Laying Turf For a New Lawn

Laying Turf For a New Lawn

There are two options when it comes to renewing your lawn, you can either plant grass seed OR lay brand new turf. If you want to see the advantages and disadvantages of each method, click on my article – Grass Seed Vs Turf.

If you have decided that laying new turf is the way to go, then you will need to ensure that proper preparation and care is taken in order for the project to be a success. Remember it is always a good idea, once you have measured the square meterage of your lawn, to order an extra 10% to allow for wastage.

Laying a new lawn may sound easy, but it actually has to be done in a certain way in order for it to flourish and grow properly. To make sure that you do so correctly, I have laid out the entire process of laying turf below for you to follow.

Laying Turf For a New Lawn PreparationPREPARATION

1. Good Preparation of the Ground is Paramount

All existing grass needs to be removed before you lay your new turf. This could be the most labour intensive part if you do not have the right machinery. Petrol turf cutters are readily available, can be hired from a hire shop and will make the job quicker and easier. The other advantage of a turf cutter is that it will have the ability to adjust the depth of cut (with a single lever). This way you can ensure that your new turf is the correct height in relation to paths and flower beds.

If you must remove your existing/old turf by hand, then I would recommend that you use a premium Edging Knife to cut and create narrow strips, which can then be loosened and lifted using a garden fork. Some people may want to use a spade instead to cut underneath the turf, but this will be back-breaking and hard work. When the old soil has been lifted, you can then easily roll the turf and dispose of. Or alternatively the turf can be pilled up grass side down, watered and then covered. After approximately 5 to 6 months the soil can be used as mulch or mixed into your existing flower beds.

Large stones, weeds and roots need to be removed before you lay your new turf. You need to ensure that the ground is free from any large debris. If you do decide to use a weedkiller make sure it isn’t a residual one, as it can remain in the soil long-term and will prevent the grass from establishing.

2. Feed the Soil

To help the roots of your new turf to establish, it is a good idea to apply some general purpose fertiliser. This should be done a few days before you lay your new turf.

If during this time weeds appear they can either be removed manually or by using a non-residual weedkiller.

After you have applied the general purpose fertiliser, lightly rake over the ground one final time.

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3. Level the Surface of the Lawn Area

Using both a rake and wheelbarrow with top-soil, rake over the area thoroughly levelling the ground as you go. The best way to do this is to walk over the entire area in one direction and then again at right angles to that direction. Then with a rake go over the surface again filling any dips in the ground with the top-soil to make sure it is completely level. Even though this does take some time, it is totally worth it as laying on an uneven surface will just make your new turf uneven. Considering how much effort the entire process takes, it is really something you don’t want to go wrong.

4. Watering

To help the turf establish strong and healthy roots make sure you water the entire area just enough to keep it moist, don’t drench it. Try to do this a couple of days before the turf arrives as it helps the prepared soil to settle, then rake over it again if needed, to keep the surface level.


The best time to lay your new turf is during the spring or autumn to ensure there is enough rain to help your new lawn establish.

1. Turf should be laid as soon as possible after it has been delivered. 

If this is not possible, lay the new turf unrolled in a shady area.

If you do not have enough space to temporarily unroll the turf ensure that the pallet is moved into the shade and the plastic film wrapping is removed.

2. Start by rolling out and laying the first row to form the border of the new lawn.

When you get to the end cut off any excess turf, this can then be used to start the second row. If you need to go around a bend when you are laying turf, get a sharp knife and cut an initial rough shape. Some gardeners will cut the edge to shape immediately, there is no problem with this but it will not allow for any shrinkage and makes it harder to repair, if this does occur. Other gardeners wait until the turf has rooted to go round the boarder area again with a half-moon edging knife to apply the finishing touches.

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3. When laying your second row make sure you have wooden boards to kneel/walk on and make sure you align the turf rows like brickwork.

This stops you from leaving foot prints in the new turf and promotes better turf and soil contact – to go a step further you can press down on the turf with the back of a rake or firmly pat it down with your hand. Make sure you never stretch the turf by pulling them, instead push the turf into the joints (butt them up together closely so you can’t see the joints).

When laying your new turf make sure roots are in good contact with the soil and there are no air pockets.

Make sure the turf is kept moist, lightly water any dry areas especially if you have been laying the turf for over two hours.

If you find any cracks developing within the turf, fill it with a light soil and tamp it down.

