If you're looking to improve the look and function of your garden, laying a new lawn is a great place to start!
Not only can a fresh, green lawn transform your outdoor space, but it can also increase the value of your property. But where do you start?
With so many different types of grass and methods for installation, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin.
In this blog post, we'll guide you through the process of laying a new lawn step-by-step, providing you with practical DIY tips and expert advice to help you achieve the beautiful, lush garden lawn you've always dreamed of. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or a first-time homeowner, Landscape Brothers is here to help.
Choosing the right time to lay new turf
Choosing the right time to lay new turf is essential for the success of your lawn. The weather conditions and soil temperature can affect how well your new grass establishes, so it's important to choose a time when conditions are optimal.
The best times to lay new turf are between March-May and September-November. In winter the frozen ground can seriously slow down or even stop the process of establishing new turf, whereas in high summer hot temperatures can make it difficult to keep new turf moist, which is very important at the early stages.
Having turf laid in early spring will also allow you to enjoy your lawn even before the Summer season.
If you are planning to lay the turf yourself, you should find the following information very useful. If you are going to hire someone else to do it, this article will help you to judge if they are doing a good job.
Some people underestimate the importance of ground preparation which seriously affects the quality of lawn and the amount of time new turf needs to establish.
Preparing the ground
Preparing the ground is the first and most important step in laying a new lawn. Proper preparation ensures that your grass will grow evenly and remain healthy over time.
One of the key reasons why it is important to prepare the ground before laying grass is to ensure that the soil is level and free from any debris, rocks, or weeds that could impede the growth of your new lawn. Here are the steps involved in preparing the ground:
- Remove any debris: Before laying grass, make sure to remove any debris, such as rocks or branches, from the area where you plan to lay the lawn. This will ensure that the surface is even and free from any obstacles that could impede the growth of your grass.
- Level the surface: Use a rake or shovel to level the surface of the soil. This will ensure that your new lawn grows evenly and looks aesthetically pleasing.
- Add topsoil if necessary: If your soil is poor quality or if there are low spots in the ground, you may need to add topsoil before laying the new lawn. This will help to improve the soil quality and create a better growing environment for your new grass. New turf will need about 10cm (4”) to 15cm (6”) of good soil, but obviously the deeper the better.
- Dig over or rotovate the soil to improve drainage.
One of the most common questions people have about preparing the ground for a new lawn is whether or not they need topsoil. The answer to this question depends on the quality of your existing soil.
If your existing soil is good quality and already contains a healthy balance of nutrients, you may not need to add topsoil. However, if your soil is poor quality or if there are low spots in the ground, adding topsoil can help to improve the overall soil quality and create a better growing environment for your new grass.
In general, it is better to err on the side of caution and add topsoil if you are unsure about the quality of your soil.
Removing old grass
Before laying new turf, it is important to remove any existing grass or weeds from the area where you plan to lay the lawn. This is important for several reasons.
First, it ensures that your new lawn has direct contact with the soil, which is essential for healthy growth.
Second, it prevents the old grass or weeds from competing with your new grass for nutrients, water, and sunlight.
Finally, it helps to create a level surface for your new lawn, which is essential for a smooth, aesthetically pleasing finish.
There are two main methods for removing old grass:
- Manual removal
- Use of herbicides / weedkiller
Manual removal involves physically digging up the old grass and removing it from the area. This method can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, especially if you have a large area to clear. However, it is also the most environmentally friendly method and ensures that there are no chemicals or toxins left in the soil.
The use of herbicides is a faster and more efficient method for removing old grass, but it comes with some potential drawbacks.
Herbicides or weedkiller can be harmful to the environment and to people, and they can also leave chemicals in the soil that may affect the growth of your new grass.
If you choose to use herbicides, make sure to follow the instructions carefully and take appropriate precautions to protect yourself and the environment.
Can you lay turf on top of soil?
One of the most common questions people have about laying new turf is whether or not they can just lay it on top of the soil without removing the old grass.
The answer is no. If you lay new turf on top of old soil and grass, the old grass will continue to grow and compete with your new turf for nutrients, water, and sunlight. In addition, laying turf straight on soil can lead to air pockets and uneven growth.
