Before you get started

When plants spill out of a border, onto the lawn, it can make mowing difficult. If you border the lawn with brick or slabs, set just below the level of the grass, this won't be a problem. You won't need to maintain neat grass edges to beds either.

With rolls of turf you can quickly make an instant lawn as a green backdrop to flowers and foliage. It is simple to maintain and the perfect place to relax and entertain.

The lawn is often the focal point of a garden and an important element of garden design, but it is relatively easy to prepare and maintain a good-looking lawn and make the garden look better than ever.

Rolls of turf are heavy, particularly if they contain a lot of moisture. You may need help lifting them into position.

Lawn edges that border walls or fences are not easy to cut with a lawnmower, so consider buying a strimmer to keep edges neat. Alternatively, for small lawns, some garden shears will do the job just as well. Long-handled edging shears are useful to avoid bending over.

Consider laying paths on the more walked on routes across the lawn. The grass in well-trodden areas is always fighting to survive and a path or stepping stones may be the solution, and will also add another feature to the garden.

Lay turf

1

Remove existing grass with a spade, before digging or rotivating the area to be turfed to a depth of about 15cm. Clear remaining stones and weeds.

2

Rake the ground to smooth the surface then firm with your feet or with a roller. Repeat the process until the ground is level and the soil is firm.

3

To establish turf more quickly, spread granular pre-turf fertiliser over the prepared soil – about 70g per square metre – and rake it in lightly.

4

Measure out and mark the boundaries of the intended lawn area with a line strung between metal pins, or use some wooden pegs if you prefer.

5

Make sure the soil is level with adjacent hard surfaces like paths and patios before you lay turf so that you will be able to mow up to them easily.

6

Lay the long edges of turf against the boundary line. Then cut the turf to fit with a long-bladed knife or lawn edger.

7

Work from a straight side, on a board placed on turfs you have already laid, to lay turf across the site. Butt edges and stagger joints so that there are no gaps.

8

When all the turf is laid, you can peel back the turf to fill any hollows with fine topsoil and gently brush topsoil into any gaps you may have left.

9

Tidy edges with a long-bladed knife or lawn edger. Curved edges are easily marked with a hose pipe or trail of kiln-dried sand.

10

A proper, thorough watering immediately after laying will help establish the turf and ensure that the lawn flourishes for years to come.

Maintain a lawn

1

Grass needs nutrients. Apply granular feed, weed and mosskiller twice a year, accurately by hand, or with a purpose-made spreader.

2

In small areas, liquid feed will instantly boost the lawn, as well as promote vigorous root growth and improve its general health.

3

The lawn will recover quickly and look fantastic if you remove dead moss with a wire rake or scarifier after applying a moss control product.

4

After raking, apply 20g per square metre (about a handful every two square metres) of grass seed, to thicken the lawn.

5

Spike compacted lawn with a garden fork to a depth of 6cm at 30cm intervals to prevent poor growth, weed invasion and moss.

6

Top dressing is not essential but really improves the look of the lawn. Apply a spadeful every square metre and brush in if you have spiked the lawn.

7

If you have a rotary or cylinder mower with adjustable cutting heights, keep the first cuts of the season high. Reduce this as the season progresses.

8

When grass is growing fast, cut it once or twice a week, if possible at right angles to the previous cut. Mow less often in dry weather.

9

Close mowing – leaving less than 10mm – deprives grass roots of nutrients. Grass that is cut higher needs less cutting and is more drought resistant.

10

Trim grass edges once a year with a lawn edger, preferably in the spring, to neaten edges and stop it from spreading beyond its borders.