Laying Garden Turf
Tips and advice on laying new garden turf
Typical costs for a new lawn using turf
Things to consider when buying new turf
When creating a new lawn there only really two choices if you want real grass, you either buy ready grown turf or you attempt to grow a new lawn from scratch using seed. Turf is pretty easy to lay and creates a new lawn almost immediately, though it will take 3 to 6 weeks before the grass is fully established. Whereas when you grow a lawn you are looking at 6-12 months before you have a usable lawn, assuming you choose the right seed and the soil is good. But on the other hand grass seed is considerably cheaper than turf! When it comes to seed versus turf arguments, even the professionals have different views. Typically, the best golf courses in the world are grown from seed, but the best sports fields are turfed!
Laying a lawn from turf is certainly quicker and for those with children or pets, it is usually the better option, as you only need to keep them off the lawn for a couple of a couple of days! But even tough the actual laying of turf is pretty quick, the soil preparation can be labour intensive, but is just as important as choosing the right turf. Turf is best laid in the Autumn as a general rule, but you can lay it right up to late winter as long as the soil is not too wet or frosty. Alternatively, you can lay it in the Spring but the turf may need careful watering in any dry spells over the summer months.
Good preparation is the key to a successful lawn, weeds have to be cleared (with perennial weeds eliminated using weedkiller) and the soil has to be free of clods and stones. The site should be dug to a depth of around 9 inches with some well-rotted manure dug in to hold moisture. This should be left for at least a few days to settle, then finally hand remove any further weeds that have germinated and level the surface by raking before applying general purpose fertiliser.
Laying the actual turf is pretty straightforward, most of the labour involved is in the actual preparation.
Doing it Yourself
Laying turf as a DIY project is not complicated and requires no special equipment, nor are there any major safety concerns, unlike many other DIY tasks! You can lay the turf all year round as long as you avoid frosty conditions and are prepared to water the turf in any dry periods. Only some basic tools are needed, a wheelbarrow to get the turf into position (turf is heavy), a rake to level the soil, a long knife to cut the turf to size/shape, a spade to dig out the area in preparation, some planks to avoid walking directly on new turf, plus a garden hose or a sprinkler can to water the new turf once laid.
If you already have a lawn which you are unhappy with, then this needs to be removed before you do anything else. Removing an existing lawn is best done using a proprietary weed killer for killing grasses. Most weedkiller products used in this way will need to be left for around 2 weeks afterwards before proceeding. Once the weedkiller has done its job, you can remove the existing turf and dispose of it correctly in a local authority recycling centre.
You start by preparing the soil at least a few days prior to the new turf arriving (a few weeks is even better), turning over to around 8-10 inches deep when fairly dry, then raking to achieve a fine tilth. Add some base starter fertiliser to the soil following the manufacturer’s instructions then rake the soil smooth again ensuring no stones, weeds or other debris. 48 hours before the turf arrives, thoroughly water the soil so that it is damp to the touch at a depth of 2-3 inches. Turf needs sunlight, air, water and nutrients to grow. Correct preparation, though hard work, will greatly affect the eventual quality of the lawn by helping the roots penetrate evenly and deeply while getting all the nutrients they need. This will lead to a denser grass which helps to crowd out weeds and gives a more even look.
Lawn and turf tips
- Laying lawn turf is more expensive than sowing grass seed, but the benefits outweigh the cost
- Creating a new lawn with turf is easy if you pick the right time of year
- A standard piece of turf covers one square metre and can be ordered from a reputable supplier and delivered straight to your garden
- Do not to walk on newly laid turf for several weeks until it has rooted properly into the soil
Hiring a Tradesman Checklist
- Always get at least 2 quotes before hiring.
- Never pay the full amount upfront.
- Get the quote in writing.
- For any payment you make, always get a receipt.
- On more expensive jobs, ask for references.
- Check if the tradesman is a member of any trades associations.
- Make sure the tradesman has public liability insurance.
When is the best time of the year to lay new turf?
How important is the type of soil, does it matter?
What preparation is required before buying the turf?
What type of turf should I choose?
How do I calculate the amount of turf required?
When can I mow the lawn for the first time?
Grass cutting, tidying, and mowing.
Submitted by Theo
Need a one off tidy. Trim edges sweep leaves etc. Thanks.
Submitted by Vanessa
Small front and back garden pruning small hedge very small cutting grass need to provide equipment and take rubbish away please.
Submitted by Megan
Hedge 21 x 10 foot. Trimming back. Thanks.
Submitted by Valerie
I need front and back lawns mowing while I recover from an operation, both areas approx. 10 meters square.Needs doing now then at say two week intervals for a couple of months.