How to Lay Turf Properly (Step-By-Step)

How to lay turf properly – cover

If you’re a gardening enthusiast, activities like laying turf can be a fun task. Laying new turf is a great solution for households who want to overhaul their lawns or revitalize their outdoor space. However, you need tools and proper guidance to effectively get this job done.

It’s advisable to hire a turf laying service if you don’t have the right tools or interest in taking on a hectic job. But if you enjoy doing such a task, let’s hit the ground running. In this blog post, we’re going to make the turf-laying process simple with our step-by-step guide.

Here is what you need to do to lay turf on your lawn: 

Step 1: Prepare the ground and the area

Preparing the ground for laying turf is the first step you need to take. So, before you lay new turf in your garden, take some basic preparation steps to ensure the success of your project.

For example, the first important thing is to clear your lawn area completely of any plant material or debris. Make sure there is no grass, leaves, roots, twigs, or any other unwanted items that could interfere with the growth of the new turf.

For this, you can either use a tool like a garden spade for a smaller area or hire a mechanical turf cutter for larger gardens. Once you clear the area of all the unwanted objects, you can either compost the old lawn or dispose of it at your local green waste center.

If you want to use a weedkiller, be sure to wait at least three weeks after application for it to take effect on both leaves and roots. Once the ground is ready, it’s time to dig the lawn.

You can use a garden fork or mechanical rotavator to dig over the soil and remove any large debris such as bricks, stones, or builders’ rubble. Just keep in mind, if a stone is larger than a matchbox, it should not be under your lawn as it can affect the evenness of the surface. To level the soil, use a simple rake. Make sure it is free of any lumps or bumps.

If you don’t have the tools or basic gardening skills, consider working with one of the professional turf laying services in London

Step 2: Measure the area

Measure the length and width of the area you want to lay the turf. Multiply the two numbers together to get the total square meters required.

Determining the area of your lawn for turf installation is a simple process. Start by dividing your yard into easily identifiable geometric shapes, calculating the area of each shape, and then adding up the total area. You can make use of an online turf area calculator to help you with this task.

It is advisable to add an extra 5% to the total area you have calculated to account for cutting around any obstacles or odd shapes such as trees. If you require more guidance on measuring your lawn, you can refer to our comprehensive blog, where you will find articles like this one on measuring your yard, which are easy to follow.

Step 3: Order turf

Done with the measurement? Let’s move on to the next step which is about ordering the amount of turf you need for your lawn. Just add an extra 5-10% to facilitate trimming and any irregularly shaped areas.

To ensure your lawn meets your unique requirements, make sure to choose the right type of turf before placing your order. Once your turf has been delivered, lay it down as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours of delivery.

It’s important to install the turf right after you receive it. Therefore, order the turf for delivery on the same day or a day before you want to lay it. However, if you’re unable to lay the turf immediately for some reason, store it in the shade, especially during hot weather conditions.

Besides, remove any film wrapping from the pallet to prevent the turf from drying out or overheating. Read our blog to check when is the best time for turf laying

Step 4: Water the area

Should you water the area before installing the turf? People often ask this question. In most cases, it’s a good idea to water the soil before laying the turf. It keeps the ground moist, which is important for the roots of the new turf to establish and take hold.

You’ll also find it easier to work with the soil, particularly if it’s dry or compacted. Not to mention, watering the soil reduces air pockets and ensures good contact between the turf and soil. However, do not overwater the soil as this can lead to poor drainage and waterlogged conditions.

Step 5: Lay the first row

So, now that you have prepared the ground, it’s time to finally unroll the turf and lay the first row.

To make things easier, start laying the turf along the longest straight edge of your garden. Place the turf up to the edge of any borders or paths, ensuring it is level with the surrounding area.

To begin laying turf, start at the farthest point from your access point and work your way back toward the exit. This way, you won’t accidentally damage freshly laid turf. When laying the turf, use a brickwork pattern and make sure the edges of each piece are touching. If you’re working on a slope, lay the turf horizontally across the slope.

To fit the turf around edges or trees, use a spade or shears to shape it accordingly. It’s best to hold onto any excess pieces until you’ve finished covering all the necessary areas, just in case you need them later.

Related: How to Grow Grass on Slopes and Hillsides


Laying new turf - London

Step 6: Lay subsequent rows

Lay the next row of turf alongside the first row, making sure the edges are tightly butted together without overlapping. Stagger the joints, so they don’t all line up.

Make sure to prevent leaving footprints on your newly laid lawn. You can use a board as a walkway. Simply place the board on top of the first roll of turf and use it to step on while laying the rest of the rolls.

When laying the next roll of turf, place it directly next to the first roll, ensuring that the edges are tightly placed together. It will prevent any gaps from forming in your lawn. Be sure to continue pressing gently on each section of turf to help it settle into the soil.

If you encounter any overlap between the rolls, use a sharp knife or spade to trim the turf to the appropriate size. Repeat these steps until you’ve finished laying all the rolls of turf in the row.

Step 7: Trim the edges

Trim the edges of the turf using a spade or sharp knife to fit any irregular shapes or curves. Use the offcuts to fill in any gaps or spaces.

It’s important to trim the edges of new turf at the right time using the right technique. We have a comprehensive blog post that talks about how to cut the new turf, which addresses all of your queries in this regard. 


Turfing in the Garden - London

Step 8: Water the turf

Now you have to water the turf thoroughly, so the soil is damp to a depth of at least 10 cm (4in). Water the turf every day for the first two weeks, gradually reducing the frequency as the turf establishes. Adequate watering is essential to the growth of your newly laid turf. Create a general watering schedule and stick to it. 

Step 9: Fertilize (optional)

If you think your lawn needs more nutrients, spread a layer of fertilizer over the turf once it has taken root. Use a lawn spreader and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. One of our posts will help you avoid common turfing problems down the road. 

Materials and Tools you will need for the turf laying

Here is a list of tools you need to properly lay the turf: 

  • Turf rolls
  • Topsoil
  • Garden fork
  • Rake
  • Garden hose or sprinkler
  • Lawn roller
  • Sharp knife or edging tool