Last Updated on June 28, 2024 by ReTurf

Artificial turf has become a popular choice for many homeowners and businesses seeking a low-maintenance and attractive alternative to natural grass. One common question that arises is whether you can lay artificial turf directly on dirt. The short and simple answer is no. Laying artificial turf directly on dirt is not recommended for several reasons, which we will explore in this article. We will also discuss what you should put down before laying artificial turf, some suitable sub-bases, whether you need sand under fake grass, and the consequences of not using a sub-base.

Why You Shouldn’t Lay Artificial Turf Directly on Dirt

Laying artificial turf directly on dirt can lead to several issues that compromise the integrity and longevity of your turf. First, dirt surfaces are often uneven and prone to shifting. This can cause the artificial turf to settle unevenly, leading to an unattractive, bumpy appearance and potential tripping hazards. Furthermore, proper drainage is crucial for artificial turf. When laid directly on dirt, the turf cannot drain water effectively, which can lead to water pooling on the surface. This not only creates a muddy mess but can also cause damage to the turf and its backing.

Another significant concern is weed growth. Laying turf directly on dirt increases the likelihood of weeds growing through the turf. Weeds can penetrate the turf’s backing and surface, making maintenance more challenging and potentially damaging the turf. Without a proper base, artificial turf is more susceptible to wear and tear. The lack of a stable foundation can lead to premature damage and reduce the lifespan of your turf.

What Should You Put Down Before Laying Artificial Turf?

To ensure a successful artificial turf installation, it’s essential to prepare the ground properly. First, start by removing the existing grass, weeds, and topsoil to a depth of about 3-4 inches. This step is crucial to create a stable foundation. Next, lay a geotextile fabric over the excavated area. This fabric helps prevent weeds from growing through the turf and adds an extra layer of stability.

After clearing the area and laying the fabric, you need to add a sub-base material. The sub-base is a critical component that provides a stable foundation and improves drainage. Suitable sub-base materials include:

  • Crushed rock
  • Gravel
  • Decomposed granite

Once the sub-base material is in place, compact it using a plate compactor. This ensures a firm, level surface that will support the artificial turf. Some people also choose to add a layer of sand infill after laying the turf. Sand helps the turf blades stand upright and adds an extra layer of stability.

What Are Some Sub-Bases You Can Use Under Synthetic Turf?

Choosing the right sub-base material is crucial for the durability and functionality of your artificial turf. Commonly used sub-bases include:

  • Crushed Rock: Also known as road base or crusher dust, this material is popular for its stability and good drainage properties.
  • Gravel: Provides excellent drainage and stability. It’s important to use angular gravel, as rounded gravel can shift and lead to an unstable surface.
  • Decomposed Granite: A compactable material that offers good drainage and stability, making it a great choice for areas with high foot traffic.
  • Class II Road Base: A blend of gravel, sand, and clay that compacts well and provides a solid foundation for artificial turf.

Do You Need Sand Under Fake Grass?

While sand is not always necessary under fake grass, it can be beneficial in certain situations. Sand can add an extra layer of stability to the turf, helping to prevent movement and shifting. It also helps the turf blades stand upright, giving the grass a more natural appearance. Additionally, adding sand can increase the weight of the turf, reducing the chances of it being lifted by strong winds. Sand also improves drainage by allowing water to pass through the turf more effectively. However, the decision to use sand depends on the specific requirements of your installation and the type of artificial turf you are using. It’s always a good idea to consult with the turf manufacturer or installer for recommendations.

What Happens If You Don’t Put a Sub-Base Under Artificial Grass?

Skipping the sub-base is a common mistake that can lead to several problems. Without a sub-base, artificial grass can suffer from poor drainage, leading to water pooling on the surface. This can create a muddy, slippery mess and potentially damage the turf. A lack of a stable sub-base can result in an uneven surface as the ground beneath shifts and settles. This not only looks unattractive but can also be a safety hazard. Furthermore, without a sub-base, weeds are more likely to grow through the artificial turf, making maintenance more difficult and potentially damaging the turf. The absence of a sub-base means the turf is more susceptible to wear and tear, leading to premature damage and a shorter lifespan for your artificial grass. The turf may also move or shift over time without a solid foundation, resulting in an unstable surface.

How ReTurf Supports Your Artificial Turf Installation

After understanding why laying artificial turf directly on dirt is not recommended, it’s crucial to have the right support for your installation. ReTurf offers comprehensive services tailored to your project’s needs. From choosing the correct materials to providing step-by-step installation guidance, our team is here to help.

Our product consulting services will assist you in selecting the best turf material, seaming products, base and drainage materials, among others, ensuring your turf is laid on a well-prepared surface for durability and aesthetics. Whether you are a contractor, a designer, or a DIY enthusiast, our technical assistance includes detailed drawings and seaming diagrams to guide you through the installation process.

For those needing professional installation, our skilled staff of builders and installers are ready to implement your project to perfection. Additionally, ReTurf offers convenient delivery and pickup options from our locations, ensuring you have what you need, when you need it.

By partnering with ReTurf, you ensure your artificial turf project is executed flawlessly, enhancing your space with a reliable and attractive landscaping solution.