Do You Need To Put Drainage Under Artificial Turf

I remember the time when my sister’s synthetic turf was just installed and she invited us to a weekend barbeque. While we were having a good time, the rain suddenly decided to make an uninvited appearance, turning the lush green expanse of her artificial grass into a temporary waterlogged mess. 

Little did we know that beneath the vibrant facade of the artificial grass lay a debate as murky as the unexpected puddles forming around us – the necessity of drainage. As the rain persisted, she began asking me what she needed to consider for proper drainage under her artificial grass. 

What I told her is everything that is written below. Join me on this journey as we navigate through the layers of this synthetic landscape to uncover the answers that lie beneath the surface.

Also Read – What Is The Difference Between AstroTurf And Fake Grass?

Do you really need drainage?

The short answer is yes – nearly all synthetic turf installations require some form of sub-base drainage system. Without it, water just pools on top of the plastic backing, which is bad news. Where’s it supposed to go?

In heavy rainfall climates or flat terrain, drainage is absolutely essential to prevent surface pooling. But for smaller lawns on a slope, free drainage may be adequate if water runs off the edges.

Well-drained soil (like sand) may rely on percolation, while dense clay requires active drainage. Larger lawns and play areas demand more elaborate systems than a small yard. Pet turf and playgrounds need drainage to prevent smells and bacteria.

Why drainage is important for artificial lawns

Natural lawns absorb a certain amount of rainfall and irrigation which then evaporates or percolates through the soil. But artificial turf has an impermeable plastic backing that prevents water from filtering through. This means that without proper drainage, water can pool on the surface leading to a saturated, muddy mess.

How drainage keeps your grass happy

Proper grading and a gravel sub-base help drainage work its magic. Perforated pipes around the edges channel away extra water. It drains into a crushed stone reservoir that lets it flow through the pipe system. These pipes connect to street drains or sewers. The sloped gravel helps gravity pull the water down and out.

Picking the right drainage system

How fast your system drains depends on your climate. Experts recommend drainage rates of at least 3 inches per hour for moderate rainfall regions. But heavy rain areas may need 5 inches per hour or more.

If you have over-compacted native soil, add sand and compost to help it drain better. Hard surfaces like concrete require subsurface gravel layers and drains. Proper grading and stable bases are key!

Why the base matters

A well-engineered gravel or crushed stone base is vital for good drainage. This stable layer allows water to flow out to perforated pipes. A weed barrier fabric on top prevents soil from seeping down into the base. Smart sub-base design extends the life of your turf.

Types of Drainage Aggregates

Type of AggregateDescriptionApplications
GravelOffers excellent drainage, aids in water runoffCommonly used in sub-base construction for artificial lawns
Permeable FillPorous materials that enhance water drainageApplied in areas requiring improved water percolation
Crushed StoneProvides a stable base for synthetic turfIdeal for creating a durable foundation for artificial lawns

The size and depth of the sub-base layer depends on the site’s drainage needs. Work with landscaping pros to select the right materials.

Various Drainage Systems for Artificial Lawns

From catch basins to exit drains and French drains, we provide an overview of effective drainage solutions for artificial lawns, ensuring your investment remains resilient in the face of water challenges.

  • Catch Basins: This is designed to collect and redirect surface water away from your lawn.
  • Exit Drains: Positioned at the lowest points, these drains facilitate the smooth flow of water off your synthetic turf.
  • French Drains: This is an underground trenches filled with gravel and a perforated pipe, effectively managing subsurface water.

Consequences of Not Having Drainage

What happens when your artificial turf lacks proper drainage? If you don’t have good drainage, problems will likely arise:

  • Excess moisture and flooding
  • Standing water attracting insects
  • Mold, mildew, stinky bacteria
  • Matted, rotten grass blades
  • Voided manufacturer warranties

Spare yourself the headache so install it right!

Tailor drainage to turf type

Higher quality, permeable artificial grasses may not need super complex drainage on a well-graded site. But lower grade types and dense installations require more robust systems. Check manufacturer recommendations for best results.

Comparison Between Artificial Turf and Natural Grass Drainage

Even with drainage, artificial turf doesn’t absorb water as well as soil and natural grass. But real grass needs way more maintenance for health and drainage. With proper installation, fake grass is a durable, lush alternative.

More benefits of artificial turf

Aside from good drainage, artificial grass offers:

  • Lower maintenance than real grass
  • Durable and weather-resistant
  • Doesn’t need mowing, fertilizer, pesticides
  • Conserves water compared to thirsty natural grass
  • Versatility in Design: Artificial grass offers flexibility in design, allowing you to create intricate patterns or incorporate various colors for a customized aesthetic appeal.

Also Read – How Much Does It Cost to Lay AstroTurf?

Invest in quality drainage

You want a stress free weekend with your family right? You want the best for home. Working with landscape professionals to design and install drainage optimized for your project provides the best outcome. Proper drainage helps synthetic turf stand up to pets, kids, and weather while staying invitingly green and lush. Contact the experts today to get started creating your beautifully landscaped yard!