Correctly Laying Lawn Turf
Read our article on Caring for Your Lawn, for more information on how to look after your turf once you have laid it, don't despair if you can't bet the perfect lawn straight away, we at whatprice have really struggled with our own terrible lawn!
- Ground preparation for turf
- Turf arrives!
- Laying the turf
- Top Turf Killers
- Caring for Your Lawn
The best times to lay turf are between March-June and September-November.
Prior to the selected turfing contractor doing the job have a good look at the area in which the turf will be situated.
When planning where to lay the turf try and leave a border near fences and walls as it is hard to cut the lawn there.
Is it a jungle? Weeds will need treating several weeks before the lawn is laid with a good biodegradable weed killer. One that will kill the root as well as the leaves such as Roundup or Tumbleweed. I know from experience that thistles in particular are real ****s when it comes to coming through the turf. Before the lawn is down you have an opportunity to get rid of them - take it! Or else you will be continuously standing on them with your bare feet as you admire your garden on a cool summers evening. Not the best thing. Have a look on the product label to see when it will be safe to lay the turf after the ground has been treated. If in doubt ask at your local garden centre.
Is it a building site? Your contractor should make sure that any rubble is raked off the surface of the ground prior to any turf being laid. Loose stones and building rubble will prevent the turves roots from making contact with the soil and could make the turf die in patches.
The top soil should then be thoroughly rotivated down to about the first 6 inches to aerate it properly. It is then raked level and gently treaded down (not whacked with a spade as I have seen on Rogue Traders!)
Your contractor will probably have ordered 5% more turf than needed, this is normal and should be included in the quote as this excess will be lost when then lawn is laid and trimmed.
Apart from exceptional circumstances the turf should arrive the same day it is to be laid. From the moment it is dug up on the 'turf farm' until 4 weeks after it is laid in your garden there is a constant battle to keep it moist enough. Failure to do means it will suffer and may die. Therefore, sitting rolled up on your drive or in the back of a truck all night is bad. If its impossible to lay the turf on the same day then it should be rolled out on your driveway (not your prepared surface) and watered to keep it moist.
Start by laying the first turf down the longest straight edge. Butt and fold the neighbouring turf next to it knowing that there will be some shrinkage and if you try and stretch the turfing at this stage you will end up with some gaps when it is bedded in.
The turf should be firmly but carefully tapped down using the back of a spade to ensure that the roots and the soil are in good contact.
If there is an obvious dip in the profile add or remove soil as necessary.
Avoid using odd small sections of turf near the edges of the lawn as these will dry out faster than you can water them and probably die.
After laying the first row, place a plank on the turf and use it to carry the next row of turf to the bare areas of soil. Do not walk on the turf or soil whilst you are laying it as it can be damaged.
Stagger the joints of the turf whilst laying; as you see bricks in a wall.
Once finished the edges can be trimmed. The correct tool being a half-moon spade.
During the first four weeks the lawn should be watered constantly. The first watering should soak the cultivated layer of top soil the turf is laid on. This is very important, as until the root system binds with the soil the turf will lose moisture at an alarming rate and can die quite rapidly if abused.
Avoid excessive walking on the turf especially at the early stages and after about two weeks give the lawn its first cut. Try and cut about one quarter of the length of the grass during each trim at this stage, progressively taking more off as the lawn matures. Just think that a grass plant partly lives via photosynthesis through its blade and chopping all of that off will severely injure or kill the plant and hence your lawn. At best it will go a very unattractive yellow for a few days. A sign that you need to get the lawnmower out more often.
Regular cutting of the grass also tends to reduce the number of weeds that grow in the lawn. Also, take note that trimming a little and often, combined with a lawn fertilizer. applied twice a year is the difference between having something that looks like a park football pitch and a bowling green.
Read our article on Caring for Your Lawn, for more information on how to look after your turf once you have laid it.
Leaving turf to long before laying
Poor soil preparation
Not enough watering of the turf
Not mowing regularly enough
Laying in too hot weather (dries out too quick)
Laying on frozen soil.
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"Top turf killers! I think that should read leaving turf too long before watering"
a literate person
"got a small garden covered in small stones want to get rid of them and put grass down and a flower bed can we use the stones for the flower bed and the put the soil ontop"
"Never laid turf before, your instruction are informative and CONCISE Thank you. "
"Sounds great and easy, but i have layed turf once before and got no joy, am about to do it again this week and am hoping this advice will help me, somehow i have a feeling it wil, so back to the dig for me for now!!"
