How To Lay Turf: [An Ultimate Guide]

Transforming your lacklustre lawn into a lush green oasis is a wise decision. In this guide we will teach you how to lay turf.

But before you get your hands dirty, it’s crucial to understand that laying turf is not as simple as it may seem.

This guide will walk you through the step-by-step process and share important tips and tricks to ensure your turf laying endeavor is a resounding success.

Whether you’re planning to patch a small area or cover a larger space in your back garden, this comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge you need to know how to lay turf like a pro.

From essential preparation steps to the right tools for the job, and crucial aftercare guidance to maintain a healthy lawn, we’ve got you covered.

So let’s dive straight in and unlock the secrets to achieving a flawless, envy-worthy lawn!

The Benefits Of A Lawn

A lawn is more than just a natural and aesthetically pleasing addition to a property. In fact, there are many surprising benefits to having a lawn and turfed areas that can enhance both the appearance and functionality of your outdoor space.

  • Cooling Effect: One such benefit is the cooling effect that natural turf can provide. In hot weather, natural turf can stay up to 30 degrees cooler than harder landscaping surfaces, helping to create a more comfortable outdoor environment.
  • Air Quality/Oxygen: Another benefit of having a lawn is its ability to improve air quality and produce oxygen. Natural turf has the unique ability to absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the atmosphere. In fact, a healthy lawn measuring 250 square meters can produce enough oxygen for a family of four. Additionally, turf is effective in trapping dust, further contributing to improved air quality.
  • Absorbs Water: Turf is also excellent at absorbing rainfall and slowing down the flow of water to prevent flooding, making it a practical addition to any outdoor space. Beyond its functional benefits, a lawn can also have a positive impact on emotional wellness. Studies have shown that natural green spaces, such as lawns, can reduce stress by lowering blood pressure and heart rate, providing a peaceful and calming environment.
  • Adds Value: Adding green space, such as turf, to a property can also increase its value, making it a worthwhile investment for homeowners. Finally, it’s worth noting that lawns have a self-cleaning surface through the growing and respiring process, providing a hygienic environment for outdoor activities and relaxation.
  • Stress Emotional Wellness: Natural green spaces have been proven to reduce stress by lowering blood pressure and heart rate.

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What Time Of Year Is Best To Lay Turf?

The ideal time to lay turf is during early spring or early to mid-autumn when the soil quality is at its best. It’s important to avoid laying turf when the soil is too wet or when there is frost on the ground.

Lawn Planning And Preparation

Before purchasing turf, it’s crucial to plan out the entire process, including taking accurate measurements and ensuring you have all the necessary tools for the job. Let’s delve into the details of lawn measurements to ensure you get the right amount of turf.

Lawn Measurements

Calculating exactly how much turf you will need can prevent you from purchasing too much or too little turf.

Here at Turfworld, our turf is available in 1 SQ meter rolls. Use our turf calculator which will tell you exactly how many rolls you will need to order, based upon your measurements.

How To Measure A Square Or Rectangular Lawn

For square or rectangular lawns, simply measure the length and width in meters, and multiply the two numbers together to calculate the area.

For instance, if the measurements are 12 meters by 12 meters, the area would be 144 square meters (12 x 12 = 144).

Alternatively, you can use our turf calculator, which will provide you with the exact amount of turf to order based on your measurements.

How To Measure A Circular Lawn

Measuring a circular lawn requires determining the radius, which is the straight line from the centre of the circle to the outside.

Multiply this number by pi (3.142) to calculate the area of the circular lawn.

How To Measure An Irregular Lawn

Measuring an irregular lawn can be done by dividing it into smaller squares and circles using the aforementioned methods, and then adding the calculated areas together to obtain the overall area.

In some cases, an educated guess may be necessary for certain areas, and it’s advisable to order 5% more turf than required to account for any discrepancies.

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Recommended Tools For Laying Turf

Here is a list of some the required tools needed to successfully lay turf:

  • A sharp spade or turf cutting tool
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Rake
  • Garden fork
  • Gardening gloves
  • Hose pipe
  • A sharp knife
  • Some scaffolding planks
  • Topsoil (if required)
  • Weed killer (if required)

How To Remove An Existing Lawn

Ground preparation is a crucial step that requires time and effort, but the end result is a healthy and successful lawn that you can enjoy for years to come.

Laying fresh turf onto an existing lawn is not recommended, as it can hinder proper rooting.

Therefore, if you have an existing lawn, you will need to remove it before laying new turf. There are several methods you can use for this purpose.

