How to Lay Turf Perfectly

February 1, 2020
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Why use turf opposed to seed or artificial?

Laying a lawn by using turf is the perfect method of getting a quick result but also a professional one. This is also a good method if your lawn subject to high traffic, or perhaps you have children or pets. Once you have laid the lawn in a couple of days you are free to walk on it, whereas seeding will require at least two to three weeks rest.

At Gravel Master we like to make sure our customers get the most value from all our quality products, therefore we have written a step by step guide informing you on how to lay our turf correctly for best results. This guide tells you everything you need to know from the planning and preparation stage right through to the aftercare of your lawn, we have also included some top tips along the way.

Tools needed to lay turf

• Wheelbarrow
• Rake
• Knife
• Spade
• Planks
• Garden Hose

When to lay turf

Turf is best laid in mid-autumn, but can be laid any time between mid-autumn and late winter whenever the soil is not too wet or frosty. In spring and autumn little mowing is needed so newly-laid turf can be left relatively undisturbed for several weeks. Turf laid in spring often needs watering in dry spells over summer. Both dry soils and mowing before grass is fully rooted, stresses turf and delays rooting. Turf-laying is best avoided from mid-spring until early autumn to avoid the need to repeated watering.

Planning Stage

The weather is a significant contributing factor when it comes to laying your Gravel Master turf, we advise you to lay your turf in mild conditions. Do not lay turf in frosty weather and avoid leaving your turf outside in long periods of heat. All of our turf is cut fresh on the day before delivery ensuring it arrives with you in the best condition possible.

Well before the turf arrives, the first step is to select a topsoil to lay the turf on. The topsoil you choose is extremely important and will assist you in achieving a high quality lawn once completed. The Gravel Master ProBlend Turfing Soil will act as a superb base for turfing and is designed to enhance turf strength and durability. Ensuring that the topsoil is evenly spread is essential as this will ensure the grass roots infiltrate equally.

turfing soil

 

*Top Tip* use a ruler to make sure the topsoil is evenly spread and is a good 10-15 cm deep. Add more topsoil if required.

Once the topsoil is laid you should walk over the whole area to make sure it is well compacted, this will help create a solid structure for your turf. This process should be repeated until you have created a compacted and level base for your turf. This will minimise the risk of settlement which could cause the turf to sink and become uneven.

*Top Tip* You must make sure your soil base is free of stones, pebbles and debris. All Gravel Master ProBlend Turfing Soils are peat free and have minimal stone content making them perfect for the job. Once you have ensured the topsoil is compacted and to the right level, lightly rake again, however be sure not to make the surface uneven. This process is the most tedious however ensuring your topsoil surface is even is crucial to the overall success of your finished lawn. The more work done at this sage in creating a level surface will have a significant impact in the quality of the final result.

*Top Tip* Water the soil a few days before laying the Gravel Master turf, this will help give moisture and allow the soil to settle.

Calculating how much turf and topsoil you require

To calculate how much topsoil you require you will need to measure the length, width and depth of the area you want to cover, then multiply these together to give you the volume you need. At Gravel Master we supply our ProBlend Turfing Soil in volumes of 800 litres/0.5m3.

You will then need to calculate the amount of turf required, all Gravel Master turf is supplied in standard m2 rolls. If you measure the length and width in metres and then times these together it will give you the amount in m2.

Laying the turf

All of our turf is as fresh as possible when it arrives with our customers, so for best results it is critical that the turf is laid at the earliest opportunity once you receive it. In the event you are unable to lay the turf immediately ensure it is kept watered, damp and stored in the shade.

Turf resized

Good seed bed preparation is the key to establishing a successful lawn. Pay particular attention to clearing weeds and cultivating the surface to a fine tilth.
Complete all site preparation before buying, or taking delivery of turves. Bought turves may vary in both size and thickness. Check dimensions when planning the lawn.

Soil preparation

Soil Improver 1

  • Eliminate perennial weeds such as couch grass or bindweed well before beginning to prepare the soil. Use weedkiller, or hand weed. Do not use residual weedkiller, as it can remain in the soil and will prevent the grass from establishing.
  • The site should be dug or rotovated to a depth of 20-25cm (8-10in).
  • Dig in some well-rotted manure or other organic matter (especially on a sandy soil) to hold moisture. Make sure it is well-rotted, as un-rotted organic matter will cause the soil surface to sink unevenly as it decays.
  • After cultivation leave for several days to settle – the longer the better, ideally five to six weeks or more.
  • Before the next stage of preparation, remove any weeds that have germinated. Hand-removal is best, or use a contact weedkiller. Do not use a residual weedkiller, as it will prevent the grass from establishing.
  • To get the level surface that is crucial for the best lawns, tread the area several times in different directions and then rake several times also in different directions.Apply and rake in 70g per sq m (2oz per sq yd) of general purpose fertiliser

Preparing the turf

If laying is delayed, then the turves should be laid out flat to avoid any discolouring and weakening, but where possible laying should be done within 24 hours of delivery.

