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How to turf a lawn!

As part of our work we regularly get asked to remove an old lawn and returf, so as ever the helpful gardening company we thought we give you a step by step guide on how to turf a lawn.

Tools that you may need.

  • Turf cutter (available from your local hire shop)
  • Rotivator (available from your local hire shop)
  • ⚠️ PPE (personal protective equipment) ⚠️ This includes goggles, steel toe capped boots, gloves and ear defenders.
  • Spade
  • large soil rake
  • wheelbarrow
  • a large wooden plank (we use a bit of scaffold)
  • a old bread knife or pruning saw to cut the turf

Along with the above tools you will need some turf (fairly obvious that one) and possibly some top soil along with a starter fertiliser. This will help establish the lawn quicker.

TOP TIP measure out your lawn and work out the square meterage. Most turf suppliers cut lengths of rolled turf in a m2. 50m2 lawn = 50 rolls. Easy 👍

Step 1.

Take the turf cutter and run it up and down your lawn in vertical stripes. Just like you would if you were mowing. It’s works with a girating blade that lifts the existing turf from the soil.

Most models of turf cutters have a depth gage on so you want to remove the grass and not to much soil. This just makes the job harder than it need be. So set it to the lowest level you can but make sure it’s still removes the turf.

Its easier if you have someone follow you along with a spade who can cut the lifted grass in to 1m lengths and then roll it up.

Step 2

Now you have moved all the old turf you should be left with some brown mud that is horticulturalist call. Organic matter or more commonly know as soil!

You can now rotivate (note: if you have a small area you may wish to cultivate by digging the area over) this is important as it reduces compaction within the ground and helps new roots on the turf establish.

You may need to rotivate 2/3 times to get a fine soil although try to avoid over use of machinery or digging to much as this can damage the structure of the soil. Particularly in wet heavy Conditions.

TOP TIP: lightly rake the soil over breaking up any large clods of soil, removing, where possible weed roots (if very weedy this may need treatment or digging out before hand) and stones creating a fine and more importantly level surface to lay your new turf on.

Step 3

once you have removed the old turf, cultivated and raked you are now ready to turf. Apply your growth establishment fertiliser.

Work from the straightest edge as possible laying the rolls of turf away from you. Put your scaffolding plank along the side of the turf (where the rest of the turf will be laid on the prepared ground)

Once flat tap the turf firmly with the back of a flat soil rake or small tamper (you can buy these but a soil rake in our opinion is fine) creating a firm contact between the turf and the soil.

You have also your first bit of your new lawn. Take a step back and get a cup of tea in! The next bits quite hard.

Put the edge of your next bit of turf in next to the previous piece of turf (making sure to overlap by 10-20mm) and roll in a line creating the first part of the stripe. With the overhanging turf gentle tuck this up to the previous using your thumb. A bit like Mary Berry does when she makes a pastry. Gentle tap this joint down creating a good seal.

Once you have completed a line the return back in the opposite direction creating two distinctive stripes.

TOP TIP: Make sure that you lay your turf like a brick wall. Your joints should be staggered and not meeting. This, like the wall, adds strength and establishes the lawn quicker.

Leave any fiddly small bits and cuts Until you have have completed laying the majority of the lawn. Look at the ‘cutting in’ using the same principles as before. Good form joins, roll the turf in the right direction.

Last job is to put the scaffolding plank over the long joins and walk on the plank again making sure the joins are form and the turfs contact to the soil is good

TOP TIP: Don’t walk on your turf for a good 2-3 weeks. Keep watered in warmer weather and look to mow on a high setting when you see it start to grow.

If this has been helpful please leave us a comment or contact us for some free advice if you get stuck. This is one of the more satisfying gardening jobs so Good luck and happy turfing!!!

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Instant Scenery: 3 Paddock Close, Kempsey, Worcester, WR5 3WE  Call: 01905 347105  Email:

Copyright Instant Scenery 2020 - All Rights Reserved - Website By: Dazzle Creative

Copyright Instant Scenery 2020 - All Rights Reserved - Website By: Dazzle Creative

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