Lawncare Tips & Advice

How To Create A New Lawn From Turf

A man using a rake to clear leaves off his lawn

If you are in a hurry to create your new lawn, using turf may be the best option. It is also more convenient if you have children or dogs eager to get outside and play. Laying turf requires careful ground preparation, but once laid you only have to water it and follow your normal feeding programme. Follow our guide to learn how to lay new lawn turf and you could be sitting outdoors and enjoying your garden even sooner than you think.

Benefits of real turf for the environment:

Turf acts like a sponge, absorbing rainfall and reducing run-off. It produces oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide which is then stored in the roots of the turf. Turf, and the soil under it, is a great environment for living organisms to thrive in. These microorganisms break down dead leaves and roots that the grass plant can re-use.

When to lay real turf:

You can lay turf at any time of the year except when there is snow or frost on the ground. However, the best time is spring or early autumn when the grass will easily root and, with luck, nature will help out with the watering.

  1. Step 1. Prepare the ground

    Remove any existing turf (if there is any) and dig over the soil to a depth of 2-4”. Clear all existing weeds, roots, debris and large stones from the area.
  2. Step 2. Remove newly-germinated weeds

    As with sowing seeds, you can let the ground go fallow for 2-4 weeks so that new weed seeds can germinate. Then use a glyphosate herbicide at the correct rate so that turf has a better chance of establishing. Leave it for a couple of weeks to let the weeds die off. Finally it can be beneficial to add some soil conditioner before laying the new turf.
  3. Step 3. Remove lumps & bumps to create a smooth, level surface

    Level the surface by treading and raking over it in different directions, trying to break down soil clumps (although you don’t have to be as thorough as when seeding). When raking, try and take this opportunity to level the ground; lower any high spots and re-use that material to help fill in some low spots. Remember, a little effort now can save you a lot of time re-levelling in the future.
  4. Step 4. Boost the soil nutrition

    Before laying the turf add some general purpose fertiliser to the soil. This will help the new roots that the turf will be growing. Lightly rake over the soil one last time.
  5. Step 5. Water the ground

    The ground should be moist to help the turf to establish new roots. Water the entire area just enough to get the soil moist, not soaking wet.
  6. Step 6. Be prepared

    New turf needs to be laid as soon as possible before it begins to dry out. So make sure you have time (and help if needed) at the ready when you receive your delivery or collect your turf. You will also need a sharp knife to cut the turf and some wooden boards to stand or kneel on.
  7. Step 7. Work backwards

    You must try to avoid walking on newly laid turf. Therefore plan how you will lay the turf so that you can work backwards, always standing or kneeling on an unturfed piece of ground.
  8. Step 8. Leave the odd corners till last

    You can use up small offcuts from larger pieces when you come to fill in any little odd-shaped corners.
  9. Step 9. Water well

    Using a hosepipe and spray or a sprinkler, water the newly-laid turf. You need the water to penetrate to the soil below. Carefully lift up the corner of a piece of turf to check that the soil is moist.



Writer and expert