the end of the installation for proper settling and to clean it up then and as needed during its lifespan.
5. Leaf Blower
A leaf blower is one of the best pieces of equipment you can own. It will make maintenance super easy, and even extend the lifespan of your artificial lawn.
By leaf blowing the grass, you can clean away even the smallest debris trapped within the grass fibers, all while fluffing up the grass and making it stand up again.
It also means you don’t have to sweep every corner of your lawn by hand using a brush. Your entire lawn can be cleaned in mere minutes!