Why turf? A new lawn by laying turf is simply the quickest way. It only takes a few weeks before your lawn looks like it’s been there for years – and can be used as if it had been. There is no need to make a special seed bed and soil preparation is easier.
You will need:
- Spade or Fork
- Manure or compost, grit, ground limestone as necessary
- Soil-testing kit
- General all-purpose fertiliser
- Sand or topsoil
- Half-moon spade or a sharp knife
Step 1: Preparation
- You can turf at almost any time of the year when weather conditions are good.
- Completely clear all rubbish, rubble, weeds and vegetation. Remove pieces of buried wood as these will produce toadstools when rotting down.
Step 2: Dig over
- Break up the soil by digging to at least 225mm (9in). Break up any compacted soil well if you suspect poor drainage.
- If the soil is poor add well rotted manure or compost. If the soil is heavy add lots of grit to improve soil structure and drainage.
- Test soil with a soil-testing kit. The ideal soil pH is between 5.5 and 6. If your soil is very acid (below pH 5) apply ground limestone at about 50g/metre squared (2oz/yard squared) to correct.
- Level the site, breaking up large lumps of soil and removing stones. Thoroughly firm the ground by walking slowly over the site on your heels. Lightly rake level.
- Top dress with a general all-purpose fertiliser. You’ll need about 50g/metre squared (2oz/yard squared). Lightly rake in.
Step 3: Order and lay turf
- Obtain turf from a reliable supplier – one that friends have used or, if not, see a sample before purchase. Inspect for quality of grass (too much coarse grass is not a good idea) and for absence of weeds.
- When the turf arrives, if weather conditions are not right for laying, open out in a shady spot and water regularly. The pieces of turf should not be left rolled up for more than 24 hours.
- Lay the turf across the area, starting at the end closest to the pile. Work along the nearest edge and lay in a brick pattern.
- Never stand on the bare soil – always stand on a plank on the turf already laid. Press the pieces of turf together as they are laid to reduce gaps.
Step 4: Trim to size
- If the pieces of turf do not fit together neatly because they have not been cut straight, don’t leave gaps, but make a clear overlap and cut along the top edge removing the surplus piece below.
- Trim the edges using a half-moon spade and plank.
- Work in a mixture of sand and topsoil along the cracks and brush over. Grass will soon root into these margins.
Step 5: Roll and mow
- A few days after laying, roll the new turf. If you have no lawn roller use a rotary mower tipped up so the blades don’t cut.
- After about a week, make a high cut, trimming no more than 1/3 off the grass blades. Thereafter lower the cut gradually but not less than 25mm (1in) for a hardwearing lawn.
- If there’s no rain, water well until the new lawn is established.
For more advice on lawns, see Lawn Maintenance.