Nothing beats a perfect green lawn, but achieving your turf dreams is easier said than done. You need to put in the right preparation and take plenty of care. That's why we've put together this step-by-step guide to give you all the information you need to create the perfect lawn.
How to prepare soil for new turf
1. Clear the area
First things first, you need to get rid of anything which might get in the way of your new turf. Rip up any existing lawn, grass, weeds, and debris. This is especially important for newly built homes where there is likely to be a lot of leftover building debris.
You can dispose of any vegetation in your green waste bin, but make sure any debris and other rubbish goes in your regular bin. If you have a lot to get rid of, you may need to hire a skip bin, especially if you're planning to replace your top soil for turf laying.
2. Test the soil
You need to make sure your soil will give your new turf everything it needs to thrive. Test the soil using a pH test kit which will tell you if your soil is too acidic or too alkaline. A pH reading of 7 means your soil is neutral, and the ideal pH range for most types of turf is 5.5 to 7.
If your soil is outside the ideal range, you can use sulphur to lower the pH level, and lime to raise the pH level or you can strip back the soil and replace it.
3. Replace the top soil
Depending on the quality of your soil, your new turf may benefit from stripping back your existing soil and replacing it with 100mm of new, high-quality top soil for turf roll-out. This is especially helpful if you found a problem with your pH level in the previous step.
New top soil will give your new turf the best start to get established quickly and achieve long-term success.
4. Level the area
Use a rake and, if necessary, a shovel to move the soil around and level it as best you can. Remember to take a step back and look for any lumps or dips in the area. It's typically a good idea to keep a gentle slope away from your home so surface water can drain away without pooling on your lawn.
If you are thinking of laying a turf with decorative edging, keep your soil about 30-40mm below the height of the height of the edging to allow for the thickness of the turf.
This is also the best time to sprinkle the area with turf fertiliser, so your new lawn has all the food it needs to get established.
5. Lay your turf
Once you've completed the first 4 steps, you're ready to lay your turf. Congratulations! Here's what you need to remember when laying your turf:
- Lay your turf in a brick pattern to avoid obvious seams.
- Make sure all the edges of each piece of turf are butting up against each other, but not overlapping.
- Try to lay your turf as quickly as possible so it doesn't dry out. If it's a hot day, you can water sections of turf as you lay them.
- Start laying your turf at the furthest place from your access point so you can avoid walking on it.
- Before laying the turf, water the top soil thoroughly and allow some time to drain. This will give you a good idea if there are spots that need a better drainage.
- If you're working on a slope, lay the turf across the slope.
- When you're finished, give the turf a good watering.
For the next 4-6 weeks, you'll want to keep your lawn wet and avoid walking on it. After that, you can reduce your watering to encourage deep rooting of your new lawn.