Wednesday, 19 October 2016 11:13:43 Europe/London

Turf Laying Tips

Turf Laying Tips

Here are some of the turf laying tips that professional landscapers have shared with us over the years.

Before you start: have a good breakfast

Laying turf can be hard physical work and you don’t want to run out of energy half way through.  When you’re tired you don’t get the same results as when you’re feeling strong.

breakfast with cereal, boiled egg, coffee and bread

Have a hearty breakfast before you start laying turf.  Plenty of protein and carbohydrates to give you energy and strength.

Make sure you have plenty of refreshments on hand in case you need a break – teabags, milk, energy drinks, bananas etc

Start preparing the ground a couple of weeks before the turf is due to arrive

When you disturb the ground to prepare it for turfing, you’ll stimulate weed seeds in the soil to start growing.  Let them germinate and then you can remove the baby weeds before you lay the turf.  That way you’ll reduce the risk of weeds appearing in your lawn.

Watch the weather forecast

Avoid planning your turf delivery for a day when it’s either going to be pouring with rain or scorching hot. 


Very wet soil is difficult to prepare and is easily compacted.  You won’t get the very best results from your turf if you’re laying it on top of a mud bath.  Plus, nobody really enjoys working outside in the rain.  You’ll be inclined to rush the job and cut corners – it’s only human nature.

Turf has a very short shelf life in hot weather.  You’ll need to work fast to get it laid and watered before the quality starts to deteriorate.  It can be done and there’s nothing wrong with laying turf in the summer provided you’re prepared to water it twice a day.

Stewarts Turf offer next working day delivery to most places in Scotland so that you can work with the weather.  Just be sure to place your order before 11am.

In winter time, frost can stop us from harvesting turf.  It’s also not easy to get a nice bed of soil ready for turfing when the ground is frozen.  Best to double-check with your supplier if you’re thinking of laying turf when frost is forecast.


Pay attention to drainage

Really take notice of how well your land drains.  Does rainwater take a long time to disappear?  Do puddles sit in a particular place? Where does the water run off to?

If your garden soil is very sandy and seems dry within hours of a heavy rainfall, it’s a good idea to add in some compost or some good quality topsoil before laying turf.  After all, it’s very difficult to improve soil once it’s beneath your lawn. 

little girl splashing in puddles on a lawn

If your old lawn looks like this after a rain shower there are two things you need to address before laying a new lawn.  One is soil compaction, the other is drainage.

If the soil is soggy and sticky and doesn’t drain well, it could be compacted.  Make sure you dig down deep (20-30 cm) when you’re preparing for turf.  It’s important to sort that compaction out if you want your lawn to look good in the long term. 

Silty or clay soils will benefit from having some fine sand dug into the top 15cm.  That will open up the structure and allow for more air pockets to help the roots breathe.

Get the levels right

Try not to have the lawn sloping towards any important structures in the garden.  You’ll be watering it quite a lot in the first few weeks and you don’t want to be flooding the shed every time you get the hosepipe out.

Make sure everything is ready before the turf is delivered

The soil needs to be prepared, levelled and raked so that you can start laying straight away. 

Have you got a hosepipe with a rose attachment so that you can sprinkle water on to your new lawn not pour it?  No? Nip out and buy one quickly then.

Where will your pallet(s) of turf sit when they are delivered?  Is there room on the drive?  Can the delivery driver get a pallet truck on to your drive?  If not, what can you change to make it easier for him/her.  Can you lay boards over the gravel? Move the car?

pallet of turf

Your turf will be delivered on pallets.  Have you got room to stand them when they arrive?

How will you move the turf from the pallet to where it’s needed?  Have you got a wheelbarrow?

Do you have any laying boards?  An old plank will do the job.  Laying boards spread your weight while you are working and help to prevent soil compaction.  They make a huge difference to the way that your turf establishes and behaves.

You will probably need to trim some of the turves to size. Have you got anything to trim it with?  A lawn edger is useful if you are cutting out curved flower beds.  A sharp knife is good for individual turves and it also helps to have a straight edge to cut against. (I use the edge of my laying board)

Are you confident that you know what you’re doing?  Double-check by watching this video made by our sister-company in Norfolk.


Useful articles on laying turf


Preparing the site for new turf


The best time of year to lay turf


How to lay turf 




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