4. Keep the pieces of turf as long as possible and never use small pieces near the edges (as they will dry out quicker).

If you do need to use a short piece of turf, ensure that use slot it in between of 2 long pieces. Again ensure that no short joints are next to each other and maintain a brickwork like pattern.

Always use a sharp knife when cutting edges of turf (never tear the turf).

5. Best Selling Premium Turf

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Laying Turf For a New Lawn Watering1. Watering

Once the turf has been laid it will need to be watered thoroughly to ensure the water reaches the soil below in order for the lawn to establish properly.

You will need to water on a daily basis for the first two weeks. Over time as the lawn establishes this rate can be reduced.

For the next three weeks you want to continue watering at a reduced rate of 2 to 4 times each week. Once you reach the sixth week you can water once a week.

The best time of day to water your lawn is during the evening, unless of course there has been rain that day.

If at any point the weather gets really dry, increase the rate again as the turf will not have deep enough roots until the sixth month. Signs of the turf drying out include gaps appearing, lifting, curling and browning of the grass blades. If you notice any of these symptoms you should immediately and thoroughly water the lawn.

Also remember not to over-water as this can lead to other issues i.e. weeds and disease.

2. Mowing

Mark HaleyYou will probably have to mow the lawn within 2 to 3 weeks (when the turf is rooted).

For the first few cuts just remove the top quarter of the grass blade. Ensure your mower is set on the highest setting for the first cut, and over the next few cuts gradually lower the mowing height to the desired level. Just make sure you do not cut off more than a third off the grass height.

If you have small clippings (like with a robotic lawn mower) then you don’t need to bother picking them up, they return nutrients back to the turf and soil to encourage better and healthy grass growth.

Once the turf is fully rooted and established you can return to your normal mowing cutting heights and schedule.

Also remember to alternate your mowing route.


You can start to treat your lawn normally again after about 3 months, just remember it is still young so make sure it is kept at optimal moisture conditions. Don’t use any fertiliser until the lawn is at least 6 months old and don’t do any aerating or scarifying within the first year. You can begin your standard lawn maintenance in the second year.

If you have any questions or would like to share your experience, please use the comment’s box below – I will be happy to respond.


If you have your amazing looking lawn and are now looking for a suitable lawn mower, you can click the link below that will take you to the best Cordless, Electric, Petrol and Robotic Mowers I have reviewed –

Lawnmower Product Expert, Reviewer and Author at | 01284 615144 | | Website | + posts

As a seasoned expert in the field of garden power tools, I have dedicated over a decade to working with and reviewing a wide variety of lawn mowers. My extensive experience has allowed me to gain a deep understanding of the benefits and limitations of different types of mowers and garden tools.

Over the years, I have honed my skills in writing informative articles and creating helpful videos for various blogs and publications. This has given me the ability to not only recognise what makes a good lawn mower, but also to help you choose the perfect garden tool for your specific needs and requirements.

With my wealth of knowledge and expertise, I am confident that I can provide you with valuable insights and recommendations when it comes to selecting the right lawn mower for your lawn. So, whether you're looking for a battery cordless, electric, petrol, or robotic mower, you can trust in my expertise to guide you towards the best option for your garden.

5 thoughts on “Laying Turf For a New Lawn”

  1. This is perfect for me!!!
    I haven’t got the slightest idea on how to lay a lawn properly and I have wanted to do mine for so long. This has helped me so much.thankyou.
    Are there different types of grass to lay? If so, which is best?

  2. This is perfect for me!!!
    I haven’t got the slightest idea on how to lay a lawn properly and this has helped me so much.thanks.this may sound stupid but…
    Are there different types of grass to lay? If so, which is best? As I haven’t got a green finger in my

    1. Great to hear Matthew and don’t worry there are different types to choose from. Working out which is the best is a little difficult to say, it depends on your situation and a couple of things like how much shade covers your lawn, how often do you use it, which type of grass you want etc. I would talk to your local garden centre and explain to them your lawn and I’m sure they’ll recommend a type for you ;-)


    Hi Mark, Thank you for that information on “Easy Lawn Care”, good article. I find that not so easy, however, the way you laid it out it appears that way.
    I am in the process of repairing a lawn and as I said you make it appear easy. My question is, do I allow the weed and the lawn to grow together and the weed will eventually die leaving the lawn to dominate?

    Thank you

    1. Glad you enjoyed it JoeAnne, no you should try to remove as many weeds as you can before laying the turf. This way you reduce the likelihood quite significantly, you will eventually have to deal with them at some point however, just remember to remove them manually during the first year ;-)

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