Garden Advice

Artificial Grass Drainage Problems and Why They Happen

Image source: komkrit Preechachanwate /

So, you got a new artificial lawn installed. Awesome, now you can enjoy a well-maintained and always green garden all year round. But wait… What is that water puddle in the middle of your garden?

Fake grass drainage problems are quite a common issue for many homeowners. The problem can lead to numerous unpleasant consequences like a wonky looking turf and the development of mould and mildew.

“How come I have drainage problems when I got my turf professionally installed?”

Good question. In this article, we are going to break down for you the following: how to install artificial grass correctly, so you don’t have a huge puddle, “sitting” in your backyard and the reason for the occurrence of the whole problem.

Table of Contents:

So, if you:

  • Are having issues with a waterlogged artificial lawn;
  • Want to know the reasons behind it;
  • Are looking for more information on artificial lawns,

Then read on! This article is for you.

What is an artificial lawn?

Have you ever wondered why sports fields always look so green and well-maintained? Two words – fake grass. An artificial lawn is a turf made from green plastic strands, devised in a way which imitates the real thing. These plastic strands are created from synthetic fibres or yarn (polypropylene or polyethylene). A high-quality fake grass lawn is made from several layers, which comprise a backing, a cushioning, a couple of drainage layers and an infill. Throughout the years, artificial lawns have had a bad reputation because many people found them a bit tacky.

However, this isn’t the case anymore. Nowadays, more homeowners opt for installing fake grass instead of real one. Why? Well, artificial turfs require almost no kind of maintenance and look nice and green throughout the whole year.

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How to install artificial grass the right way

Installing artificial grass is a tricky business. If you are looking to do the job yourself, follow these basic rules:

  • Identify the ground type. This step is really important, to determine the level of drainage. When you find out what type of soil you are working with, you can choose the kind of stone aggregate or sand, you’ll need to add.
  • Clear out the area. Make sure to remove any sort of green waste from the space, you are working on and around it, too. When you are done with this task, dig down the turf to about 100 mm in depth. You can use a spade or a turf cutter to complete the task. This part is required so that your artificial lawn looks more natural, when compared to its surroundings.
  • Prepare the base. First, you should figure out whether your garden soil is clay or sand-based. This step is necessary, because the type of soil will determine how you’re going to prepare the surface before laying the fake grass. Clay-based soils don’t offer good drainage. So, if this is the case, you’ll have to add a stone layer subbase. Make sure to choose a type one stone. Also, remember that the subbase should be with a depth of 50-100 mm. However, if you are working with sand-based soil, the story is quite different. This sort of soil has very good drainage properties, so it’s a good idea to use 50mm of sharp sand.

You can find more information on how to lay artificial grass in our detailed article.

What are the drainage issues with artificial grass?

High-quality artificial lawn rolls allow water to drain through them. Artificial grass comes with a backing, which has numerous drainage holes. Don’t worry, these aren’t visible after the grass has been installed. And if the grass has been placed properly, it would be unlikely for you to face any drainage problems. Still, if it happens that your fake grass gets soaked in rainwater one day, here are the possible reasons for why this might be:

The first reason can be summed up in four words – badly installed aggregate base. If the soil under the fake turf has a low absorption capacity and this wasn’t acknowledged before the fake grass was laid.

Many professional companies offer low prices for their artificial turf installation services, but remember that the quality of the actual job goes down, as well. A lot of the times, budget companies don’t pay enough attention to certain important process steps, such as the installation of an aggregate base.

In contrast, reputable service providers will do a full excavation of the existing surface. Only then, the installers will place a porous sub-base system on top of the soil. Based on how bad the soil drainage is, the technicians will determine what type of permeable sub-base they’ll need to install. Cheaper or unprofessional installers tend to apply 1-2 inches of sand onto a clay surface and lay the fake grass over that. But this way, it’s just not possible to achieve proper drainage, as clay is not as pervious as other types of soil.

Often, these basic steps are ignored, due to budget or time-saving reasons. So, at the end, the results are always the same – an unwanted pool of water in your back garden.

Another way for you to end up with a waterlogged synthetic turf is when the latter has been installed over a hard surface, such as concrete. This sort of artificial grass project requires a completely different drainage system to be fitted prior to laying the grass.

Whether the installers decide to drill holes in the concrete or they apply some other method so that rainwater gets syphoned away from the lawn and drained into a ditch or through a permeable surface nearby – failure to do so will result in an annoyingly overwet artificial turf sooner or later.

Last but not least, using the wrong type of infill (especially sand) may clog up the drainage holes over time. So, it’s always best to choose a specialist, who knows what they’re doing, if you want to avoid drainage mishaps with your green investment in the future.

What can bad drainage lead to?

  • Bad drainage can make your artificial turf unstable.
  • The appearance of little slopes or grades can be also the result of poor drainage.
  • You can lose the turf’s initial look, because excess liquid can deform it.
  • Water can unlevel some parts of the artificial lawn.
  • Mould, mildew and weed growth are encouraged, due to the high moisture levels.
  • The lifespan of you fake grass is cut in half.

If you are wondering how to fix the problem, we have some bad news – there is nothing you can do about it after the grass has been installed. Of course, you can always try to install a drainage system, which involves a lot of digging. Your other option is to buy brand new grass and get it placed correctly this time, which isn’t very budget-friendly now, is it?

If you don’t want any drainage problems, make sure to think ahead of time. Invest in a good professional company that will do the job the right way, so you spare yourself the hassle of trying to figure out how to fix the issue one rainy day.

Learn what artificial turf solutions we offer by visiting our main website.


  • Artificial lawns require little to no maintenance.
  • It is important to get your fake grass properly installed to avoid any problems.
  • Drainage issues can be caused by a badly installed base, turf laid over a hard surface, and using the wrong kind of infill.
  • Bad drainage can lead to an unstable, uneven lawn, and mould and mildew problems.
  • Invest in a professional company to be sure you won’t have any lawn issues.


We hope you found this article helpful and if you have had any sort of experience with artificial grass drainage problems, feel free to share it below in the comment section.

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