Lawn Care

Buying and Laying Garden Turf

When looking to create a new lawn, the advantages of using turf are obvious. Within a space of a few hours, bare earth is transformed into a new lawn. However, turf is more expensive than growing grass from seed and it requires careful maintenance during those first weeks to protect your investment.

Rolawn turf.

Turf is a classic example of ‘you get what you pay for’ so it makes sense to buy the best you can afford. If you go for the cheapest available and expect a decent lawn, you may be disappointed with the result.

Good quality turf costs money to produce and harvest properly. For a decent lawn, look for a turf that contains a mixture of different grass varieties and not just meadow grass. Either check with the supplier what varieties of grass the turf contains, or buy from a reputable source. Good quality turf will also be of a uniform thickness and be free of tears and holes. If it does have tears and holes, it was probably to young to harvest, or the soil layer is too thin. The correct age of cut turf is between 12-14 months and it should be harvested to order – not cut and then left rolled up until purchase.

The best known online turf supplier is Rolawn who supply two varieties of high quality turf cut to order and available for delivery. Use the turf calculator below to find out how much you need to buy.

Laying turf.

Turf can be laid at any time of year, but it is best to avoid carrying out turf laying in very cold or frosty conditions.

The preparation of the site is crucial to achieving a good lawn. If there is an existing lawn, this must be removed either by hand using a spade, or by hiring a turf cutter. The underlying soil needs to be dug to a depth of 4-6 inches and all roots, debris and large stones removed. For large areas you can save yourself a lot of time by using a rotavator.

The prepared area needs to firm and level, but not overly compacted. Walk back and forth over the area and ‘heel’ the soil, then level off using a flat edged rake. If you have the patience, allow the site to settle for a couple of weeks and check for any low spots and weed growth.

For the best results, buy some new topsoil and spread an inch or so over the new area. This will greatly encourage healthy root formation. If the underlying soil is poor, as is often the case with newly constructed homes, you may need to buy enough topsoil to replace the top 4 inches. Topsoil is best purchased from the same source as the turf. Suppliers will know and recommend the best soil type for your chosen turf. One of the best online sources of turf and topsoil is Rolawn. It is also advisable to apply a starter fertilizer to the area before you lay the turf.

If practical, always start laying the turf along a straight section of the garden. Give the bare earth a light sprinkle with water immediately before you begin laying the turf. Turf is best laid with the ends of each section staggered (similar to brickwork), this will lock the sections together and prevent long gaps. Cut the sections where necessary with a spade or old knife. Don’t try to bend the turf sections to form curved edges, lay them straight and trim to shape. Avoid walking directly on the freshly laid turf, use wooden boards to cross the area and to press the turf roots firmly down into the soil.

Water the turf thoroughly after laying and make sure the turf does not dry out for the first 2 weeks. After this period, the turf should have established itself and will require weekly watering during dry spells (just like any other lawn). Your new lawn can be mowed as soon as it’s long enough.

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