Artificial Grass Drainage Systems | What You Need to Know

Artificial grass is a low-maintenance, water-wise option for homeowners who want a beautiful lawn without the hassle of natural grass. But even though it requires less attention than a regular lawn, it must be appropriately designed and installed with a good artificial grass drainage system to stay in shape. 
Poor drainage of artificial turf can wreak havoc. If you’ve ever seen a fake grass lawn turn into a small pond after heavy rain, you know what we’re talking about. Here’s what you need to know about effective artificial grass drainage and the difference it makes to your yard.

What Is an Artificial Grass Drainage System?

Like with real grass, water on the artificial turf’s surface trickles down the blades and down into the base. But where grass has roots and soil beneath to absorb the water over time, artificial grass has a backing with infill material that helps secure the fibers and gives the turf cushioning. 

Water can catch in the infill or under the turf, which is why an artificial grass drainage system that allows water to penetrate through to the ground below is necessary. 

Good drainage is vital for any type of artificial grass. Common issues that crop up due to water clogging include: 

  • Puddles of water in the turf 
  • Growth of mold, moss, and mildew 
  • Damage to the structure of the lawn, resulting in unevenness and instability 
  • Reduced longevity of your artificial grass 

Ineffective drainage in artificial turf is also bad for the rest of your lawn because pooled water floods surrounding flowerbeds, which may drown the plants.

Types of Artificial Grass Drainage Systems

Drainage systems are designed according to the type of artificial turf and the surface it is laid on. 

However, you shouldn’t need to buy a separate system when buying artificial grass as it comes with its own drainage solution. Plus, a reputable artificial grass company will take your space drainage requirements into account for the appropriate turf installation. There are many systems for the drainage of artificial turf, but most of them fall under three categories:

1. Absorbent Drainage Systems

These types of artificial grass drainage systems involve installing the turf over a well-draining aggregate layer of permeable materials such as crushed rock, gravel, or a mixture of mineral matter. 

The aggregate base is highly absorbent, thus giving the water a place to go before it is absorbed into the ground below. Quick-draining turf, drainage mats, and geotextiles are some of the types of artificial turf that are installed on this drainage system.

Base Layer for Artificial Grass

2. Water Dispersing Systems

As the name suggests, these are a system of channels that move the water away from the turf. The water can be redirected to the street, drain in adjacent flower beds, or even collected in a tank for recycling. 

Common dispersing artificial grass drainage systems include using a network of perforated pipes that are positioned underneath the surface of the grass or creating small intricate pathways in the ground. The French ditch, which involves digging a trench and filling it with gravel before laying the sub-base, is also a popular drainage system for home lawns. 

Water dispersing systems work best on lawns that have a slight slope or grade.

3. Combined Drainage Systems

A combined drainage system uses the above two techniques; absorbing and draining the water at the same time. 

They are favorable for areas prone to heavy rainfall and/or flash flooding to cater for the excess water once the aggregate base in an absorbent drainage system fills.

Artificial Grass Drainage Systems on Concrete

You may be wondering, what about the artificial turf installed on rooftops, wooden decks, and other hard surfaces? Covering concrete, tile, or wood with artificial turf is a simple process. Installers prefer hole-backed artificial turf for these spaces as it allows water to drain into the ground below. This is the very system we use here at US Family Turf.

Once drained through, water will flow off the area with no problem if it has a slight gradient. If this is not the case, however, installers can either drill holes in the ground and fill them with permeable materials or create channels that will facilitate water flow to drainage pipes.

Drainage For Pet Owners

Pets are an important consideration when choosing an artificial grass drainage system. This is because just like on real grass, dogs and other animals do their business on the turf. These messes require proper drainage to avoid smells, stains, and bacteria growth. 

Pet-friendly artificial turf should be quick draining to eliminate urine quickly. The artificial grass drainage system should also not collect water to avoid odor build-up. With these factors considered, absorbent drainage systems are the best choice for homes with lawns. 

If this is you, it’s a good idea to use odor-eliminating artificial grass like US Family Turf’s, which is not only well-draining but also utilizes special Microban technology that eliminates bacteria, mold, and fungus growth. This way you can rest easy knowing your lawn will stay fresh and sanitary even on wet days.

How to Implement a Good Artificial Grass Drainage System

Good drainage of artificial turf in your home involves a few key steps before and after installation. Here’s how you can make sure you have the proper system.   

  • Purchase from reputable dealers: The company you choose should understand the importance of quality turf installation and have experience in laying artificial grass on various surfaces. 
  • Don’t take shortcuts: Installing artificial grass may take some effort, but you’ll enjoy a hassle-free lawn for years to come. Make sure to lay your grass on permeable bases that allow drainage. 

Use a sufficient layer: We recommend up to four inches (10 cm) to ensure your lawn’s aggregate layer does the job.

The Right System Matters

Artificial grass lawns are a great alternative to the real thing. But as we’ve just observed, drainage and installation can make or break the end result. 

US Family Turf has years of experience with artificial grass drainage systems and can help you install the best turf on any kind of surface. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you create the artificial yard of your dreams or book a free on-site consultation for your outdoor space today.