Doing this will result in an uneven, patchy lawn with poor overall growth. Always make sure to remove the old grass before laying new turf to ensure the best possible results! The same rules apply for laying artificial grass.
Preparing the surface
Once you have prepared the ground and removed any old grass, it's time to prepare the surface for your new turf. This involves creating a smooth, level surface for the turf to be laid on.
The first step in preparing the surface is to water the soil thoroughly. This helps to settle the soil and ensures that the turf will have adequate moisture for the first few weeks after installation.
Next, you should remove any remaining debris or rocks from the surface, as these can cause bumps and uneven areas in your lawn. Use a rake or a garden fork to remove any debris, and then use a roller or a tamper to compact the soil and create a smooth surface.
Before laying your new turf, it's also a good idea to add a layer of compost or topsoil to the surface. This will provide additional nutrients for your new grass and help it establish a strong root system. Spread a layer of compost or topsoil over the surface and use a rake to spread it evenly.
It's important to note that you should not use too much compost or topsoil, as this can lead to a bumpy surface that will not be suitable for your new turf. A depth of 1-2 inches of compost or topsoil is usually sufficient.
In summary, preparing the surface for a new lawn involves:
- Watering the soil
- Removing debris
- Creating a smooth surface
- Adding a layer of compost or topsoil.
This will help to ensure that your new turf has the best possible start and will grow into a beautiful, healthy lawn.
What should you put down before laying turf?
Adding a layer of compost or topsoil before laying new turf is recommended to provide additional nutrients and help the grass establish a strong root system.
How to lay turf
Once you've prepared the ground and surface, it's time to lay your new turf!
Here's Landscape Brothers expert times on how to do it:
- Measure and cut the turf: Measure the length and width of the area where you'll be laying the turf and use a sharp knife to cut the turf to the correct size.
- Lay the turf in a staggered pattern: Start at one end of the area and lay the first strip of turf, making sure it's pushed up tight against any existing lawn. Lay the next strip of turf next to the first, staggering the joints so that they don't line up. Continue laying strips of turf until you reach the other end of the area.
- Roll out the turf: Use a lawn roller to roll the entire surface of the turf to ensure good contact with the soil below.
To see the quality results that can be gained from laying new turf in your garden, check out Landscape Brothers’ Show Garden in Kirkcaldy!
New lawn aftercare
After laying new turf and creating a beautiful new garden space, it’s important to properly care for it so that your hard work does not go to waste! Proper aftercare will help to ensure healthy growth and allow your new garden lawn to last for longer.
Here are our recommended aftercare steps:
- Water the new lawn: Water your lawn regularly to keep the soil moist, especially in the first few weeks after laying the turf. Make sure not to over-water the lawn, as this can cause the roots to rot.
- Avoid foot traffic: Try to avoid walking on the new lawn for the first few weeks after laying the turf, as this can damage the delicate roots and soil.
- Mow the grass: Once the grass has grown to a height of around 2-3 inches, it's time to mow it. Make sure not to cut the grass too short, as this can damage the roots.
IF you’d like more advice on laying a garden lawn, or if you are interested in having your garden designed for you by our professionals, then get in touch with the Landscape Brothers team today on 01592 655567.
What not to do after laying turf?
After laying new turf, it's important not to fertilize the lawn for the first 6-8 weeks, as this can damage the delicate roots and soil.
Additionally, don't mow the grass too short, as this can cause damage to the roots and soil as well. Finally, try to avoid using herbicides or pesticides on the new lawn for at least the first year, as this can also damage the soil and roots.
Expert tips for laying a new lawn
Our top things to remember when laying a new lawn in your garden include:
- Prepare the ground for turfing, cultivate and use root-zone topsoil)
- Have your turf laid within 24 hours of delivery.
- Remember to keep the lawn watered everyday for 2 to 4 weeks.
- Do not walk on it for 3 to 4 weeks.
- Give it a first trim after 4 to 6 weeks.
- Mow it and feed it regularly.
Whilst laying a new lawn is very much achievable by yourself, it doesn’t hurt to get help from the experts!
At Landscape Brothers, we’ve helped thousands of homeowners improve the look and functionality of their gardens, and we can do the same for you!
Book a consultation online today and take the first step towards a tranquil new garden that you will be proud to call your own.