Method 1: How To Dig Up A Lawn using A Shovel

  1. Start by mowing your lawn and setting your mower to the lowest setting.
  2. Water the lawn thoroughly and wait for a couple of days to allow the soil to soften.
  3. Use a shovel to cut the turf into long strips, about 4 inches deep.
  4. Water the area again with a hose.
  5. Keep an eye on the area over the next couple of weeks and remove any weeds that appear.

Using a sod cutter:

Alternatively, you can use a sod cutter on your lawn. Use the sod cutter to cut sections that are 12 to 18 inches wide.

  • Roll up each cut section with the grass side down and relocate it.
  • Spread about 2 to 4 inches of compost on the grass-side-down sod.
  • Till the soil with a rototiller once the sod has turned brown and dried.

Using a rototiller:

A rototiller is a machine that churns up turf and topsoil to a depth of around 5 to 6 inches.

  • Make around two passes on each section of the lawn in an overlapping manner.
  • Once completed, spread about an inch of compost and till it into the soil.

Method 2: Solarisation

This technique is particularly effective in regions with warm and sunny weather conditions. Here’s a step-by-step guide to the solarisation process:

  1. Begin by mowing your lawn, making sure to set your mower to the lowest cutting height.
  2. Thoroughly water the grass using a hose, ensuring that the entire lawn is evenly moist.
  3. Cover the entire lawn with plastic sheeting, and use rocks or other weights to anchor the sheeting in place.
  4. Leave the plastic sheeting in place for a period of four to eight weeks, taking into account that the process may occur more quickly in warmer and sunnier weather.
  5. After the designated timeframe, carefully remove the plastic sheeting, taking care not to damage the underlying soil.

Pro tip: If you’re attempting solarisation in cooler weather, you can still achieve success by using black plastic sheeting instead of clear plastic. This blocks sunlight and prevents photosynthesis, effectively killing off the existing lawn.

Checking The Depth And Quality Of Your Topsoil

Optimal topsoil depth should ideally range from 100mm to 150mm, and it should be levelled using a rake for an even surface.

If your existing soil needs improvement, a soil improver can be utilized to enhance its quality.

For additional topsoil needs, we recommend our TS1 Top Soil, which is of premium quality and suitable for various landscaping applications.

Levelling The Ground

Ensuring that the ground is level is crucial to achieve the best results with your new turf.

Even though the ground may seem level to the naked eye, there may be hidden uneven areas that require attention.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to level the ground effectively:

  1. Loosen the soil by either digging or rotovating to create a soft and workable surface.
  2. Remove any debris, such as stones or weeds, to ensure a clean and clear ground.
  3. Compact the soil by walking over the entire area, avoiding heavy equipment like rollers that may cause over-compaction.
  4. Fill in any dips or hollows with additional soil to create a smooth and even surface.
  5. Continuously rake and fine-tune the soil until it is finely leveled and free of any irregularities.
  6. Water the soil a few days prior to the arrival of your turf to ensure it is adequately moist.

By following these steps diligently, you can create a level and prepared surface for laying turf, ensuring optimal results for your landscaping project.

Ordering Turf

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Once you have completed the prepping process, you are now ready to order your turf.

You can order turf Here at Turfworld where we supply high quality turf to both trade businesses and public customers.

Use our turf calculator on the product page to work out exactly how many rolls of turf you will need for your project.

For best results, we always advise to lay the turf as soon as possible, especially during warmer months.

Need extra soil with your turf? Check out our quality Screened Top Soil TS1.

How To Lay Turf: Step-By-Step

Let’s take a look at the step-by-step process on how to correctly lay turf.

Step 1

To begin, it’s best to start laying the turf from a straight edge of your garden, such as a border or a plank. If there isn’t a border, you can leave some excess on the first roll, which can be trimmed later with a long-bladed garden knife.

Gently press the turf into the ground using both hands, ensuring a snug fit. For circular lawns, start from the middle and work your way out, maintaining a smooth and even surface.

Step 2

Continue laying each roll of turf directly after the next, ensuring that the edges are parallel and closely butted up against one another.

Use both hands to prevent any gaps between the rolls, creating a seamless appearance.

Repeat this process until you have finished an entire row, maintaining precision and attention to detail.

Pro Tip: To prevent leaving footprints on your newly laid turf, use a board to stand on while working, ensuring a pristine and professional finish.

