Does An Artificial Lawn Need A Drainage System?

Hand holding an artificial grass roll

If you’re thinking about installing an artificial lawn, one question you may be asking yourself is, “does an artificial lawn need a drainage system?”

The short answer? It depends on your specific situation. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some factors to consider when deciding if you need a better drainage system for your artificial lawn and more.

But if you’re considering a natural grass lawn, be sure to check out our irrigation installation and design service to ensure your lawn gets the perfect amount of water.

Now, read on to learn more!

Does An Artificial Lawn Need A Drainage System?

Yes, an artificial lawn needs a drainage system. Many types of artificial grass are made to be permeable, allowing the water to drain right through it. If yours isn’t like this, it’s best to plan out a natural drainage system underneath your turf lawn before installing your artificial grass. This is because artificial lawns, much like natural lawns, can be vulnerable to flooding.

How Drainage Works For An Artificial Lawn

Artificial turf is made up of a network of pores, just like natural grass. These pores allow water to pass through them and into the drainage system beneath the turf. Some drainage systems for artificial lawns are typically made up of a layer of gravel and a layer of crushed stone. This combination allows water to pass through it quickly, preventing any pooling or ponding on the surface of the turf. 

The drainage system for some artificial turf consists of three parts: a subsurface drainage system, a thatch layer, and an upper surface drainage system. The subsurface drainage system carries water away from the “root zone” and can be made of porous materials such as gravel or sand. The thatch layer is a filter that helps to prevent clogging of the subsurface drainage system. The upper surface drainage system helps to carry water away from the lawn surface. It can be made of materials such as perforated pipes or synthetic drains.

Most artificial turf systems also include a permeable backing that allows water to pass through it as well. This backing helps to ensure that water drains quickly away from the turf, keeping it dry and comfortable to walk on.

You can also install other drainage options, such as a French drain. You can learn more about different types of drainage systems and their benefits here.

Drainage Rates For Artificial Grass

Man cutting a piece of artificial lawn exposing the sub base

Most artificial grasses have drainage holes with drainage rates of over 30 inches per hour per square yard, which is higher than natural grass and soil. It is important to note that the drain rate of artificial grasses can vary depending on the type of grass and the manufacturer. Some artificial grass drainage rates are only 10 inches per hour, while others can drain at rates of up to 60 inches per hour.

You can also find a high-tier turf drain that can drain water away at over 2,000 inches per hour.

A high drain rate is important for areas that receive a lot of rain or snowmelt, as it helps to prevent flooding and maintain a healthy lawn. However, a high drain rate can also be detrimental in dry climates, as it can cause the soil to become too dry and compacted.

On Soil vs Hard Surface Artificial Lawn Drainage

One of the best ways to improve poor drainage for your artificial lawn is to make sure that the sub-base is properly installed. The sub-base is the layer of material that sits underneath the turf, and it’s typically made up of gravel and sand. This layer helps to promote drainage by allowing water to percolate through it and into the ground below.

If you’re installing artificial grass on soil, make sure that the soil is graded so that it slopes away from your home or other structures. This will help ensure that water drains away from your turf instead of pooling on top of it. You should also add a layer of gravel underneath your turf to help with drainage. French drains are another great option to get superior drainage for your lawn.

Does an artificial lawn need a drainage system? It really might if you’re installing synthetic grass on top of a hard surface such as concrete or asphalt. One option is to create a French drain, which is a drain that’s installed along the perimeter of the lawn area. French drains are typically gravel-filled and have a perforated pipe running through them. This pipe helps to collect and redirect water away from the lawn area. 

Another option is to install a perforated pipe underneath the turf itself. This pipe can be connected to a storm drain or other drainage system so that water will be quickly removed from the lawn area before it has a chance to pool on top of the turf. 

Why Your Sub-Base Matters For Artificial Lawn Drainage

Artificial lawn in the front yard of a modern home/residential house.

