Laying turf is the easiest way to create a new lawn, giving you a lush new lawn in just a few hours. Rolls of lawn turf cost just a few pounds each and usually comprise a mix of hard-wearing perennial rye grasses.


How to lay turf

The best time to lay turf is during spring or autumn, when rain will help the new grass establish roots in time for summer sun or winter frosts. Prepare the ground by removing weeds and raking it level, then lay the turf so it overlaps slightly. Water it well and keep watering every few days so it establishes well.

Watch Monty Don's practical video guide to laying turf, above.

Follow our step-by-step guide to laying a lawn, below.

Keep your new lawn looking in great condition with a range of lawn care kit that our experts have put to the test - from the best lawn mowers, to the best scarifiers and best aerators.

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You Will Need

  • Turf
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Garden spade
  • Loam topsoil
  • Garden rake
  • A sharp knife
  • Watering can

Step 1

How to lay turf - raking the soil level
Raking the soil level

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

Step 2

How to lay turf - firming the soil with your feet
Firming the soil with your feet

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.

Step 3

How to lay turf - laying lawn turf
Laying lawn turf

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.

Step 4

How to lay turf - cutting a clean lawn edge
Cutting a clean lawn edge

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.

Step 5

How to lay turf - mowing your new lawn
Mowing your new lawn

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.

Got some spare lawn turf?

Got some lawn turf left over? Don't waste it - find out what to do with spare turf in our Quick Tips video guide

Frequently asked questions

Help! My new turf is turning yellow and dying

Once installed, new turf should be watered thoroughly, especially around the joints, which tend to dry out more quickly than the rest of the roll. Turf can tolerate a bit of drying out but even short periods of drought will causing it to lose density, colour and become thin. If you're watering it throughly and it's still looking damaged, try spiking it. There's a possibility it has not been tamped in properly, so the water may not be going all the way down to the roots. 

What can I do with dug-up turf?

Newly dug-up turf can be composted into excellent topsoil, but you need to be patient as this can take up to two years. The easiest thing to do is to stack the turf, grass-side down, and cover with tarpauling for a year or two, until the grass has rotted. Alternatively, use old turf as a mulch in a vegetable bed – lay it upside down over the earth and cut a planting hole into it. This should suppress weeds around the plant while conserving soil moisture, while slowly breaking down into top soil. 

Help! My new turf is sinking!

Turf should always be laid on well-prepared soil that has been levelled and firmed beforehand. If this is not done then the soil can develop depressions as it settles, which can make the lawn look unsightly. To remedy small depressions, wait until the turf has started to grow and then slowly fill up the depressions with sieved topsoil, letting the grass grow through the soil before adding more, until the lawn is level. For larger patches, pull back the roll of turf over the depression, add more topsoil until the soil is level, then firm and replace the turf, watering thoroughly.