Artificial turf is designed to provide a homeowner with a lawn that will remain vibrant and green no matter what time of year or what type of weather conditions are present. Part of keeping the lawn green and damage free is making sure there will be no standing water or areas where excessive moisture can remain for long periods of time. The way to accomplish that is drainage. Each type of drainage has benefits and drawbacks, but both accomplish the same goal.
Channel drainage is common in lawns that have a slight slope or grade. Before artificial turf is installed, the ground is graded and smoothed out to eliminate dips and valleys where water can collect. Once the low areas are smoothed over, small channels are created that allow water to drain at an angle towards the lowest corner or edge of the lawn. Channels are small and create and intricate network of pathways that allow the water to easily flow towards the edge where it can flow into the street, down a drain or into a roadside drainage ditch.
Channel drainage works well for smaller yards and those that slope in one direction. Channels can be as complicated as an elaborate network of small gutter-shaped pieces of tubing that allow for maximum drainage or small groves dug into the upper most layer of cover material that allows water to slowly make its way towards the edge of the lawn. Channels are extremely efficient if there are no dips or valleys that will halt the movement of the water down the slope of the artificial turf.
Artificial turf uses synthetic blades that are interlocked within a mesh backing. Blades are coated with a special covering that prevents slippage and loosening that would allow them to become dislodged from the backing. To have effective drainage, the coating must either be porous or manufactured with holes placed strategically throughout the fabric. Without the holes or porous materials, water could not drain and would sit on top of the artificial turf.
A finger system is comprised of an artificial turf carpet layer, a layer of filler and the ground cover that was used during the preparation. The carpeting must have ample drainage area to allow water to pass through. Once the water makes it through the carpet and filler, it enters into the ground cover where it seeps downward into the soil below. In some cases, there may be grooves or channels formed into the soil and filled with pea gravel or other types of stone that will allow for better drainage. The finger system refers to the small trails the water makes that lead downward into a pooling area or into the dirt itself.
Drainage is extremely important when it comes to artificial turf. Although standing water will not turn lawns brown or kill large patches of grass, it does provide an excellent breeding environment for mosquitoes and other insects. Even if there is no standing water, excessive moisture can lead to the growth of mold and mildew. Both situations can cause unsightly discolorations that will have a dramatic impact on the visual appeal of the lawn.
Whether the artificial turf is being installed on an athletic field or on a residential lawn, water management is extremely important if the homeowner wants to prevent bacteria, insects and mold from taking over the area. Finger systems and drainage channels are both efficient when used in the right situations. Talking to a lawn care professional will provide you with the information you need to make a choice as to which type of drainage system will work best in your yard.