A sub-base is an integral part of any artificial lawn drainage system. It helps to collect and disseminate water away from the lawn surface, preventing pooling and flooding. Some soil drains very well, while others do not. Depending on your soil, your project may have a higher or lower level of complexity.

Drainage Aggregates

Drainage aggregates are typically made up of crushed stone, gravel, or sand. They are used to create a stable base for the artificial turf and to allow water to drain through the turf more easily. A few types include:

  • Limestone chat
  • High-quality crushed or decomposed granite
  • 3/4-inch washed limestone
  • 3/8-inch minus mixture

Catch Basins, Exit Drains, And French Drains

You can also use these drainage systems to help keep your artificial lawn drier:

Catch basins are like mini-reservoirs that are placed at low points in the artificial lawn. They collect water and then release it slowly so that it does not overwhelm the drainage system. 

Exit drains are placed at the edge of the artificial lawn and help to quickly remove excess water from the surface. 

French drains are a type of exit drain that consists of a perforated pipe that is surrounded by drainage aggregate. They are used in situations where there is a high water table or where there is a concern about flooding. 

Here’s What Happens If Drain Tile Is Not Installed Under Artificial Grass

Does an artificial lawn need a drainage system? It needs something, or you’ll be facing problems like:

  • Water will pool on the surface of the artificial turf, making it wet and soggy
  • The water will eventually seep through the turf, causing the backing to become saturated
  • The saturated backing will start to break down, causing the turf to lose its shape and stability
  • The turf will start to buckle and ripple, making it unsightly and unsafe
  • The turf will eventually disintegrate, leaving you with a mess to clean up
  • If the turf is not properly installed, it can lead to serious drainage problems
  • Improper drainage can cause foundation problems, as well as mold and mildew growth
  • Drainage problems can also lead to mosquito breeding grounds, as standing water is a perfect environment for them to lay their eggs
  • Not installing drain tile under artificial turf can ultimately lead to costly repairs down the road

Do You Need To Buy A Separate Drainage System For An Artificial Lawn?

Mostly, the answer to “does an artificial lawn need a drainage system” is it depends. It depends on the type of artificial grass installed on your lawn. Most synthetic turf comes with its own drainage system. However, some don’t. In this case, or if your area sees a lot of rainfall or flooding, you’ll want to install a separate drainage system.

Why Artificial Turf Drains Better Than Natural Grass

Artificial turf has a higher drainage capacity than natural grass. This is because turf fibers are made from polyethylene, a type of plastic that is highly permeable. As a result, water drains quickly through the turf and into the ground below. 

In contrast, natural grass has a lower drainage capacity because its roots grow in compacted soil, which does not allow water to pass through as easily. Natural grass lawns are also often planted in an anaerobic environment (i.e., without oxygen), which further inhibits drainage. 

Benefits Of Synthetic Turf

Two people standing with bare feet on an artificial lawn with a drainage system

1. Low Maintenance

One of the biggest advantages of synthetic turf is that it requires very little maintenance. You’ll never have to worry about mowing, watering, fertilizing, or reseeding your lawn again. Just sit back and enjoy your green space without any of the work!

2. Durability

Synthetic turf is also incredibly durable. It can withstand heavy foot traffic and won’t get muddy or rutted as a real grass lawn would. This makes it ideal for families with kids or pets who love to play outside.

3. Environmentally Friendly

Since synthetic turf doesn’t require any water, fertilizer, or pesticides, it’s much better for the environment than a traditional grass lawn. This is especially important in drought-prone areas where water restrictions are common.

Find A Better Lawn By Having Simmons Landscape & Irrigation Install Your Drainage System

So, does an artificial lawn need a drainage system? No matter the size of your property, drainage is essential to keeping it healthy and beautiful. If you’re in need of a new drainage system for your home or business, Simmons Landscape & Irrigation can help.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and see how we can help you get the perfect drainage solution for your needs.