  • Gardeners sometimes need to lift turf themselves using a spade or ‘turfing iron’ and then trim each turf to a regular size and depth. To do this, place the turf upside down in a prepared wooden box and slice off soil at the correct depth. The thinner the turf is (within reason) the better the rooting; a 2cm (¾in) turf roots better than a 7.5cm (3in) turf. Avoid turf that contains a lot of weed.

Laying the turf

  • Begin at one side or one corner and work across so that the person laying the turf faces the bare soil.
  • Avoid foot indentations in the newly laid turf by working from boards.
  • Lay sods with staggered joints as in the pattern of a brick wall and closely butted together avoiding gaps.
  • Ensure the turves are level by having a bucket of sandy soil at hand and adding or removing soil as necessary.
  • Once all the turf has been laid it can be firmed lightly with a light roller or a home-made ‘tamper’ consisting of a piece of flat wood attached at right angles to a broom handle.
  • When laying is complete, lightly spread a mixture of sand and soil or compost and work into the joints, using a rake or brush. This top-dressing fills any minor hollows and also helps the turves knit together and become established more quickly.
  • After top-dressing, leave the turf undisturbed; the first few days are critical for root development.
  • Where disturbed soil, such as old flower beds, are being turfed, the new turf should be laid slightly higher than the rest to prevent a hollow developing as the soil settles.
  • Aftercare
  • In dry weather, frequent watering may be necessary to keep the new turf constantly moist. During dry periods in mid- to late summer, water every five to 10 days. At other seasons water during dry periods every 14 days.
    Be careful not to over-water, as this can lead to shallow rooting and encourages the weed grass, annual meadow grass.
    Mow, with the blades set high, as soon as the grass has grown to about 5cm (2in).

Turf 1 resized

Begin to lay the turf by rolling out the first strip on a straight edge. On the following rows of turf try and stagger the joints which will produce a pattern similar to bricklaying. Lay a plank of wood on the completed strip and roll the next roll whilst stood on the plank so not to damage the freshly laid turf. Repeat this for each additional rolls by moving the plank on to the last roll and repeat this process until the area is completed. Avoid stretching the turf to the edges as this could potentially damage it, any gaps can easily be filled with soil.  Once all the turf is laid lightly firm down the rolls using the head of the rake to make sure that the turf and soil make contact.

Directly after laying

You may think that the hard work is over however the process after your turf has been laid is the most crucial.

Once completed give your new lawn a thorough watering, this is essential. For the following week we recommend you water your lawn daily, this helps to establish a healthy lawn. We advise that you water the lawn either first thing in the morning or later on in the evening as this ensures less water is evaporated. On hot days take necessary precautions and water your lawn more frequently. You must also make sure that the water is reaching your soil, carefully lift up a corner of your turf to check.

Shortly after laying

You now need to mow your new lawn, this should be done no later than 3 days if possible. Be careful when mowing not to take too much grass off, we recommend a third of the grass blade. Also be careful not to dislodge the lawn, if this does happens replace the lawn and do not commence mowing until the lawn has fully established.

Turf 2 resized

Aftercare

Now you have a beautiful lawn be sure to maintain it. Keep regularly mowing your lawn and be sure to water on a regular basis. To ensure your lawn is given sufficient nutrients we recommend a balanced fertilizer containing similar levels of Potash, Phosphate and Nitrogen, this should be applied every 4-6 weeks of the growing season. All fertilizers should be applied in strict adherence with manufactures recommendation giving special consideration not to exceed the stated dose.    .

Head over to our website where you can read all our customer reviews on all our turf and topsoil products. Alternatively you can like us on Facebook where you can share your experiences with our fellow customers.

We would like to think this guide has been of assistance to our customers, if it has please feel free to send us in photographs of your newly laid lawn which we will share on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Remember to buy turf online at Gravel Master or call our Sales Team on 0330 058 5068!

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