Updated:July 10, 2024, by

If you want to enjoy a fresh green garden all year round, then artificial grass is an excellent option. However, it’s important to know what to put under artificial grass for drainage to ensure that your outdoor space stays in top condition and free from waterlogging.

In this blog, we’ll talk you through the different materials you can use under artificial grass and how each one plays a crucial role in keeping your artificial turf in perfect shape.

If you’re looking to install artificial grass and need advice on the right grass, contact our experts at Grass Direct or request free samples to see our amazing quality for yourself!

Artificial grass needs to be complimented with proper drainage - without taking the time to ensure that water can drain correctly, your artificial grass could become waterlogged, smelly and encourage weed growth

Why Does Artificial Grass Need Drainage?

A proper drainage system is essential when installing artificial grass and can prevent a range of issues including:


This is where excess water builds up and creates pools and puddles across the lawn, making your artificial grass unusable.

Unpleasant smells

Stagnant water buildup on your turf can cause nasty smells and can also pose health risks for pets and young children.

Weed growth

Excess water can encourage new weeds and plants to grow that can protrude through your turf, damaging it and costing you money on removal and repair.

Artificial grass lifespan

A drainage system that is well-fitted will help to prolong the life of your artificial grass, keeping it free from mould and mildew and remaining strong underfoot

If you want to avoid drainage issues and increase the lifespan of your turf, check out our blog on the mistakes to avoid when installing artificial grass.

How Do I Prepare My Garden Before Installation?

Before installing any drainage systems or underlay, there are a few steps to take to ensure the ground is ready.

Remove your current turf

Remove any existing turf and weeds. You can use a shovel and weed killer combo or you can hire a turf cutter.


Compress the soil in your garden using a vibrating plate to ensure you have enough depth to add the layers for drainage. You may also need to use your shovel to dig to create extra space for any drainage materials.


If you’re working with soil, compression should be an effective method of levelling the ground. If, however, you are working with concrete or stone, and the surface is uneven, you’ll need to fill any dips or slopes or break apart the concrete to create a level surface. This will allow water to properly drain away from your turf.

For more installation tips when working on hard surfaces, take a look at our dedicated guide to laying artificial grass on concrete.

What Materials Should I Use for Artificial Grass Drainage?

When it comes to creating an effective drainage system, there are a number of different products and several steps that come together to ensure water is adequately filtered away from your turf. Here is what to put under artificial grass for drainage:

Weed Membrane

This is an essential product and the first layer of your drainage system. Our weed suppressant membrane is semi-permeable and allows water drainage into the soil whilst preventing weeds from growing through your turf.

Simply roll out the membrane across the entire span of your garden and secure it in place.

Grave or stone chipping

This is a crucial step during fake grass installation as gravel provides an essential element of stability to your garden as well as aiding water drainage. Materials like gravel or limestone chipping create a firm foundation for your artificial grass whilst also comfortably draining water.


Sand helps to create a smooth surface that evens out any harsh feelings of gravel underfoot. It can be tightly compacted to add extra support and layering for your base surface, and is excellent for draining water without moulding, rotting or losing shape.


Shock-resistant underlay is the perfect final step before installing your artificial turf. It creates an extra layer of comfort and support for areas of high foot traffic and helps to prevent injury when children have bumps and falls whilst playing.

Our underlay at Grass Direct provides an extra 10mm of protection and a final layer of drainage with pre-cut holes for water to easily pass through the soil.

For an in-depth explanation of installing drainage and artificial grass, check out our DIY installation guide to help you create the perfect garden.

Glorious Grass in All Weather with Grass Direct

Now you know how to keep your garden looking fresh and water-free, it’s time to pick your perfect turf - and there’s no better place than Grass Direct. We boast the UK's largest online selection of artificial grass and have a wide range of options to suit any budget, design or aesthetic.

Browse our bestselling grass range and find out what makes us the grass experts, or get in touch with our team and we’ll help you select the perfect product to bring new life to your outdoor area.