Posted on

How to prepare for Laying Turf

So you have made the decision to lay new turf!  The real secret to making sure you have the best lawn is to get the preparation done properly!


It can be tempting to skip this step but trust us getting in the preparation will ensure you don’t end up with a lawn that doesn’t look as good as it should.


Before you are ready to create a new lawn male sure you allow yourself enough time to do the preparation work in advance.  Once you have your turf delivered it needs to be laid as soon as possible! Leaving it on the pallet could kill it!


So this is what you need to do!


1 – Check the weather as far in advance so you can plan the time to do the prep work! You may not want to do it if it is bad weather and likewise if it is too hot you may struggle!


2 – Depending on how big the lawn needs to be, give yourself some days and a bit more time to do the following tasks and then estimate when you are likely to need your turf.  Don’t order it too early or too late!


3 – Assemble your tools!  You will need:

  • Shovel 
  • Fork
  • Garden Rake 
  • Maybe a mechanical turf cutter or rotavator if you have a large area to turf.


4 – Clear the Area!  You need to remove all plants, weeds and debris like stones, rocks, roots, twigs.  Every bit of plant material.  You need to make it as bare as you can.  Dig it up with a garden spade to remove all the surface.  You can put all the old turf in the compost somewhere.


5 – Rotovate  – Once you have removed the top. You need to dig and rotovate the soil.  Turn it over to remove any bricks, stones, or debris.  You need to remove any stones that are bigger than 4cm and dig about 15 cm/6 inches (or deeper).  If you are planning to add more topsoil or soil improvers add in at this stage so you get it evenly spread and incorporated.


6 – Rake and Level – Once the area is prepared you need to make it nice and level.


7 – Firm It Up – At this stage the soil may be a bit too loose for laying the turf.  Turf needs a firm base (not rock solid).  It needs to be strong enough to support the weight of the turf and not sink, but not so solid the roots cannot grow.  This is where you learn to do the “gardeners shuffle”  You also need to make sure that you allow any depth for the grass to be level with a path or paving, giving approximately 20mm lower than the desired height will be just about right.  


8 – Rake and Level again – You may find that you have a few lumps and bumps after you have firmed the ground. 


9 – Shuffle again! Break up the last of the clumps and firm

10 – Lay your turf!


Alan Titchmarsh demonstrates all of this really well (including the gardeners shuffle) in this video: