What Goes Under Artificial Turf: Essential Layers for a Perfect Lawn

Artificial turf is an excellent alternative to natural grass, offering a low-maintenance, evergreen solution for your lawn. However, achieving the perfect look and functionality requires more than just rolling out synthetic grass. 

The foundation beneath the turf is crucial for its durability, appearance, and performance. In this article, we’ll delve into what goes under artificial turf, exploring the essential layers needed to create a flawless artificial lawn.

The Base Layer: Crushed Stone and Gravel

The Importance of a Solid Foundation

The base layer is arguably the most critical component of an artificial turf installation. It typically consists of crushed stone or gravel, which provides a stable and well-draining foundation. This layer ensures that the turf remains level and secure, preventing issues like sinking or shifting over time​ 

Material Options

  1. Crushed Granite: Known for its excellent drainage properties, crushed granite is a popular choice. It compacts well, providing a firm base that prevents water accumulation and supports the artificial turf’s structure​ 
  2. Limestone: Another common material, limestone, offers similar benefits. It provides a durable and compact base, essential for heavy foot traffic areas​.
  3. Other Aggregates: Depending on the project requirements, other aggregates like sandstone can also be used. The key is to choose materials that compact well and provide good drainage​ 
  4. Sand Layer: Smoothing and Stability

Role of Sand in Artificial Turf Installation

After establishing a solid base, the next step is adding a sand layer. Sand acts as a smoothing agent, creating an even surface for the artificial turf. It helps to fill any small gaps or irregularities left by the crushed stone base, ensuring a smooth and visually appealing finish​ 

Benefits of Using Sand

  1. Leveling: The primary purpose of the sand layer is to level the surface, which is crucial for both aesthetics and functionality. A well-leveled surface ensures that the turf looks natural and is comfortable to walk on.
  2. Drainage: Sand enhances drainage, preventing water from pooling on the surface. This is particularly important in areas with heavy rainfall, where efficient water drainage is essential to avoid mold and mildew​ 
  3. Stability: By interlocking with the base materials, sand adds stability to the artificial turf, reducing the risk of shifting or movement over time.

Weed Barrier: Protection Against Unwanted Growth

Why Use a Weed Barrier?

A weed barrier, or weed membrane, is an essential layer to prevent weeds from growing through the artificial turf. This barrier ensures that your lawn remains clean and low-maintenance, free from the unsightly and potentially damaging effects of weed growth​ ​.

Installation Tips

  • Placement: The weed barrier should be installed above the base layer but below the artificial turf. This placement helps to effectively block weed growth while still allowing for proper drainage.
  • Material Choice: Modern weed barriers are designed to be well-perforated, which allows for the smooth passage of water, ensuring that your lawn remains healthy and nourished.

Shock Pad or Foam Underlay: Added Comfort and Safety

The Role of Shock Pads

For areas where safety and comfort are a priority, such as playgrounds or sports fields, a shock pad or foam underlay can be a valuable addition. This layer provides extra cushioning, reducing the risk of injury from falls and making the surface more comfortable to walk or play on​ 

Advantages of Using Shock Pads

  1. Impact Absorption: Shock pads absorb impact, making them ideal for areas with high foot traffic or where children play.
  2. Enhanced Comfort: The added cushioning improves the overall comfort of the artificial turf, making it more enjoyable to use.
  3. Safety: By reducing the hardness of the surface, shock pads help to minimize the risk of injuries from slips and falls.

Edge Restraints: Finishing Touches

Why Edge Restraints Are Important

Edge restraints are essential for maintaining the shape and integrity of your artificial lawn. They provide a boundary that keeps the turf in place and prevents the edges from lifting or fraying​ 

Types of Edge Restraints

  • Plastic or Metal Edging: Commonly used materials include plastic and metal, which are both durable and easy to install.
  • Natural Edging: For a more seamless look, natural materials like stone or timber can be used to create a defined yet aesthetically pleasing edge.


Creating the perfect artificial lawn involves more than just laying down synthetic grass. The layers beneath the turf—crushed stone or gravel base, sand, weed barrier, and optional shock pads—play a crucial role in ensuring stability, drainage, and overall performance. By understanding what goes under artificial turf, you can achieve a durable, beautiful, and low-maintenance lawn that stands the test of time.

Curious about what goes under artificial turf and how it can transform your lawn? Contact Ben Turf today to learn more about our professional installation services and get started on creating your perfect artificial lawn.