Turf Drainage

Learn about the drainage options that are available for artificial grass so that you can make the most informed decision for your home or business! 

What is "Turf Drainage" and How Does it Work?

Artificial grass isn’t all about aesthetics and having a more beautiful yard than your neighbors, although it is a nice benefit. Your synthetic grass needs to be functional as well, especially in the way it handles rainwater or pet urine. Those liquids need to go somewhere after coming in contact with artificial grass, and that’s where turf drainage comes into play. The backing on turf products is manufactured to drain water in different ways.

Since its advent in the mid-1960s, artificial grass has been equipped with a backing that has small holes punched in it every 4 – 6′. This hole-punch drainage system is the most common type of drainage found on turf products, and for good reason, it works. That is unless you have pets, in which case it doesn’t work very well.

Artificial grass relies on infill to keep the fibers upright and act as a ballast to prevent the turf from shifting. The most common type of infill material is silica sand, which like the hole punch backing is a tried and true component of artificial grass installations. However, as the turf ages and is exposed to wind, rain, foot traffic, etc., particles of the sand eventually make their way to the drainage holes and essentially clog them.

With a hole-punch backing, liquids tend to pool in the area between the holes in the turf’s backing. With rainwater, this isn’t a problem, but when that liquid is dog urine it can begin to develop odors. To combat this problem turf manufacturers have developed more pet-friendly turf drainage systems that are now standard on most artificial grass for dogs.

Fully permeable backings is a newer technology that allows water and dog urine to pass through any point on your turf installation. This is sometimes referred to as edge-to-edge drainage and its most commonly used in pet turf applications and areas where maximum drainage is needed like in dog runs and dog potty areas.

Proper Sub-Base & Pre-Installation Preparation Matters

We recommend and install no less than 3” of Class II Road Base on every artificial grass installation we complete. Class II Road Base is a combination of larger and smaller crush and decomposed granite, ensuring the best drainage possible. As a general rule of thumb, the larger the base material, the better the drainage.

The Two Main Types of Turf Drainage Systems

Below is a brief overview of the two most common types of turf drainage systems that you’ll come across while researching or shopping for artificial grass. Each turf backing has is advantages and disadvantages. It’s up to you to decide which turf backing you want on your artificial grass. Your turf design consultant will be able to recommend a backing based on your specific needs.

100% Permeable or Non-Perforated Backing

A non-perforated or fully permeable backing is the best type of turf drainage for pet-friendly applications. The entire backing of the turf is permeable, allowing water and pet urine to pass through any point in the turf. It’s also sometimes referred to as edge-to-edge drainage.

Fully Permeable Backing
Hole Punch Turf Backing

Hole-Punch or Perforated Backing

A perforated or hole-punch backing is the most common type of drainage found on turf products. It consists of holes that are spaced 4” – 6” apart. It’s a reliable and time-tested system for draining liquids from artificial grass. Hole-punch turf backings drain water at a rate of 50 – 300 inches of water per hour.

Ready to Begin Your Artificial Grass Journey? Let's get there, together!

It’s not always easy to find the right artificial turf company to make your dream yard a reality. At Arlington Turf Installer’s we do quality work, stick to our deadlines & have a trusted team so you never have to worry about who is working on your yard.


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