Are you wondering whether you need a drainage system when buying artificial grass?

If you have bad drainage, you may be concerned that you need to invest in a drainage system along with your new artificial grass – which could be costly.

As an experienced artificial grass installer, I can say that most of the time, that won’t be the case.

Let me explain why, below.

Do you need to buy a separate drainage system?

As I suggested above, in most cases, you shouldn’t need a drainage system when buying artificial grass. This is because artificial grass comes with its own – very effective – drainage solution.

Good quality artificial grass is designed to be a fully permeable surface, allowing water to drain through the grass. But, it depends on the way it’s installed.

Most reputable installers will carry out a full excavation of the existing surface, before installing a fully porous system on top of the soil sub-base. The amount of permeable sub base applied will depend on how bad your drainage is.

Saying that, this method of installation can solve most drainage problems. You can read our blog post to find out more about why artificial grass is so effective at solving garden drainage problems.

TIP: In very severe cases, you may need to install a drainage system before installing artificial grass. However, we’ve never come across this issue in over 8 years.

A client’s garden before we replaced their lawn with artificial grass

Will all artificial grass be fully permeable?

Unfortunately, not all artificial grass companies and landscapers will carry out artificial grass installations to the above standard. They may not do the proper preparation, dig down far enough, or put in the correct sub base for your garden.

We’ve even seen some companies put artificial grass on top of existing grass – for disastrous results! This will not solve your drainage problems. In fact, you may need to get it re-done, resulting in extra expense and stress.

TIP: The only instance where artificial grass can be installed on top of an existing surface is when you have concrete slabs or paving. The existing slabs would need to be level and in good condition, with a shockpad layer installed beneath the grass to ensure a softer surface. This solution would also not solve drainage problems, as the water will have nowhere to drain.

If artificial grass isn’t installed correctly, it will affect the life expectancy of your grass. You may get puddling in areas, the ground could appear unlevel, and the grass may flatten and look tired. Companies may still offer a guarantee with their works, regardless of the solution they use, so always check what the guarantee will involve.

The client’s garden after we had installed their new artificial lawn

Advice from an experienced artificial grass installer

Remember that every situation is different, so it’s best to get an assessment by a professional installer. They should be able to give you advice on which solution is best for you.

As an example, we had a customer once who was unsure of the installation process. She thought she would need a drainage system along with artificial grass. This was because drainage had been a huge problem for a friend.

She was worried about the cost of having to invest in a separate drainage system for her muddy, wet garden. However, after assessing the property, we advised that her drainage wasn’t terrible and that an artificial grass installation would be sufficient enough for the job.

She was elated by the news, and we were able to install artificial grass on her property without any issue.


Thanks for reading. In summary, artificial grass is not a drainage system, but is a drainage solution that when installed correctly can help to combat drainage problems.

By doing the full excavation of the existing surface and assessing the existing conditions, the installer will be able to determine how much sub-base they’ll need to address the severity of the drainage problems at your home.

However, in very extreme cases, you may need to install a separate drainage system. Saying that, we’ve never had to do this in over 8 years of fitting artificial grass.

It’s also worth noting that not all installers will carry out an artificial grass installation the same way. You should always read online reviews and customer testimonials, and if possible, ask to see past examples of a company’s work.

Do you have any questions about artificial grass drainage? Let me know in the comments – I promise to reply!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.