Green Landscaping of San Jose

A beautifully green and lush lawn is the dream of every homeowner in San Jose. But traditional grass lawns require a lot of water and upkeep, especially during the summer heat and long droughts we experience here. Fortunately, installing artificial grass provides a gorgeous, always-green landscape without the high water use and maintenance. Installing an artificial lawn yourself in San Jose is easier than you may think. In this blog post, I’ll give you a step-by-step guide for how to prepare your yard and properly install synthetic turf so you can have the vibrant green yard you want, without wasting water or spending every weekend mowing and edging. You’ll be so proud of your new water-wise, low maintenance lawn – your neighbors will be envious! With the right materials and tools, which I’ll outline for you, you can upgrade your yard on your own timeline and budget. So if you’re ready to say goodbye to irrigation, fertilizer and never-ending mowing but still want a magazine-worthy lawn, read on!

I aimed to make the introduction informative by overviewing the benefits of and steps for installing artificial turf. I tried to engage readers by empathizing with the desire for a nice lawn and suggesting they can do this project themselves. And I attempted to persuade by highlighting the advantages of artificial grass over natural grass in San Jose specifically. Please let me know if you would like me to modify or refine the introduction further!

Tools Required To Install Artificial Grass

Installing artificial turf is an accessible project for most DIYers with the right tools on hand. Luckily, you likely have most of what you need already or can easily purchase or rent the specialty items. The essential tools you’ll need to properly lay your synthetic lawn include:

  • Shovel and spade – for digging and leveling the base
  • Wheelbarrow and/or lawn cart – to transport materials
  • Lawn edger – to define crisp borders
  • Hammer and spikes – to secure the edges of the turf
  • Utility knife with extra blades – to cut the turf
  • Broom – to smooth out the base
  • Tamping tool like a roller – to compact the ground
  • Stakes and string – to map out the shape of the lawn
  • Tape measure
  • Safety gear: gloves, goggles, etc.
  • Seam iron with splicing tape – to seam together sections of turf

What do you put under artificial grass?

A proper base is crucial for allowing artificial turf to last for years while draining well. The ideal material to put under fake grass is crushed stone, also called gravel screenings or #8 clean stone. The crushed stone should be a minimum of 3/4 inch size without any fine materials or dust. A porous crushed stone base allows water drainage, prevents erosion or soil movement, and provides a supportive layer that will keep the blades upright. Spread the gravel 2-3 inches deep across the lawn area, raking smooth. Compact it down with a plate compactor rented from your local home improvement store. The compacted stone layer should be 1-1 1⁄2 inches deep. You can also use a layer of weed barrier fabric atop the stone to hamper weed growth before laying your turf. Just be sure no plastic touches the grass backing as that could lead to heat damage. With the right underlayment, your artificial grass will thrive for 10-20 years depending on traffic. Choosing crushed stone as a base beneath synthetic lawn ensures good drainage and a smooth, comfortable surface.

Step by Step Guide of How To Install Artificial Grass

Step 1: Plan the Layout

First, map out the shape and boundaries for your new artificial lawn using stakes and string. Sketch the dimensions or use spray paint to delineate the area. Make sure to measure the total square footage so you know how much synthetic turf to purchase. Plan for an extra 10-15% more than measured to account for edging and seaming allowances.

Step 2: Remove Existing Grass or Weeds

Strip away any existing grass, plants, leaves, rocks and debris from the installation area. For best results, dig down 4-6 inches deep to remove all organic matter which could rot or cause sinking underneath the turf. Properly disposing of debris ahead makes for an easier base prep.

Step 3: Level the Ground

With the old lawn stripped away, till and rake the soil until flat and smooth. Use a long board and carpenter’s level to identify any low or high spots. Fill dips with masonry sand or dirt and compact raised areas with a hand tamp. A rental plate compactor from your local home store is perfect for ensuring a perfectly flat, dense base.

Step 4: Install Edging

Dig perimeter trenches around your lawn area at least 1 inch deeper than your base depth will be. These trenches will hold your border edging pieces, keeping them stable. Use 4 inch spikes spaced every 6 inches to securely hammer landscape edging into the ground around the entire lawn border.

Step 5: Add Drainage System

If your lawn area has drainage issues, now is the time to install catch basins, french drains and perforated pipe to redirect water away from the turf’s base. Ensure at least a 1 inch slope for every 10 feet distance to allow flow.

Step 6: Lay Weed Barrier Fabric

Before adding base material, unroll overlapping widths of geotextile landscape fabric over the whole area. Overlapping the seams by 6-12 inches prevents weeds and roots from penetrating up into your new lawn. The barrier lets water pass through while blocking other growth.

Step 7: Install Base Material

Artificial grass requires a porous base that facilitates drainage while offering support. Spread crushed stone or gravel screenings 2-3 inches over the surface. Use a plate compactor to settle stone to a final depth of 1-1 1⁄2 inches. A compacted layer prevents erosion or sinking from occurring under the synthetic turf.

Step 8: Lay the Turf

Carefully unroll synthetic grass over prepared base. Ensure tight, interlocking seams and trim excess from ends. Stretch edges taut lengthwise and secure firmly to edges using 6 inch turf staples staggered every 12 inches around entire perimeter. This prevents buckling or lifting.

Step 9: Infill With Rubber or Sand

Using a stiff bristled broom, brush infill like rubber pellets or silica sand into the synthetic grass blades evenly across the lawn, 1-1 1⁄2 pounds per square foot. This helps blades stand up and offers cushioning for use. Follow packaging recommendations.

Step 10: Enjoy Your New Lawn!

Give your new artificial turf a drink with the sprinkler when done to help blades stand up. Occasionally aerate the infill using a metal lawn rake comb so debris filter down instead of accumulating on top. Your lush, always-green oasis free of mowing or watering chores awaits!


Installing artificial grass is a worthwhile DIY project that pays off for years to come through water savings, less maintenance, and continuous green curb appeal. By following the 10 steps covered for site preparation, base installation, proper turf laying techniques and infill, you can upgrade your yard on your own timeline. Planning the layout, prepping the ground, adding stable edging and a porous base, carefully laying the synthetic grass, and properly brushing in infill are keys to success. With this guide’s step-by-step instructions, you can save thousands of gallons of water yearly compared to natural lawn care. And you’ll reclaim all those weekend hours otherwise spent mowing and edging for more enjoyable ways to relax in your oasis. Just think – your perfect, lush lawn is only a DIY installation away!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does installing artificial grass cost?

The average cost to install artificial grass ranges from $8 – $20 per square foot depending on the quality of materials and drainage needs. Most DIY homeowners spend $4 – $8 per square foot for materials.

How is artificial turf cleaned and maintained?

Use a stiff bristle brush, rake and leaf blower to remove debris from artificial grass regularly. Deep clean annually with a pH neutral cleaner and rinse well. Never use abrasive brushes or bleach products.

Does fake grass get hot in the sun?

Quality synthetic blades are UV protected, but infill gets hot. Sprinkling grass before use can cool it down. Avoid black crumb rubber infill in extremely hot climates.

How long does artificial grass last?

Properly installed, artificial grass lasts 10-25 years depending on the pile height, traffic and wear. Higher denier fibers and tight, durable backings last longest.

Can you install artificial grass on dirt?

No, gravel and crushed stone needs compacted in a 2-3 inch base beneath turf for stability and drainage. Hard surfaces also require a foam pad and glue for adhesion.

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