Rolls of lawn turf

How to prepare ground for a new lawn

Find out the best way to prepare your soil for sowing grass seed or laying turf, with help from this practical guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do To do in March

Do To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do not To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do not To do in December

Spring and autumn are the ideal time of year to make a new lawn. The method is the same for sowing lawn seed and laying turf.

Read our top lawn care tips.

Opt for seed if you’re happy to wait a few weeks for it to grow, if you’ve got a ‘trouble spot’ such as shade or poor soil or if you’re after a bowling green-perfect sward.

Laying turf is a good choice if speed matters more to you than cost; quality turf can cost 10 times as much as the equivalent amount of seed. Turf works well if you’re on a slope, and if you want a lawn that’s very tough and durable.

Whichever method you decide on, prepare the ground in dry weather, but when the soil is moist. Here’s how to do it.

Spring and autumn are the ideal time of year to make a new lawn. The method is the same for sowing seed and laying turf.

You will need

  • A spade
  • A fork
  • A rake
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Total time:

Step 1

Dig the area thoroughly to the depth of a spade to invert and bury weeds. Remove the roots of perennial weeds.

removing-perennial-weeds-2

Step 2

Break down large lumps of soil, then use a fork to roughly level the area. On heavy clay, add 1-2cm of coarse sand.

using-a-fork-to-level-the-area-2

Step 3

Shuffle back and forth across the surface, using your heels to firm the soil. Use a rake to break it down to a finer tilth. Check it’s level.

firming-the-soil-2

Step 4

Repeat step 3, shuffling at right angles to the original firming. Rake again, holding the rake low to the ground to make it easier to create a level surface.

raking-the-surface-2
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