How To Lay Turf Step By Step

Written By: Archie Rich | Updated:
How To Lay Turf
Archie Rich/DIY Works

Laying turf is a relatively straightforward task and when compared to using grass seed, it’s instant and avoids wastage. In terms of buying turf in the first place, most gardening centres will sell turf. However, rather than loading it straight into your car, you’ll want to inspect each turf roll. During your inspection, you want to check for freshness (does it smell mouldy?), roll strength (avoid badly cut rolls or those that are patchy) and colour (the greener the better).

Once you’ve got the turf you require, you can begin to lay the turf as shown in the step-by-step guide below.

Equipment Required

  • Turf
  • Sharp knife to cut the turf
  • Rake for removing unwanted debris
  • Garden sprinkler or hose
  • Lawn roller to level the ground
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Garden spade
  • Topsoil

When Is The Best Time To Lay Turf

If you are in no rush, you may wish to wait until it’s the best time to lay turf. This is usually around mid-autumn to late winter because the soil won’t be too wet or frosty. It’s also when little mowing of the lawn is required, which means the freshly laid turf can remain undisturbed for many weeks.

How To Lay Turf

1. Preparation of The Ground

Preparation is key to successfully laying turf and you’ll want to make sure all weeds, stones and other unwanted debris are removed by using a rake. Many people also spread a general purpose fertiliser over the ground around 5 to 7 days before too. However, this is an optional step that’s not always required to lay the turf.

2. Levelling The Ground

Once the ground is prepared, you can then begin to level the ground with a garden roller (as shown in the photo below). Ideally, you’ll want to add a layer of topsoil on top and add extra in areas with any dips in the ground. Once you have successfully levelled the ground, you can then give it a final rake-over for peace of mind.

How Much Do Gardeners Charge To Lay Turf
Archie Rich/DIY Works

3. Lay The Turf

Now the exciting part, you can begin to lay the turf upon your freshly prepped ground. Preferably you’ll want to begin laying the turf along a straight edge and stagger the joints in a brickwork-like fashion. Depending upon the size and shape of the ground, you may need to perform a few cuts with a knife to tailor-fit the turf to the ground.

It’s important to note that you shouldn’t need to stretch the turf whatsoever but instead push the turf into a joint. If there are any cracks or exposed joints, these can be filled with some topsoil or any leftover bits of turf.

4. Watering & Aftercare

After you have finished laying all of the turf, it’s crucial that it doesn’t dry out. Therefore, in hot weather, you’ll want to immediately begin watering it using a garden hose in a light spray setting. You should continue to water the lawn on a daily basis until it’s well-established. For maximum efficiency, we recommend watering the turf in the early morning or late evening to prevent the water evaporating.

How To Lay Turf Step By Step
Archie Rich/DIY Works

Case Study Three Years Later

At DIY Works, we love a good case study and the turf that we laid in the above tutorial is still thriving as shown in the photo below. Due to the fact that it’s established, it doesn’t need as much maintenance as it did initially.

Laying Turf
Archie Rich/DIY Works

Laying Turf On Existing Grass

To save time, many people may decide to lay turf on existing grass in their gardens. However, this would be something we recommend that you avoid because it can lead to further issues down the line. For example, new turf needs to be laid upon freshly prepared soil for the roots to grow well. Therefore, after a few weeks, you may find that the freshly laid turf is beginning to discolour and not forming the perfect lawn you wished for.

How Much Do Gardeners Charge To Lay Turf?

If you don’t fancy laying turf yourself, you may wish to get a gardener to do it for you but how much do gardeners charge to lay turf?

It really depends on how much turf there is to put down and whether you are going to supply the turf yourself. As an approximation, if you were to supply the turf, a gardener may charge between £100 to £125 per 10 square metres to lay the turf. However, for larger jobs, the price per square metre may be much less.

What About Laying Artificial Turf?

If you wish to remove your lawn altogether and replace it with high-quality artificial grass, the process is slightly different. Not only do you need to remove the existing grass but other steps include laying a base of granite dust, a membrane, making neat joints and much more.

For a complete step-by-step guide, Homebase has a great walkthrough.


Hopefully our step-by-step guide to lay turf will give you the confidence to get your hands dirty and do it yourself. It really is a simple and straightforward task that can be achieved in a day but this is highly dependent upon the size of the lawn. To avoid disappointment, take your time to choose the right turf and inspect it thoroughly before laying it.

If you require further information regarding laying turf, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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