"Thank you for a great info page i moved house 6 mnths ago and by garden is full of glass and stone , cleared most but wasn't sure what to do with the turf i've ordered which arrives tomorrow afternoon! ,so found this really helpful "
"Great help, I hope!!"
"very easy detail to follow and great help at first time for laying turf many thanks"
"very usefull and explained very well thank you angie x"
"I am a novice to turf laying and found this helpful thank you. x"
"Thanks for the page friend, its a great help, and a worthy read"
"Hi Our garden (just moved in) is a forest. We have cleared it and have hired a rotary machine to turn the earth. What else do we need before laying the turf please?"
"very useful thank you"
"Very informative article...gave me confidence to try it...."
Ann B London
"Something is digging up my lawn, what would it be and how do I stop it?"
"Easy to follow instructions.......well laid out and clear. I love gardening but have never laid turf before. This will hopefully assist in a fantastic looking lawn and give me the confidence to do it!!!"
"Thanks, that\'s very handy. I do however want to replace the terrible grass out on my front lawn, how do I do that please?"
"Never done this before so will follow guidelines you supply. Well presented and easy to follow, so looking forward to having a lovely, easy to keep lawn."
"Thanks - very helpful and clearly written - will print off and follow."
"Thank you this is exactly the information I was looking for."
"Thanks loads....excellent easily understood text....my turf is arriving tomorrow and hopefully having new knowledge i will end up with a great lawn"
"Excellent site and advice. Precise,to the point and just the information required."
"Avery good site, with brilliant advice. made laying my lawn a pleasure. I did get some good helpers which made it easier."
James C B Mowat
"the exact info i needed, thank you!"
"I have a couple of dogs. unfortunately they go on to the lawn and cock their legs etc. This causes the lawn to turn yellow and leaves patches in the lawn. what advise can you give to prevent this apart from keeping the dogs off the lawn
(Admin: It will kill the lawn in patches if not stopped. The best advice is to water it down - however the practical side of that is to catch them in the act. There are a few dog diet products on the market that say they reduce its effect but I have no first had experience of them - or my pets...)"
"i found the information that i need very quickly and very easy to understand. "
g e cox
"I have read your guide and found it very useful. My wife will be doing our front garden next week so I can give her some educated tips. Cheers!"
Ray P Southampton
"lawn turfing Should grit sand be spread over the soil before laying the turf down? "
"Excellent advice. We are laying over 450 sq m after Easter and needed some useful tips...Looks like we just got them..Thank You."
Big Muddy, Wales, U.K.
"thanks, i have recently laid a largish (500m2) lawn,following your instructions,and its come out lovely. just hope for some sunny summer weather to enjoy it in :-)"
"very helpful great site"
"fan daby dosey. brill advice i will give it a go.. thank you"
"Yep told me all I needed to know ta."
"lawn turfing sounds easy only a fool get get this wrong [ehh dhu] "
gordon f from broxburn
"A well explained and easy to follow guide, exactly what we needed. Great!"
"you make it sound simple i will find out tomorrow. "
"Thanx Top Advice"
"Thank you very much... excellent advice!"
"thank you for your help it now sounds much easy now you have explained it."
"thanks for your tips. was considering hiring a professional but i'll have a go at doing it myself."
"Thank you, for the sound, simple instructions. "
"Top Advice Thanks. "
"what a life saver this site is well done all involved "
"Thanks for the advise on here, Ive just layed 75m of turf with the help of your advice. Looking good now, doing my 1st cut tomorrow :)"
"great stuff thanks-very useful and your tips will help us achieve the perfect lawn!"
sarah and ed
"Yes it was very helpful thank you"
"Some great tips - but I have a question for you......is it possible to lay fresh turf over an exsisting part of my lawn? Some of the turf is going on fully prepared soil, but some will go over exsisting lawn - will it be ok?"
"Excellent help...Thank you x "
"thanks for some great tips. We needed help as we had never done his before"
"Exellent clear undersrandable information. I am now goingto save myself a lot of money, and do it myself! Thank you."
"Very helpful. I will print this off and follow it when my turf arrives for my first garden. Thank you."
"well ive just started my new job as a landscape gardener,and this was very helpful considering i have 40 pallets to lay in two days lol! thankyou x"
tom from cornwall
"Easy to follow straight forward instructions. Very useful and informative. Good tips and comprehensive advice."