How to lay lawn turf

Laying lawn turf is one of the simplest ways to remedy a tired, shapeless patch of grass or to create a new lawn.

You will need

  • Turf
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Spade
  • Topsoil
  • Rake
  • Sharp knife
  • Watering can or hosepipe
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Do it: March – April, September – October

At its best: June – August

Takes just: 1 weekend

Overview

Laying lawn turf is one of the simplest ways to remedy a tired, shapeless patch of grass or to create a new lawn. It may be a little more expensive than sowing grass seed, but the benefits outweigh the cost – you’ll have an instant, usable area of lawn with no weeds or moss to spoil the effect. The best time to do this is during a warm spring or autumn when plenty of rain will help the new grass establish roots in time for summer sun or winter frosts.

1. Prepare the area, levelling the ground and removing big stones. If the surface is uneven, wheelbarrow in some topsoil, pour it on top and even it out with a rake.

2. Firm the soil surface by walking up and down on it taking small, heavy steps. Fill any freshly-created dips with topsoil and compress again with your feet. Give the surface a final rake over.

3. Lay the turves on the soil, staggering the joints like brickwork. If it’s a big area, work off a plank of wood to avoid walking on the turf. Leave awkward shapes to the end before trimming the turf.

4. To create a clean edge, cut off any excess turf with a sharp knife. Bang the turves all over with the back of the rake to ensure it makes contact with the soil before giving the whole area a good water.

5. It will take a few weeks for your lawn to establish and in that time it’s essential you don’t let the turves dry out; so water it regularly. Start mowing when the grass is 2.5cm – 5cm high, never removing more than one third of the total height of the grass at a time.

Practical Tip

Spread a general-purpose fertiliser over the ground one week before laying the turf.

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