How to lay lawn turf

Do it:

Mar, Apr, Oct, Sep

Takes just:

a weekend

At its best:

Jun, Jul, Aug

Laying lawn turf is one of the simplest ways to remedy a tired, shapeless patch of grass or to create a new lawn. It may be a little more expensive than sowing grass seed, but the benefits outweigh the cost - you'll have an instant, usable area of lawn with no weeds or moss to spoil the effect. The best time to do this is during a warm spring or autumn when plenty of rain will help the new grass establish roots in time for summer sun or winter frosts.

You will need

  • Turf
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Spade
  • Topsoil
  • Rake
  • Sharp knife
  • Watering can or hosepipe

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Prepare the area, levelling the ground and removing big stones. If the surface is uneven, wheelbarrow in some topsoil, pour it on top and even it out with a rake.

Firm the soil surface by walking up and down on it taking small, heavy steps. Fill any freshly-created dips with topsoil and compress again with your feet. Give the surface a final rake over.

Lay the turves on the soil, staggering the joints like brickwork and overlapping them slightly. If it's a big area, work off a plank of wood to avoid walking on the turf. 

To create a clean edge, cut off any excess turf with a spade or sharp knife. Bang the turves all over with the back of the rake to ensure they make contact with the soil before giving the whole area a good water.

It will take a few weeks for your lawn to establish and in that time it's essential you don't let the turves dry out; so water them regularly. Start mowing when the grass is 2.5cm - 5cm high, never removing more than one third of the total height of the grass at a time.

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Spread a general-purpose fertiliser over the ground one week before laying the turf.

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