Contouring Synthetic Turf

July 31, 2023

Contouring Synthetic Turf


What’s up, everyone!? I hope you’re having a great day!

Today I want to speak with you about how you can make your installations “come alive.”

No, I don’t mean that your turf is going to start crawling or something, but it means that you can go the extra mile and contour your installations to make them look more realistic.

Contouring synthetic turf is what separates turf specialists from beginners and also for the ones that want to dominate their competitors.

“Why does synthetic turf fibers change colors when contoured?

 When synthetic turf is contoured, the dynamics of light bring multiple shades of colors, especially when different angles are created.

This dynamic creates a “natural look” in the synthetic turf installation. Contouring creates lighter and darker shades of green, and when done correctly? Its-a beautiful.

Reflection of light from all angles produces rich colors in synthetic turf. When light is introduced into the surface of the synthetic turf fibers, different color variations appear mainly due to their angle to the direction of the light.

When the fibers are faced a certain way, it changes the dynamics of its visibility. When the subgrade materials are contoured by grading slopes and small mounds, the beauty of the synthetic turf comes alive, allowing the fibers to open and close, resulting in a natural-looking surface.


I often get asked when should I go flat and when should I contour. That’s a great question!


There will be many installations where you’ll have to decide whether to grade your subgrade flat or contoured. Some clients have preferences that you should accommodate since it is their project.

There will be installations where proper drainage supersedes all requests for contouring or being flat. When you contour synthetic turf, you must understand that you are creating a slope where water runoff could possibly flood.

If the exterior of the contour is up against a wall, curbing or building you must be careful not to create an area where the runoff from contouring will cause damage.

Children’s play areas, pet runs, entrances, and exits should be graded flat due to possible trip hazards.

Commercial fronts and beautification projects are good examples of areas that contouring should be considered.


Play Areas

If you have an installation that will have children playing on the surface, I recommend grading and installing the synthetic turf flat with a proper slope for drainage. Any undulation that is present in areas where children are running may cause tripping which may cause injuries. Areas around trampolines shall also be graded flat due to the possibility of injuries caused by elevation differences in the surface.


Hardscape designs

Areas that are within hardscape designs may have to be graded and installed flat for the completion of that design.


Pet parks

A majority of Pet parks are constructed flat. Just like children, pet areas that are graded with slopes and undulation can cause injury to the animal. I do recommend having positive drainage in all synthetic turf pet areas.


Entrance & Exits

It is very important to have all entrances and exits constructed flat so that egress can be achieved without complications. Having contouring at entrances and exits may cause a “pile-up” of people if an emergency was to happen.


Commercial Installations & “Slant Perception”


There was a study done decades ago regarding “Slant Perception.”

Part of the study showed how humans were more likely to walk on level surfaces than challenge their equilibrium by walking on sloped surfaces.

This is why I recommend contouring for commercial projects when it is allowed.

The less foot traffic on public and commercial areas, the longer the synthetic turf will last beyond its warranty. It will also cut your maintenance in half.


Public Roads

There is nothing more appealing than contoured synthetic turf on public landscaped areas.


Parking lot islands

Not only will contouring keep foot traffic to a minimum but raising the center elevation brings multiple colors to the parking lot islands.

Contouring synthetic turf not only gives beauty to your installation but will showcase your craftsmanship. If you want your synthetic turf installations to be better than the competition, then go the extra mile by contouring your next project. Until next time…  “JW OUT!”

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