Laying artificial grass on concrete: A step-by-step guide

Concrete isn’t the most attractive garden landscaping feature, neither is it safe for children to play on. Covering concreted areas in gardens, school playgrounds or commercial premises exteriors with fake grass is a great way to add a touch of colour and a focal point of attraction, as well as making the area safer for children to play on.

The good news is that if you are looking to lay fake grass over a concreted area, you can actually go right ahead and do so, providing you follow our instructions step by step and use all the right tools and materials. Read on to discover how to lay artificial grass on concrete.

Materials checklist:

  • Your chosen artificial grass
  • 20mm shock pad underlay
  • Artificial grass glue
  • Jointing tape (if joints are required)
  • Kiln-dried sand (for your fake grass infill – around 4-5Kg per square metre)

You may also need:

  • Sand (to fill any uneven areas)
  • 10mm shingle (to fill any drainage holes)

Tools checklist:

  • Stiff broom
  • Spirit level
  • Tape measure or straight edge
  • Sharp knife and spare blades
  • Spatula or filling knife (to spread the glue)
  • Garden hose (to check drainage)
  • Drill with 16mm bit (to create drainage holes should drainage be an issue)

Before you start:

Check the surface

To lay artificial grass successfully on concrete, you’ll need to begin with a surface that’s smooth and free from debris such as stones, grit or leaves. If there is moss growing on the concrete, be sure to thoroughly remove it.

Your surface will need to be even, so use a spirit level to check this is the case. If there are any undulations or pits in the surface, these can be filled with a thin layer of sand or self-levelling compound. Be sure to do this on a dry day.

If there are large cracks running through the concrete or parts have cracked off, then it will probably not prove to be a suitable base for the artificial grass and it may be best to break it out and follow the instructions for laying fake turf on soil or dirt instead.

Check the drainage

A free-draining surface is important when laying artificial grass, otherwise you could see pools of water appearing on the new fake lawn. To check the area benefits from sufficient drainage, hose it down and see if any puddles form. If they do, it’s going to be necessary to create a series of drainage holes wherever you see those puddles. We recommend a 16mm drill bit, and then fill the holes with shingle.

Check the ventilation

As you’re working with adhesive, you must have adequate ventilation around you.

Your step by step guide to installing fake grass on concrete

It is vital to work only with a dry surface. Always avoid fitting artificial grass on a rainy day.

Step 1: Shock pad underlay installation

Start at one end of the concreted area, ensuring the underlay roll is tight to the edge. Roll it out and then cut to the desired shape. Carry on with this process until the whole area is covered. 

Top tip: You will find that the shock pad will naturally try to roll itself back as you are trying to lay it. To stop this happening, simply place a heavy object on each end.

Now take your jointing tape and start fixing all the pieces of underlay together. All done? Now it’s time to glue the underlay to the concrete base.

Carefully fold the shock pad underlay back from the edges of the concrete area. Then use your spatula or filling knife to apply a liberal coating of glue directly to the concrete. Make it a good 2-3mm thick and go all around the perimeter. You will need to work fairly quickly, as the glue will go off in around 30 minutes, sooner if it’s a hot day.

Once that’s done you can fold the underlay back and secure it around the edges.

Step 2: Fake grass installation

Roll your artificial grass onto the concrete. Allow 5cm extra around all the edges. This will help you achieve that all-important perfect edge. It is good practice to leave the grass to settle for a good 2 or 3 hours so that the creases disappear.

The next step is to start trimming the fake turf to size using your sharp knife.

Top tip: Cut the fake grass with the back facing you. Follow the stitch lines so that you don’t cut through the stitches. This will give you a nice smooth edge.

Sometimes, if you have a large area of concrete to cover, it may be necessary to join several pieces of fake turf together.

Do not try to glue each individual piece of turf straight onto the underlay. This will cause the pieces to move independently when they are walked on and will show up the joints.

How to join artificial grass

The crucial thing when joining pieces of artificial grass is to ensure the pile of each piece is running in the same direction.

Set the two pieces beside each other, pile upwards, then line the edges up.

Fold the edges of both pieces back on themselves about 25cm so you can see the back of the grass and the stitch lines. Now trim back two or three stitch lines down each edge. Now turn the two sections over to see how they look on the right side before you go ahead and join them with the jointing tape. Be sure to get the two pieces butting up nicely, then apply pressure along the seam to ensure the adhesive sticks all the way along.

Now you are ready to apply your artificial grass glue to the underlay. Fold the turf back, making sure you don’t lose your joints. Apply a layer of glue to the underlay, going right around the perimeter.

To allow the fake grass and shock pad underlay to completely bond, be sure to keep off the grass for a minimum of two hours.

Step 3: Sand and brush the artificial turf

It is good practice to infill a newly laid artificial lawn with kiln dried sand, and there are various benefits. One is that it helps to secure the grass in place, reducing the chance of wrinkles and creases appearing. Another is that it helps to protect the fake grass fibres, keeping them upright for the best possible appearance.

Weed-free kiln dried sand is always a wise choice if you are concerned that weeds may grow up through the grass.

After you have infilled the fake lawn, you can give it a good brush. Make sure you do so in the direction of the pile so that the fibres lift well.

Following fitting:

  • A regular brush with a stiff broom or plastic rake keeps a fake lawn looking its best.
  • You can use a broom, leaf rake or leaf blower to remove leaves and any other debris.
  • Any spillages can be easily washed away with water.
  • Garden furniture or children’s play equipment for example should be placed carefully to spread the load and reduce indentations.
  • Always keep barbeques and other hot objects well away from any fake lawn.