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Step 3

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Now, it’s time to work on the next row of turf, and the key here is to stagger each patch of turf next to the previous row.

By doing so, the middle of the patches should line up with the seams from the previous and next row, creating a visually appealing brickwork design.

This not only ensures a more even coverage but also prevents the turf from drying out, maintaining its health and vitality.

Step 4

Continue the above steps until you have covered the entire area. At this stage, there are two important tasks to be done:

  • Perfecting Your Lawn: Take a sharp knife or spade and carefully trim and clean up any excess turf along the edges to achieve a polished and pristine appearance.
  • Pack Down The Turf: Use the back of a rake or spade to gently press down on each patch of turf, starting from one corner and going over each row. This helps to establish good contact between the turf and the soil, promoting healthy root growth.

Step 5

Proper watering is crucial for the success of newly laid turf. It’s important to thoroughly water the turf on the same day it is laid to help the roots establish and prevent drying out.

However, be mindful not to overwater, as it can cause the turf to separate from the soil beneath.

The correct approach is to water until it begins to puddle, allowing the water to soak in and be absorbed by the soil below.

Laying Turf To A Curve

If you are laying turf on a circular lawn or to a curve, the process is similar to that of a rectangular or square lawn.

The only difference is that you will need to slightly overlap the patches of turf until they conform to the curve.

Trim any excess turf until you have a clean and seamless curve.

Aftercare: How To Care For Your New Lawn

Caring for your lawn in the weeks following installation is crucial to ensure its successful establishment and long-term health.

Keep Off The Grass

One key aspect of aftercare is to avoid walking on the new turf for approximately 2 to 3 weeks, including keeping pets off the grass.

This allows the roots to firmly establish in the soil without any disruption.

How to test that the turf is rooted:

To test if the turf has rooted properly, gently lift a corner of the turf.

If it lifts easily, it may not have rooted properly, but if it doesn’t move, then the rooting process has been successful.

Watering

Proper watering is also essential for the success of the new lawn. The frequency of watering depends on the time of year and weather conditions.

  • The First Week: During the first week, it is recommended to water once per day under normal weather conditions, twice per day during hot weather, or if there’s heavy rain during the day, watering once per day is enough during spring and autumn months.
  • Weeks 2 – 3: In weeks 2 to 3, watering around 2 to 3 times a week is sufficient.
  • Weeks 4 – 6: In weeks 4 to 6, the frequency can be reduced to 1 to 2 times per week.
  • Best Time To Water: The best time to water is in the evening or early morning to ensure that the water is fully absorbed by the soil and not evaporated by the sun.
  • Signs Of Dying Turf: If you notice signs of dying turf such as curling or browning, it’s important to water immediately to prevent further damage.

Feeding

Feeding your lawn is a crucial step in maintaining a healthy and vibrant turf. Here are some tips:

  • If you used pre-turfing soil or fertiliser, your lawn will typically not need feeding until 6-8 weeks after installation.
  • During the growing season, which is typically spring, summer, and autumn, it’s recommended to use a balanced fertiliser on your lawn every four to six weeks. This will provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and development.

Mowing

When it comes to mowing your newly laid turf, it’s important to follow proper techniques.

  • Before you mow your lawn for the first time, ensure that the turf has fully rooted by gently lifting a corner of the turf. If it lifts easily, it may not have rooted properly yet.
  • If your turf has been laid in the summer, it’s generally best to mow your lawn within 1-2 weeks of installation.
  • To avoid stressing the grass on the first mow, set your lawn mower to the highest setting and ensure that the blades are sharp.
  • During spring, summer, and autumn, it’s important to mow the lawn regularly to maintain an optimal height.
  • During winter months, grass growth slows down, so only mow the grass if it’s visibly growing.
  • As your lawn becomes fully established, you can gradually reduce the height of the cut to achieve your desired lawn height.

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Ready To Order?

Now that you’re well-versed in the correct process of laying turf and caring for your lawn, it’s time to place your order and bring your vision to life!

After removing your existing lawn and thoroughly prepping the area, you can now order your turf with confidence.

It’s crucial to have all the necessary supplies and materials on hand before starting the installation process.

How To Lay Turf Conclusion

In conclusion, with careful planning and preparation, you can easily install a new lawn on your own and enjoy the numerous benefits of having a lush and vibrant turf.

Remember to follow the step-by-step instructions in our comprehensive how-to guide for laying turf, and utilize the aftercare tips to ensure a healthy and thriving lawn in the end.

Your beautiful lawn awaits!

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