What’s the Best Base Material for Artificial Turf?

The Best Base for Artificial Turf: Your Questions Answered


When installing artificial turf in your yard, it is not as simple as unrolling the turf and placing it over top of your natural lawn. Instead, there is prep work that needs to be done to ensure your synthetic grass is installed correctly and maintains its luxurious appearance. Before enhancing your lawn with artificial turf, you need to remove the natural lawn or whatever material is on the ground to create a clear and solid foundation for application. After leveling out the area of installation, you need to install a base material for artificial turf.

This base material, also known as a sub-base, is a layer that goes between the ground and the synthetic turf to create a level and stable structure. Do you need to install a sub-base? Are there multiple materials for laying artificial grass? What is the best base layer artificial grass? Keep reading for the answers to all these artificial lawn base questions and more.

Professional-grade sub-base is an important element to have in place for any outdoor surface installation, from stone pavers to artificial grass surfaces.

Do I Need to Install Artificial Grass Base?

Yes! While there are likely instances where someone installed artificial turf without a sub-base underneath, it is not recommended.

Without an adequate layer between the ground and the synthetic lawn, the turf will not have enough stability to withstand the movement in high traffic areas or the weight of outdoor furniture. Without a sub-base, you may find yourself with a sinking lawn, which can eventually lead to drainage problems and pooling water.

However, if you are installing your artificial lawn over paving, decking, or concrete, instead of your existing natural lawn, your project may not require a sub-base because of the stable foundation underneath. Even so, many homeowners still opt for an artificial grass sub-base to add layers of cushion and increase the comfort beneath their feet. The best sub-bases for artificial grass will not only increase the lifespan of your investment but also maximize the benefits of installing artificial turf in the first place.

At a bare minimum, we recommend installing a weed barrier in any applicable areas to prevent encroaching plant life. Just remember to ensure it’s perforated so water can properly drain!

The reasons why a sub-base is so important:

  1. Increases the durability and longevity of your turf, especially in high-traffic areas.
  2. Prevents the environment & plant life from “reclaiming” your installation area.
  3. Adds a level of comfort and aesthetic appeal to your artificial turf installation.
  4. Ensures proper drainage for any water or rainfall.

What Are The Different Types of Artificial Grass Sub-Base?

Now that it is clear why you must install a sub-base for your artificial lawn, you may find yourself wondering: “What base do I need for artificial grass?” or “What base material for artificial turf is best?”

While only you can determine the best sub-base for artificial grass in your backyard, it is important that you do your research to understand the different materials available. Artificial turf sub-base materials are broken down into three main categories:

  • CMB: Made of recycled asphalt or concrete and a ¾ inch mixture of sand, gravel, or sand, a crushed miscellaneous base is an ideal option to lay between the ground and your artificial turf.
  • Class II road base: Another option is Class II road base which goes through a rigorous testing process to ensure that it provides you with optimal consistency and durability. Because of this testing process, it often runs at a higher price point than CMB.
  • DG: Decomposed granite is a sub-base composed of granite sand, gravel, and clay mixed together to create a stable and structurally sound layer for your synthetic lawn.

Of these three sub-base materials, CMB is the most commonly selected because of its cost-effectiveness and durability.

While it is the most popular, it necessarily does not mean it is the best choice for your backyard. Each variation of artificial grass sub base comes with its own pros and cons, and what we recommend will likely depend on a number of factors specific to your project or your lawn.

In short? Consult with an artificial grass lawn installation company before deciding on the best sub-base material for your project.

How Much Sub-Base Is Required?

Before installing your synthetic lawn, you need to acquire the necessary materials — and that includes a sub-base. But how much sub-base do you need for the job? Well, that depends on how much of your yard you plan to transform with artificial turf. Although the sub-case needed can vary, we have put together a general guideline to get you started in the right direction:


  • A minimum of 2 inches of sub-base is recommended for residential turf installation. This offers enough of a base for drainage, durability, and added stability.
  • For commercial turf installation jobs, you will likely need closer to a 3 inches to 4 inches sub-base due to the higher volume of foot traffic.


To ensure you have procured the proper amount of sub-base, consult a turf installation professional. If you are looking to install artificial grass in your backyard but are unsure where to get started, look no further. Our skilled team can guide you through the synthetic turf installation process and recommend the best sub-base material for your landscape — providing you with fake grass that will look great for many years to come!


Contact us for a free estimate or learn more about installation services.