Prepare your area
Dig out your area by hand or by machine to allow for 50-100mm of cracker dust substrate, as well as the height of your artificial grass.
Tip: Where the artificial grass will meet you outdoor finished floor level (FFL) such as a driveway or paved area, you may choose to install the artificial grass with the blades protruding approximately 5-10mm above the FFL for a more natural look. Based on a reasonably flat area, you can use your square meterage to determine how many cubic metres of sand will need to be removed, and therefore what skip bin size you may need (if using one). However, often landscape levels are undulating, and it can be difficult to calculate the quantity of sand that will come out. Even a small variation in levels can equate to a sizeable difference in sand quantities.
Around the perimeter, aim to excavate to the depth of the cracker dust you will place plus the height of your artificial grass, subtracting how far the artificial grass will protrude above your FFL.
For example, if installing 70mm of cracker dust and installing artificial grass with a 35mm pile height that will protrude 10mm above FFL, excavate 70mm + 35mm – 10mm, approximately 95mm below FFL around the perimeter.
2. Define your levels
Level the soil prior to the addition of cracker dust. Use a soil leveler, the flat back of a rake, or paving screeds to contour the sand to your required height. It is recommended to wet and compact the soil if it is very loose. Add borders around your area where needed. You will use your borders to contain your cracker dust and to cut in your artificial grass. Consider adding a straight edge to edges that will otherwise be difficult to cut your artificial grass to fit, such as wave shaped Hardie fencing and around trees.
3. Cracker dust
Also known as crusher dust or blue metal dust, cracker dust can be purchased from select landscape stores around Perth.
When calculating cracker dust quantities, allow for 15% compaction. Distribute the cracker dust over the entire area and level. Contour the cracker dust to the levels of your area.
Tip: Through the middle of your area, you can create a gentle hump for a more natural look, known as crowning the area. Therefore, you can excavate to an average level and move cracker dust from the perimeter into the middle.
4. Compact substrate
Wet the cracker dust thoroughly and compact with a plate compactor, filling any low points after the first compaction and compact again.
Tip: After the first compaction, use a notched piece of timber to screed around any edges that are at FFL to ensure your artificial grass will sit evenly around the edges.
Next is Part 3 of our DIY Installation Guide