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How to lay turf

Skill Level: Beginner

Introduction

A nicely manicured lawn is a beautiful feature in any garden, but can be difficult and a time consuming project to get it just right if seeding. Firstly, there’s the quality of the soil to consider, is it rocky, loaded with rocks, stones, and chippings; are there tree or weed roots lying sub-surface, then there’s the wait. 

By far, the easiest and quickest way to get a beautiful lawn is to lay turf. Turf can be laid at any time of the year, but summer is not generally the best time because of the risk of the new turf drying out and not establishing a firm rooting. Low temperatures and the frost of winter are also not the best conditions for laying new turf. For these reasons the best time is during spring or in the autumn.
Turf is a quick fix way of establishing a lawn in just a matter of hours. Once down however, it will still need as much care and attention as a seeded lawn.

 

How much will I need?

The first thing you need to do is calculate roughly how much turf you’re going to need. Start by measuring the width and length of the area to be turfed, and multiply these figures by one another. This will give you an amount in square metres. Add an extra 5% to the total to account for cutting and shaping.

Preparation

Preparation is very important. It is essential to fully prepare the ground where the turf is to be laid, and that it is free of loose stones and rocks, as well as tree and weed roots. Also, flatten out any bumps and lumps A bed of good, debris free soil will allow the turf to root more easily, so ensure you have between 4-6” of good quality top soil, loosely turned over and raked level. Then, water the ground for a day or two prior to laying the turf, watering will help the soil to settle and provide plenty of moisture for the turf roots to take hold.
You don’t need many tools for this job, a garden fork, a broom, a length of timber to act as a straight – edge, a string line, and a supply of fine topsoil or compost.

Laying Turf

Ideally, turf should be laid as soon as possible after it is delivered. If left rolled up for any amount of time, where it is deprived of sunlight, it will start to die very quickly.

The first thing to do is mark out the edges, or border of the area to be turfed. This is done using a straight edge or a string line. Once marked out, lay the turfs on a minimum of two edges of the lawn area, and work from that corner, across the area to be turfed. Open only one roll at a time, and press it firmly into position. Butt the next piece up against the previous one laid. Complete one row at a time. Don’t have all the joints together, lay the turf like brickwork, stagger the joints.

 

Keep the joints tight

Keep the turfs nice and tight as you move along, pushing them firmly together, closing any gaps. As you’re laying the turf, leave a small hump at the edge of each piece as you lay it against the previous one, and then push it firmly down on the edges to help ensure the roots make good contact with the soil underneath.
Once you have completed the first row, lay your wooden plank on top of it (kneel on this, don’t let your knees dig into the turf, leaving unsightly depressions) and move on to the next row. Offset each row like brickwork, so that the joints are staggered instead of in line. When you need to cut the turf around an edge or feature, this is easily done using a long bladed knife, spade or even hand-saw.
When all the turfs are laid, and you’re reasonably happy with the results, sprinkle lines of fine soil along the joints, and brush it in well. When you’ve finished, give the turf a good watering.

Help your new lawn settle in

Water newly laid turf daily until it is visibly established. Try to avoid watering your new lawn when the sun is strong. Early morning and early evening are the best times to water.
Try to avoid, or keep to a minimum, walking on the newly laid turf for the first week or so; you will see growth after just a few days, and will be able to mow it, but take care, it could be quite soft underfoot. Mowing will actually encourage your lawn to establish itself.

Tools you will need:
Moulton Mill Traditional Long Handled Stainless Steel Lawn Edger
Moulton Mill Traditional Long Handled Stainless Steel Lawn Edger
- Faithfull 30m PVC Reinforced 12.5mm Hose Starter Set
Faithfull 30m PVC Reinforced 12.5mm Hose Starter Set
- Maxicrop Moss Killer & Lawn Tonic - 500ml
Maxicrop Moss Killer & Lawn Tonic - 500ml
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