How to lay turf
Laying a new lawn
A lovely soft lawn, ideal for play and relaxation, is the centrepiece of a garden. It forms a foundation around which borders, flower beds, shrubs and paving can be planted or built. Fortunately it’s relatively simple to lay down turf, providing the area has been thoroughly prepared. If you follow a few key steps you will end up with a lawn that lasts a lifetime.
When is the best time to lay turf?
Turf can be laid all year round, with a couple of exceptions. Avoid laying turf during a hot dry spell, or onto frozen ground. The turf won’t bind with the soil, it won’t take up moisture, and will dry out pretty quickly. Spring and summer are the best seasons to lay turf. It’s very important that your soil preparations are complete beforehand, as turf must be unrolled and laid within 24 hours of arrival.
How to plan your lawn
If you’re laying a completely new lawn, it’s always best to plan it out. Think about how the finished lawn will look, how it will complement the rest of the garden, and how it will affect any flower beds or paving areas you want to include. Are there dry or shady areas where the turf is less likely to flourish?
Like all plants, grass relies on the water and nutrients it can draw up from the soil, so buying excellent quality turf isn’t necessarily enough to ensure a healthy lawn. Grass roots are shallow, but the soil still needs to be well prepared, so the grass draws up moisture from deeper down.
To find out what kind of soil you have, dig a test hole to check. If your soil is very sandy or free draining, add some compost or manure to help retain moisture. Alternatively, add some water-saving gel or capsules to the soil. If you have heavy clay soils, then work in some sharp grit and compost to help with drainage.
How much turf will I need?
It’s relatively simple to calculate how much turf you need. Measure the length and width of the area to work out how many square metres you need (turf is usually sold in square metres). If you’re working on a large area, or one with irregular or curved edges, then it’s helpful to divide the area into smaller rectangles and add the total area of those rectangles together. When you order your turf, factor in an extra 5-10% for wastage.
Do I need topsoil before laying turf?
Adding a lawn establishment fertiliser and water to your soil prior to laying the turf will help encourage root growth and establishment. If you are concerned about the quality of your soil, then you can add some topsoil as a suitable base for your turf. It’s advisable to consult your turf provider for expert advice on how to prepare your soil to create the ideal conditions.