Can You Lay Artificial Grass on Decking?

Artificial turf can be a great option if you have children or pets running around your yard. But is it suitable for decking? How can you be sure it won’t rot?

You can lay artificial grass on wooden decking as long as it’s in good condition. A shock pad or underlay must be installed beneath the turf to provide drainage and prevent rotting. Laying fake turf on decking provides a safe, robust, and aesthetically pleasing surface that is low maintenance.

Choosing the right type of underlay is essential and depends on your personal circumstances. As well as underlay, this guide is going to show you:

  • The pros and cons of decking with fake turf
  • The most suitable type of artificial turf for decking
  • How to ensure a professional finish

7 Pros and Cons of Artificial Grass on Decking


  • Safe – Artificial grass is a soft and non-abrasive surface. Fake turf will improve grip when walking with bare feet and absorb the shock of children and pets tripping over. The turf also acts as a barrier against splinters from the decking.
  • Low-Maintenance – Fake turf is easy to clean and robust. Spilled drinks can be hosed off, and the color of the turf will bounce back without having to paint it as with decking. And turf is easy to replace if it suffers any damage.
  • Aesthetic – If done right, the synthetic grass will freshen up the look of a deck and add color to the wood. And the turf will always be at the perfect length, without having to mow it and regardless of the time of year.
  • Robust – Artificial grass will expand and shrink in the weather without tearing or cracking like wood or concrete. This type of covering copes well with UV, rain, and heatwaves.


  • Rot – Without a protective covering, fake turf can trap rainwater and moisture build-up in the decking. If the decking never gets to dry out, it will begin to rot.
  • Deck Repair – Laying turf over the decking will hide issues until things start to fall apart. Fixing and maintaining the decking will mean having to pull up the turf each time.
  • Pets – Pet urine holds ammonia, a powerful agent that bleaches decking, and the smell is near impossible to hide. Turf with an underlayer will protect the wood and is easier to spray off with a hose.

Will Decking Rot Under Artificial Grass?

The decking will need a final wood preservative treatment before laying the turf on top of it. But if a protective pad is used, the decking should last much longer than if it was in direct exposure to the weather.

Artificial turf opens the possibility of installing drainage mats. And if your decking is resting on soil, the turf and pads will prevent weeds from growing through and pulling the deck apart.

The Best Underlay for Artificial Grass on Decking

For better comfort for walking and to protect the decking, you should first lay a shock pad or an underlay before putting down your fake turf.

For home use on decking, use an underlay or pad of inches. This will offer suitable cushioning for children and pets, without the grass feeling like you are walking on a waterbed. A pad or an underlay will help with drainage and the laying of the artificial grass.

Both will help with comfort and safety, but there are differences.

Overlay Mats

Overlays are useful if you are laying fake turf over soil or crabgrass. A mat will prevent weeds from growing through the turf and level out the surface of the soil. The mats are also an effective way of padding out decking with large spacings.

Shock Pads

Shock pads are essential if you have young children that will be playing on the turf, but not good for pets as they will soak up urine. These pads can be installed in layers to offer more padding under dangerous areas like a swing or where the falling height could exceed five feet.

Best Artificial Grass for Decking

Artificial grass comes in many styles, colors, and thicknesses to accommodate a wide range of applications. Pets, children, and exposure to the elements will have a bearing on how strong and soft you need the grass to be.

The best artificial grass for decking is:

  • Short
  • Fast draining
  • Easy to maintain
  • Soft

The grass should be around one to one and a half inches thick, with a soft pile and a mix of straight and curled grass blades for more realism. Three-tone turf is preferable, with memory fibers to aid grass blade bounce-back after walking on it.

How to Lay Artificial Grass on Decking


  • Artificial turf
  • Turf adhesive
  • Seam sealer
  • Deck cleaner


  • Utility knife
  • Coarse-bristle brush
  • Hose
  • Trowel
  • Lawn roller

Step-by-Step Installation Guide

Day 1

  1. Measure – Measure the deck so that you can work out how much turf and underlay you need to buy. Add a few inches to each measurement. You want excess grass that you can cut off in a final fitting.
  2. Move – Once you have the materials, you can get on with taking all your deck furniture away. You may also need to remove fixtures from the decking so that you have a clear working area.
  3. Spray – Spray off your deck with a garden hose to remove dust and leaves.
  4. Wash – Mix your deck cleaner in a pump spray with 50% water. Spray the mix over the deck. Leave the soap to soak in for a few minutes as it will help loosen the caked-on mud.
  5. Scrub – Use a coarse-bristle brush to scrub off any mold, moss, and mud that is still clinging to the deck.
  6. Rinse – Spray off the soap with the hose again and wait for one to two days for it to dry before coming back.

Days 2-3

  1. Turf – Take the artificial turf out from its wrappings and unroll the whole of each section. Depending on the air temperature, it will take two to three hours for the turf to settle and stretch out.
  2. Measure – Check your measurements and double-check how long you need each section to be.
  3. Overlay – If you are using overlays or shock-pads, lay them down before moving on to the turf.
  4. Cut – Cut one section of grass at a time and each section a couple of inches longer than what you need so that you have room for correcting mistakes. Lay the cut sections next to each other to see if they match up.
  5. Glue – Take the turf away so that you can trowel glue onto the deck or pads. Start at the far corner of the deck and apply enough glue to lay one section of the grass.
  6. Lay – Lay a section of turf when you have enough glue down. Then lay on more glue for the next section. You want the seams of each section of turf to have a tight fit.
  7. Roller – Use a weighted roller over the turf to help with pressing it into the glue. This will also help to stretch out and pull-out wrinkles.
  8. Dry – When you feel satisfied with the fit, leave the glue to dry for 24 hours before walking on the turf so you do not disturb the placement.
  9. Trim – Once you have all the sections stuck down, you can go back and trim off overhangs and tuck in the overcuts.

Joshua Milton

I want to share everything I know about home improvement in order to help you. Whether you're a home enthusiast or an industry professional, I have the information that you need.

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