DIY Artificial Turf Installation

Since Blake has had some down time lately, we’ve been trying to tackle the mess that is our backyard. Luckily our house was remodeled on the interior when we bought it but we knew that we would need to do a lot to the front and back yards in order to make them look as good as the inside does!

We went back and forth for months trying to decide whether or not it would be worth it to install turf in our backyard. We have a lot of dirt back there but in particular there’s a smaller patch right outside the back door next to our patio that was such an eyesore. Once the rain came the dogs started tracking mud inside the house constantly and we knew we needed to do something about it.

We started by looking into all the different options, initially we thought turf until we realized how much it costs. We looked into slate and other options such as gravel but the slate ended but being just as expensive as turf (and more work) and gravel just sounded too “desert-y” for us. We even thought about installing real grass but with our luck it would just die (especially since I’m not the best waterer in the world). So after weighing our options and figuring out pricing, artificial turf seemed to be our best option. We chose it because it looks great, there’s no maintenance (lawn mowing) and it doesn’t need to be watered (lower water bill). So even though it was costly, we figured it would be worth it in the long-run especially since it would increase the overall value of our home.

Here are the steps we took to get our turf installed.

1- Measure the area where you plan on installing the turf. Getting an accurate square footage will help to figure out an accurate cost- remember though that you’ll probably be quoted for just the turf. There are other materials such as sand, nails and top filler to take into account but the turf will be the bulk of the overall price. Also remember that you’ll be paying a lot more if you’re hiring people to do the work for you. We did our research on how to install it properly and probably saved around $1000 by doing it on our own.

2- Call around for estimates at nearby turf sales places. Be sure to ask for an estimate of all the materials you will need, not just the turf itself. A good thing to know before calling is that they only sell the turf in widths of 15ft so you may end up having to pay a lot more than you want/need if the area you plan on covering is significantly smaller or just a little wider than 15ft. We lucked out because our space was less than 12ft wide and what would have been a wasted piece of cut turf ended up fitting perfectly down a little pathway just past our turfed area. (another reason that it was worth it for us to get turf rather than something else) Remember that there are different types of turf, some cheaper than others, some pet-friendly etc. Choose one that works best for your yard and lifestyle.

3- Start digging your area about 3-4 inches deep. Blake, his mom and I were out there for two and a half days digging dirt. Luckily there were other parts of our yard which were not level so we were able to use the dirt elsewhere. This is another cost to consider if you have no place for the dirt since you may have to pay to have it removed in a large trash container. Once we removed the dirt from the whole area, we tried to focus on leveling it as much as possible. Blake rented a leveler from home depot for the day and that helped a ton.

4- Order the materials to be sent after the dirt has been removed. You can do this while you’re in the process of digging, just schedule a day that works for you when everything should be delivered. Warning, your wallet may feel lighter after this purchase.

5- Level the dirt as much as possible. We also threw down some weed killing granular to prevent growth under the turf since we opted out of using the black tarp that some use to keep the weeds from growing.



6- Add the layer of decomposed granite or whatever sand/crushed stone you decide to use, then level the area with a sturdy rake. Then come in with the leveling machine (the one you can rent from Home Depot) and level the area out as much as possible. We used a type of granite with larger rocks in it which is supposed to be better for drainage, since we have the kind of dogs that pee and poop we thought it was a good idea. lol

7- Lay your turf, some may want to lay the previously mentioned black tarp before laying the turf but that’s depending on your personal preference.


8- Cut the turf with a razor blade in between seams to fit your space.

9- Pull the corners tight to keep from having any creases in the turf.

10- Start nailing the turf down along the perimeter every foot or so.

11- Add the topsoil layer of sand- this is what makes the fake blades of grass stand up to look more realistic. Use a broom to spread the sand around.

12- Enjoy your new turf and be proud of all your hard work!