How to lay turf

Updated April 17, 2017

Laying turf is often the quickest, most effective way to get a thick layer of lush grass in your garden. However, if the turf is put down incorrectly, or at the wrong time of year, the grass roots will be vulnerable to damage. Source your turf from a reputable garden centre. Aim to lay the turf as soon as possible after purchase to avoid drying out. Dry turf will turn brown and rot if left for too long.

Till the area of garden when you want to lay the turf. Ideally, choose a rectangular area. Remove dead or old grass and take out any stones, roots or plants. Rake out the soil until roughly level, filling any dips with more soil. Prepare the ground at least six weeks before laying the turf, according to Royal Horticultural Society advisers writing in the "Telegraph".

Add a granular fertiliser and rake it into the soil, according to the BBC. Stand on the ground to firm up the soil and then rake the area once again.

Buy or cut turf in early spring or autumn to allow the grass roots to take hold before the growing season. Avoid laying in winter, when the grass is vulnerable to frost.

Unroll your first strip of turf along the edge of your prepared area. Use the back of the rake or a snow shovel to gently push the grass down to create a close connection with the topsoil. Lay another roll tight against the end of the first until you have covered one strip of the lawn area.

Rest a wooden plank along the fitted turf and kneel on it, rather than walking directly on the turf. Lay the next roll of turf alongside the first strip. However, make sure that the end of the turf stops at a different point to the previous row. Aim for a brickwork-style pattern, with staggered end points.

Fill gaps between the turf and the edges with topsoil. Lay turf over the edge of patios or paving and then cut along the line of the stone to fit.

Water using a hose or sprinkler and then leave to bed down for several weeks. If the weather is dry, water the lawn deeply every week, preferably in the morning or evening to minimise evaporation.


Use a spirit level on the wooden plank to check that the lawn is flat.


Avoid walking on your fresh turf for several weeks after laying to prevent root damage.

Don't mow your new lawn turf until the grass is at least 2 inches high.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Spade
  • Granular fertiliser
  • Long wooden plank
  • Hose
  • Topsoil or sand
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