What Is the Best Base for Artificial Turf? A Comprehensive Guide

Artificial turf is a popular choice for homeowners and businesses looking to achieve a lush, green lawn without the maintenance demands of natural grass. One of the most critical steps in installing artificial turf is choosing the right base.

A proper base ensures stability, drainage, and longevity, making it essential for a successful installation. This guide explores the best base materials for artificial turf, providing detailed explanations, insights, and practical advice to help you make an informed decision.

Importance of a Suitable Base for Artificial Turf

The base of your artificial turf acts like the foundation of a house; it must be strong and well-constructed to support the structure above it. A well-prepared base ensures your turf remains smooth, even, and properly drained. 

Without a suitable base, you may encounter issues such as wrinkles, puddles, and uneven surfaces, which can diminish the appearance and functionality of your artificial lawn.

Types of Base Materials

Crushed Miscellaneous Base (CMB) / Class II Road Base

Description: CMB or Class II road base is a popular choice for artificial turf installations. It is a blend of sand, gravel, and crushed stone, providing excellent stability and drainage.


  • Stability: Offers a solid foundation that prevents shifting or sinking over time.
  • Drainage: Promotes efficient water drainage, reducing the risk of puddling.


  • Cost: Slightly more expensive than other options but offers higher quality.

Use Cases: Ideal for high-traffic areas and commercial projects where a robust base is necessary.

Decomposed Granite (DG)

Description: DG is a finer material made from the natural weathering of granite. It compacts well and provides a smooth, permeable surface.


  • Smooth Surface: Creates an even, attractive finish.
  • Drainage: Excellent permeability ensures superior drainage.


  • Cost: More expensive than CMB.
  • Settling: Can settle unevenly over time if not properly compacted.

Use Cases: Suitable for putting greens and specialty applications requiring a smooth finish.

Crushed Rock

Description: Crushed rock, often used as a base material, consists of larger gravel pieces that provide stability and good drainage.


  • Drainage: Allows water to flow through easily, preventing puddles.
  • Stability: Offers a sturdy foundation for the turf.


  • Cleaning: Can be difficult to clean and may track into homes.

Use Cases: Works well for residential lawns and areas with moderate foot traffic.


Description: Sand is an inexpensive and easy-to-install option for the base of artificial turf. However, it has several drawbacks.


  • Cost: Inexpensive and readily available.
  • Ease of Installation: Simple to lay down and level.


  • Stability: Can shift over time, leading to an uneven surface.
  • Bacteria: May harbor bacteria, especially in areas frequented by pets.

Use Cases: Best for temporary installations or low-budget projects.

Permeable Pavers

Description: Permeable pavers are eco-friendly and provide a solid surface that allows water to drain through.


  • Eco-Friendly: Reduces runoff and promotes groundwater recharge.
  • Durability: Provides a long-lasting, stable base.


  • Complex Installation: Requires a more involved installation process.
  • Cost: Higher initial investment compared to other materials.

Use Cases: Ideal for environmentally conscious projects and areas requiring superior drainage.

Installation Process for Different Bases

The installation process for your base will vary depending on the material chosen. Generally, the steps include:

  1. Excavation: Remove the existing grass and soil to a depth of 3-4 inches.
  2. Compaction: Compact the soil to create a stable foundation.
  3. Weed Barrier: Install a weed barrier to prevent unwanted growth.
  4. Base Material: Spread the chosen base material evenly.
  5. Compaction: Compact the base material using a plate compactor.
  6. Testing: Ensure the base is stable and properly drained before laying the turf.

Maintenance Tips for an Artificial Turf Base

To maintain the integrity of your artificial turf base:

  • Regular Inspection: Check for signs of shifting or settling.
  • Weed Control: Keep the area free of weeds to maintain a clean appearance.
  • Infill Replenishment: Add infill material as needed to keep the turf cushioned and secure.


Choosing the best base for artificial turf is a crucial step in ensuring a durable and visually appealing installation. Whether you opt for crushed rock, decomposed granite, or another material, understanding the pros and cons of each option will help you make the right choice for your specific needs.

 Proper installation and maintenance of your base will enhance the longevity and performance of your artificial turf.

Ready to transform your lawn with artificial turf? Discover more about what is the best base for artificial turf and how Ben Turf can help you achieve a flawless installation.