Laying turf

Turf can be laid throughout the growing season. Keys to success are preparing the ground well and allowing the turf to establish.

Preparing the ground

  • Prepare the soil by skimming off any old grass, removing large stones and weeds, and then roughly levelling by flattening humps and filling hollows.

  • The addition of sharp sand to typical London clay soil will greatly help with drainage, so lightly fork some in if your soil is mostly clay.

  • Fork over the site and rake level to leave a fine finish. Firm the soil by walking over, placing weight on your heels and rake again. Sprinkle a granular fertiliser over the soil and lightly rake in.

Laying turf

  • When turf arrives, stack rolls in a shady spot and if they appear dry, sprinkle with water. Aim to lay the turf within a day of delivery. If laying is delayed, open the rolls and water them. Don’t worry if they turn slightly yellow, they should quickly green-up once laid.

  • Start at the furthest point and work backwards - if it’s a big area work off a plank of wood - to avoid walking on the turf.

  • Lay your first row along a straight edge, slowly unrolling turf to avoid damaging. Butt each piece up closely to the last and ensure good contact with the soil by tamping down firmly with the back of the rake.

  • Lay the next row, making sure the pieces of turf are pushed right up to the first row. Stagger this, and subsequent rows, in a brickwork pattern until the area has been covered.

  • Lay turf so it runs beyond the area of your new lawn and trim edges with a straight edged board and a cutting tool. After cutting, scoop up handfuls of soil and put under the edges of the turf to prevent it drying out.

  • If possible, set up a sprinkler to water or soak thoroughly with several doses from a watering can.

Looking after turf

Try not to walk on newly laid turf until it has rooted into the soil, which will take a few weeks. 

  • Do not let the new turves dry out - water regularly.
  • For the first few cuts, trim it lightly, keeping the mower blades set high.