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Problems with Artificial Grass

The list of benefits for having artificial grass installed in your property are endless.

No mowing, no watering, no mud, no fertilisers, more time for you to enjoy your outdoor area just to name a few.

There are however problems that can occur if your synthetic grass is not installed or maintained correctly by an experienced artificial grass installer.

Below are six common problems found with artificial grass including incorrect installations by other installers, inexperienced tradespeople and failure to maintain your fake grass correctly.

1. Sinkage

Sinkage of your artificial grass can be caused by a number of factors. The most common reason being an incorrectly installed base.

An experienced synthetic grass installer will ensure your base is the correct depth, using the right materials, correct falls, compacted and levelled sufficiently to allow for water run off.

Depending on what you currently have in the area where you would like your new lawn, the base materials will differ. If you’re replacing a real lawn with an artificial lawn and the area is not solid, more solid materials such as road base would be required as a primary base layer.

Over the years we have been asked to repair other installers grass due to issues. On most occasions it is because the uneducated installer has not installed a sufficient base to the correct depth, as this saves the installer money in materials and labour, then causes the customer headaches later when they can’t get back in contact with the original installer.

If your base is only a few centimetres deep, the earth underneath will shift over time causing your base to be disturbed and your grass to become undulated.

Poor artificial grass base installation - Not enough depth and not compacted sufficiently.

Recycled crusher dust under your artificial grass may cause you issues. Standard crusher dust is grey in colour, with dust/stones 0-5mm. Recycled crusher dust is brown in colour and can contain organic materials such as soil and weeds - exactly what you do not want under your artificial grass. Recycled crusher dust is about 1/6 the price of standard crusher dust, making it an attractive option for the cunning synthetic grass installer as it saves them money. If your base is brown, be concerned and demand the correct materials.

Not compacting the area prior to grass installation is a big mistake and will definitely cause sinkage over time. We generally compact the area 3-5 times, after each layer of the base is installed.

More often than not, the cheapest option isn’t always the best. Pay cheap- pay twice as the saying goes.

Artificial grass sinkage due to poor base installation.

2. Tree Roots

Sometimes it is the things that you can’t see, ie/ under the ground that can cause you problems in the future.

If you are having fake turf installed in an area where trees have been removed, tell your installer prior to installation.

The tree roots need to be ground out with a stump grinder, removing as much of the stump, roots and bark chips as possible.

If a tree stump or root ball is left in the ground, under your grass, it will decompose over time and leave you with a sink hole the size of the stump and/or root ball under your grass.

Decomposed tree roots under an artificial grass base.

3. Pool glass

In South East Queensland as you know it gets hot. Crazy hot - and your pool glass is unfortunately an excellent surface for refracting the sun. When the sun hits your pool fencing glass at an angle, the heat is transmitted at an equal and opposite angle toward the ground. If your artificial grass is in this area, it may cause the grass to melt slightly.

The best way to avoid this occurrence is to install your astro turf away from the glass fence if possible.

If you are having a new pool/pool fence installed, have a concrete plinth installed about 25-30cm in width on which the glass pool fence and spigots are installed. This will give you 12-15cm clear area either side of the glass fence, keeping your grass away from the fence.

In saying this, we have done countless installations with existing glasses pool fences, where the client has specified that we run the grass directly under the glass pool fence, with them not being concerned if the grass melts slightly.

A good artificial grass installer will make you aware of this potential issue at their initial site visit.

Burnt artificial grass due to glass pool fence.

4. Underground pipes

If you plan on doing on renovation prior to your artificial grass extension, make sure any storm water or waste water pipes are capped off if need be. If your builder or plumber severs an old pipe thinking it may be redundant and/or leaves it open, you may have problems later such as the client below. In recent floods, water rising in a canal passed back up into the pipe blowing the base and grass out.

Hidden water pipe under base.

5. Nutgrass

Common to South East Queensland, Nut grass is a common pest in the garden and lawn. Nutgrass is a very fast-spreading long-lived perennial lawn weed that grows from underground tubers. It thrives in bare earth, powered by the rain and sun. If you detect nutgrass in the area you want to put artificial grass or in your garden, it is best to treat it prior, as early as possible. If left in the ground prior to installation, you risk it growing underneath your grass. If your artificial grass feels spongy underfoot, you may have nut grass growing underneath and it will need to be treated to control the spread.

Do not attempt to pull it out by hand as it will only set off more growth. There is a product called 'Sedgehammer', available at your local garden store which works best to eliminate it. Read directions carefully, you will need a sprayer and mix the product with water. See mixing ratio on label.

Nutgrass in a garden bed.

Nutgrass infestation that had grown underneath artificial grass.

6. Burns - tools/metal/fire/fire pits/cigarettes

Power tools and hand tools: If you are planning on doing other garden work around your synthetic grass area, do not store or leave your tools on your grass. In the hot sun, if you leave metal objects on your grass, they will melt the shape of the object into the grass if it gets too hot.

Likewise with power tools, engines get hot, exhausts get very hot and will melt into the grass if placed on top. We have come across many artificial grass burns from hedge trimmers over the years. Tell your tradies before they start any work in the area!

Exhaust burn in artificial grass caused by a hot power tool exhaust.

Fire pits next to artificial grass do not work. If the pit is close to your grass, it will melt it. Embers can also shoot out, land on your grass and melt it. Something you do not want to look at.

The result of putting a fire pit on artificial grass.

Cigarette burns on artificial grass.

And what ever you do, do not put the Weber BBQ lid on your perfect artificial grass after a few cold ones! : )

For a Free Quote and more information about artificial grass installations, call Oasisgrass on 07 5594 3440 or email

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