How to lay lawn turf
Laying lawn turf yourself can feel like a large undertaking that may go terribly wrong but it's actually quite simple to do and you can save a fair amount of money on contractors if you do it yourself. Follow our useful guide to lay turf and how to ensure it establishes itself after it's been laid.
When is the best time to lay lawn turf?
When considering how to lay turf, you need to first decide when laying turf is best done, laying new turf is best done when the soil is moist and warm. Autumn is the best time to lay turf as the ground is still warm from the summer and moisture levels have started to rise. It's best not to lay turf from mid-spring until the start of autumn as the heat of the sun may be too intense and cause stress to the new turf and create issues with the need for repeat watering. However, if you are willing to spend the time, and money, on watering the lawn thoroughly throughout the summer, then you can lay turf at this time.
Preparing the soil
When getting ready to lay the turf, remove any perennial weeds and ensure the roots are removed or killed too, the easiest way is to use a non-residual, systemic weedkiller.
Dig over the site to a depth of about 8 inches, remove any stones and dig in some soil improver (well-rotted manure is a good choice).
Leave the ground to settle for a few weeks, then again remove any weeds which have grown.
Levelling the surface, this is a very important step as this will determine how level the lawn will be, and when you lay turf a flat level surface is far easier than one with dips and hollows. Put your garden shoes or wellies on and tread the ground several times in different directions, then follow up by raking over to get a perfectly flat surface.
Laying the turf
Make sure you lay the fresh turf within 24 hours of buying it if you can't then unroll them to avoid discolouration.
Starting from one side or edge, lay the turf in a brick-like pattern staggering the joints. To avoid causing dips to work from boards (gravel boards or planks of wood) and don't walk on the bare soil, work facing the bare ground and kneel on the boards placed over the last row of turf laid.
After you have laid the turf you can brush over a thin layer of some topsoil, gently working into the joints to help the turf knit together and fill any minor dips or hollows.
Watering newly turfed lawns
Make sure the newly laid turf is kept moist, but don't overwater. If the weather is hot and dry make sure you water around once a week if the weather is cool but dry once a fortnight should be fine.
Mowing a newly turfed lawn
Wait until the new lawn has grown to about 2 inches in height, then set your mower blades as high as they can go and just lightly top the lawn. After this, you can mow as normal.
Can I feed newly laid turf?
New lawns can be fed to help encourage root establishment and growth, make sure you choose a feed suitable for new lawns, a soluble or liquid feed may be the best option so you can feed when you water. Always check the pack instructions and apply at the rates advised. With new lawns, less is more as overfeeding can cause damage to young grass.
Check out our video tutorials for how to achieve a great looking lawn on our YouTube channel here.