Laying turf

Laying turf to create a lawn will give you instant and beautiful results but it’s much more expensive than simply sowing grass seed. Below we’ve outlined both methods. Make sure that if you’re replacing an old lawn, the problems that have caused your old lawn to die are resolved.

Check the drainage and the evenness of the surface as these are two factors that may have caused your existing lawn to die in the first place. If you’re buying turf from a garden centre ensure you know when their deliveries are and if they have any turf in stock or coming in, on or around those delivery days. Give a thorough check of the turf you buy by rolling out a couple of turves and seeing what it looks like —  if it’s yellowing, don’t buy it. Also give the end of one turf a gentle shake to see if any of the grass comes loose. Loose grass is another sign of old turf and you shouldn’t buy it in this case either.

Once you have your turf or your grass seeds, here’s how you lay your new lawn.

Level of difficulty

Level 2: Intermediate

Things you’ll need

Gardening gloves
Compost / Fertiliser
Garden shovel
Garden rake
Lawn seed
Water sprinkler
Lawn roller
Bright coloured string lines
Humming lines

The steps to follow

1. If you’re laying turf on bad quality soil, apply compost or fertiliser to improve its condition
2. If you’re replacing the old lawn, simply cut and lift it off with a garden shovel
Note: Prepare the soil 2 or 3 months before you grow the lawn or lay turves so that the soil has time to settle.
You don’t have to throw away the old pieces of lawn. Let it rot over time and it will compost.

3. Next apply a layer of sand, about 50 cm (20 in) thick, to the area
4. Then add a layer of topsoil, about 10 cm (4 in) thick
5. Use a garden rake to rake the area and a lawn roller to level the surface
6. Now that the soil’s layered, raked, and levelled it’s ready for a new lawn. Decide if you want to grow the lawn from seeds or use turf

Laying turf

1. Purchase ready-made turves from a turf supplier
Note: If you aren’t planning to roll out the turf within two days after purchase, make sure you sprinkle it with water to keep it moist and wrap it with polythene sheets to keep in that moisture.

2. Water the soil in preparation before you lay the turves
3. Unroll the turf in one corner
4. Use a lawn roller to smooth the finish and make sure that the turf is neatly settled into the soil. Use secateurs to trim the turf if it runs over the edge of the garden
5. Next, water the new laid turf with a water sprinkler
6. Cordon off the area by stretching bright coloured string lines around the area to stop people walking on the new lawn
7. Let the new turf settle for at least two weeks before setting foot on the lawn
8. Water the lawn for about 10-15 mins every day, until the grass takes root (normally 3 weeks)

Growing a lawn from seed

1. Add fertiliser to the already prepared soil and rake it
2. Let the soil set for at least 3 weeks before you actually sow the seeds
Note: Your lawn will appear bumpy if you don’t allow enough time for the soil to settle.

3. Before you start sowing the seeds, moisten the area by watering it with a water sprinkler
4. Mix soil and seed in a bucket and start sowing
5. To evenly spread the seed over the area, take a handful of the seed mixture and sow from left to right
6. Sow the seeds a second time over the whole area
7. Encircle the area by stretching bright coloured string lines and bird deterrent humming lines between pegs to keep birds and other animals away from the lawn
8. Wait at least 3 months before the lawn germinates. During this time, remember to water your lawn. Keep it moist so the seeds won’t dry out and die
9. If you don’t see any grass growing after some time, you’ll need to rake the soil and reseed the area
10. Trim the new lawn with a lawn mower when it reaches 7.5 cm (3 in)
11. Lay fertiliser every 4 to 6 weeks after germination to keep your new lawn healthy

Please note that all our DIY guides and ‘Expert answers’ advice have been written strictly for reference only. Rated People do not accept any liability for any damage caused to an individual, property or anything else as a result of following our DIY guides and using our ‘Expert answers’ advice.

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