Follow the steps below for detailed guidance on successfully laying turf.
1. Planning your new lawn
It helps to think ahead about the shape and size of lawn you are creating, how much turf and topsoil you may need and whether you will need to order a skip to remove any old turf.
Ground preparation should be completed in advance to ensure turf can be laid out within our recommended time frames:
- Spring/summer – roll out turf immediately
- Autumn/winter – roll out within 24 hours
Laying turf is a highly time-sensitive task.
Turf can be laid all year round, however frosty conditions should be avoided and laying turf in extended periods of hot and dry weather will require additional care and attention.
Recommended tools for laying turf
Only a few tools are needed to lay turf:
- Long knife or old hand saw
- Spade or fork
- Some scaffolding planks
- Garden hose and sprinkler
You may also need a rotovator and, if you’re replacing an existing lawn, a turf cutter or weed killer.
2. Ground preparation
Preparing the ground for turf laying may take some time, but it is time well spent, to create a beautiful, healthy lawn for years to come.
Removing an existing lawn
If you have an existing lawn this needs to be removed first. We do not recommend laying turf on existing grass, as this will prevent the new turf from rooting well. It’s also possible for weeds to come through the new turf. The lawn is likely to deteriorate over time if the reason for relaying the lawn is not addressed.
You can use either of the following two options to remove an existing lawn.
- Lifting the turf – turf cutters are available from all reputable hire shops and can be used to remove an existing lawn. One of the benefits of this method is that any turf you take up can be used to make compost, either at home or by your local authority if you place it in a garden waste skip at your local household waste recycling centre.
- Weed killer – treat the existing lawn using a proprietary non-selective weed killer suitable for killing grasses. This also will help prevent weeds and weed grasses coming up through your new turf. For full effectiveness you may have to leave this for approximately 14 days.
Checking the quality and depth of your topsoil
Once the area is clear and free of weeds, ensure you have a minimum topsoil depth of 100mm, ideally 150mm, which is levelled and raked to a fine tilth.
A soil improver can be used to enhance existing soil. If you need to purchase topsoil, find out how much you will need using our product calculator.
Levelling the ground
Levelling is one part of the preparation that it’s really worth getting right to help you get the best performance from Britain’s Finest Turf. Putting in the effort now will pay dividends by creating a level and aesthetically pleasing lawn that is easier to mow and maintain.
If this is the first time you have laid a lawn, you may not realise that when the ground looks level to the eye there are likely to be areas that still need work.
Gently walking up and down the area is the best way to identify irregularities. Through your feet, you can sense the soft and hard ground, dips and raised patches, in a way that is not possible with machinery.
- Begin by digging over or rotovating the soil to loosen it up.
- Remove any surface stone, clods, other debris and perennial weeds.
- Once loosened the soil should be lightly compacted by walking over the whole area and then again at right angles to the first direction.
- Break up any heavily compacted areas using a fork and fill any dips, lightly compacting.
- Then rake the surface to a fine tilth and make sure that the surface is level.
- Do not use any heavy equipment on the prepared soil, such as roller, as this will compact the soil too much.
Ideally, you should water the soil a couple of days before your turf arrives. Ensure the soil is moist to a depth of 75mm ready to provide water to the roots of the turf. This also helps the soil to settle and it will need to be raked level again just before the turf arrives.
If you are not using our Turf & Lawn Seeding Topsoil as a base, apply a pre-turfing fertiliser to the soil, incorporating it into the top 25mm of soil, to ensure your new turf is fed properly during its establishment.
3. Laying the turf
As outlined above, it is essential to lay your turf as soon as it is delivered.
- Start laying the turf, preferably along a straight edge, butting closely end to end.
- On subsequent rows stagger the joints in brickwork fashion.
- For circular lawns start in the middle and work your way out.
- Lightly firm down the turves with the head of a rake or piece of wood to ensure good contact between the underside of the turf and the soil.
- Any remaining cracks can be filled with a light soil (Turf & Lawn Seeding Topsoil is ideal) and tamped down.
- Trim the ends of the turf with a long knife, hand saw or cutting spade to shape around any trees, paths and beds.
- Finally, where the outer edges of the new turf are exposed, cover with a light soil to prevent them drying out. This can be removed after a few weeks, once the turf is more established.
Important points to remember:
- Planks should be placed on your newly laid turf for walking along and working from to ensure the prepared soil remains level.
- Never use a roller on freshly laid turf as this can cause compaction if used incorrectly.
- Always push turf into a joint; never stretch the turves by pulling them.
- Turf must not be allowed to dry out. In hot weather try to start watering areas laid first prior to completing the whole area, then continue to water regularly.
Caring for your new turf
Follow our guide to caring for newly laid turf to ensure your new turf establishes quickly for a beautiful and healthy lawn.
Over time, the appearance of your lawn will be affected by its environment and treatment. A healthy lawn requires the right balance of air, food, water and light which can be achieved with an appropriate lawn maintenance programme. For a comprehensive guide please see our Lawn Care pages.