This is a question we get asked almost every day of the week, and we can understand why! Laying turf isn’t something you do more than once or twice in your lifetime, so thankfully, laying turf isn’t as difficult as you might think – and armed with the right knowledge you can easily get professional results. Find out how to lay turf with advice and tips from Essex turf grower and supplier, Paynes Turf.

Step one: Prepare the ground

This is actually the most important step when laying turf and great care must be taken to get the ground flat and even for the best results. First, use a spade (or a turf cutter if you have a big lawn) to undercut the existing turf and remove.

Using a garden fork, turn over the soil to a depth of 15cm and remove any stones, weeds and roots as you go. Of course, if you have a large garden you might want to hire a rotavator from a builders merchants to help you get the job done much quicker.

Next, take a good look at the soil – is it in good condition or could it do with a layer of fresh topsoil? If you’re in any doubt whatsoever consider raking in a layer of new topsoil – it will be a great investment for your new lawn as new soil is full of essential nutrients that will give your new turf the best possible base to grow from.

Lastly, you need to get the area flat and even. Tread over the soil gently with your feet and then use a rake to level the soil off, raking over any dips and mounds. Repeat this process several times until the surface is completely flat and even – it will be worth it!

Step 2: Lay the turf rolls

This is the fun part! Equipment-wise, all you need to lay turf is a sharp knife or half-moon garden edging tool. Another great tip is to have a wooden board handy to make sure you get the first run of turf nice and straight, and another wooden board to kneel on as you lay the turf.

To start, lay a wooden board along the edge of the border. Get the first turf roll and roll it away from you along the straight edge of the board. Next, lay down the wooden kneeling board and roll out the second turf roll in exactly the same way, making sure that the joins between each roll are butted up to each other nice and tight, but don’t stretch the turf. When you get to the end of the row, cut the turf using a sharp knife or half-moon edging tool.

Once you’ve finished the first row, move across to the send row. Start this row slightly further along so that the joins aren’t together; this will ensure that the turf grows evenly and there aren’t any noticeable joints. Use the offcuts from the first row (if you have any) to get started on the second row, and then keep laying the turf in a brickwork formation until you get to the end of the row. Repeat the process until you’ve finished each row.

Step 3: Water the newly laid turf

It’s really important to water the new turf after you’ve laid it – ideally within half an hour of installation, and then up to twice a day (if the weather is hot and dry) until the turf has established. Download our handy turf laying guide for more information on how to lay turf and the ideal watering frequency for each season.

Top tips!

  1. Lay the turf rolls within 24 hours of delivery
  2. If you notice any dips after you’ve laid each turf roll, peel the roll back, fill the dip with fresh topsoil, and then lay it back down again
  3. Don’t allow the exposed edges of the turf rolls to dry out – keep them moist as you work using a hosepipe.