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How to lay lawn turf


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.

How to do it


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.

Our tip

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

Discuss this project

Talkback: How to lay lawn turf
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sykesj 24/11/2011 at 15:29

I have a very uneven lawn. I am thinking of using a glyosphate weedkiller to till the existing lawn and weeds, then rotovate the area, level it and then lay new turf. Would this work? And how long do I need to leave between using the glyosphate and laying the new turf? Any responses would be gratefully received.

maxandben 24/11/2011 at 15:30

I have laid new turf lawn, it is only seven days ago, it is groing very rapidly, is it too soon to mow it.

Peter Tunbridge 01/06/2013 at 13:17

Dear Adam
I wish to lay turf up to a patio or drive on two sides,
to join up with existing grass and up to a fence on the 4th side.
Should i allow 4 the thickness of the turf when making my levels of soil or make it level with the patio and then lay the turf on top.
Many thanks