Laying turf

If a lawn needs to be instant, laying turf is not that complicated. There are steps to follow and rules to be observed, but generally the time-intensive work is in the preparation.

The area needs to be measured and ideally converted to sqm. This will be approximately how many rolls of turf you’ll need. Always take into account a 10% wastage for imperfect or irregular rolls.

A good idea is to have some additional soil when laying to take into account the cutting machine may have cut a roll with an uneven thickness. This can be addressed as you are working backwards.

The ground must have been dug over, rotavated or worked over using a Spade/Fork. Debris will need to be removed from the area as its disturbed. Using a garden rake, work the soil until the particles have been broken down. This is achieved as you are removing debris. At this point, you will have decided if you need to treat the soil or if additional top soil is required. 10 sqm meters to a tonne is approximately how much you would gauge.

The ground will need a 2 inch root zone of filtered, pure, fine soil and this is the ideal base to start laying.

  1. Move backwards so when the turf is unrolled the area then remains undisturbed.
  2. Use large pieces for the perimeter, never put two small pieces together. Always use off cuts in the middle. Use a sharp gardening knife to cut the turf cleanly.
  3. Tamper down the joints where two pieces meet with the tines of a rake.
  4. Using a wooden plank as you move across so as to avoid standing on the newly laid turf .
  5. Secure the joints by gently pressing the plank down on the laid turf. This is a final levelling tool. This area must be left now.
  6. Remember the grass will “shrink and sink” so leave a lip above the desired level since it will drop considerably once the air has dissipated.

There a few more pointers to consider but generally follow these steps and you lawn will take without problems. The area must not be walked on for 2 weeks or so. The area should be kept moist throughout the settling period. When it looks like its root system is in place and you notice it growing – the first cut should be very high and conditions dry.

Another important factor is to prepare the site before you have the turf delivered. There is generally a 3 day rule for turf. The turf should be laid before this period runs out. Ideally the 1st and 2nd day it should be finished. The turf should be to order and the cut made that day or the evening before. Using old turf is a false economy and often the light deprivation has an impact on its vigour.

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I'm Craft Gardener with several years experience. Due to the massive impact the internet has had on advice, forums and consultancy services - it seems knowledge and experience is everchanging and we should therefore share techniques and offer others alternative routes in pests, diseases and weed treatments. The very smallest alterations in aspect, soil conditioning and pruning can determine a plants vigour, health and lifespan hugely. My blogs and online assistance should motivate and interest even the most amateur of green fingered people. As my ex partner used to say "it's green isn't it"?