How To Lay Turf - Lawn Laying Guide 2023

Written by Ivy

Dec 28 2022

How To Lay Turf - Lawn Laying Guide 2023

It's crucial to schedule turf installation for the day of delivery. Check the forecast as well; if it's going to be a warm day, we advise getting going early. The turf won't dry out as a result of this.

Turf is laid in rolls, making it a fairly simple gardening project. Just unroll it (it's rolled up for easy handling), lay it, and wait for it to take root.

As long as the soil is not frozen or waterlogged, you can lay turf almost any time of the year. The best seasons, in our opinion, are spring and early autumn.

1. Planning Your New Lawn

It helps to plan ahead by considering the size and shape of the new lawn you are creating, the potential amount of turf and topsoil needed, and whether you will need to hire a skip to remove any old turf.

Ground preparation should be completed in advance to ensure turf can be laid out within our recommended time frames:

  • Spring/summer – roll out turf immediately
  • Autumn/winter – roll out within 24 hours

Turf installation requires careful attention to timing. Even turf that has been given Rolawn's specialized Profresh treatment is perishable and requires hasty installation.

Although frosty conditions should be avoided, and prolonged hot and dry weather will require more care and attention, Rolawn turf can be laid all year long.

Recommended tools for laying turf

Only a few tools are needed to lay turf:

  • Wheelbarrow
  • Rake
  • Long knife or old hand saw
  • Spade or fork
  • Some scaffolding planks
  • Garden hose and sprinkler

If you're replacing an existing lawn, you might also need a rotovator, a turf cutter, or weed killer.

2. Ground Preparation

Although preparing the ground for turf installation may take some time, it is time well spent because it will result in a gorgeous, healthy lawn for years to come.

Removing An Existing Lawn

A lawn that is already there needs to be removed first. In order to ensure that the new turf has the best chance of rooting, we do not advise installing it over already-existing grass. Weeds may also penetrate the freshly laid turf. If the issue behind relaying the lawn is not resolved, it is likely that the lawn will deteriorate over time.

An existing lawn can be removed using one of the two methods listed below.

  • Lifting the turf – turf cutters are available from all reputable hire shops and can be used to remove an existing lawn. The ability to make compost at home or by your local government if you place the turf you remove in a garden waste skip at your neighborhood household waste recycling facility is one of the advantages of this method.
  • Weed killer – treat the existing lawn using a proprietary non-selective weed killer suitable for killing grasses. This will also aid in preventing weeds and weed grasses from growing through your new turf. You might need to leave this for around 14 days for it to work completely.

Checking the Quality and Depth of Your Topsoil

When the area has been cleared of all weeds, make sure the topsoil is leveled and raked to a fine tilth, with a minimum topsoil depth of 100mm and a maximum of 150mm.

In order to create the level surface and sturdy foundation needed for laying turf or spreading lawn seed, Rolawn's specialty Turf & Lawn Seeding Topsoil is the perfect base for turf. It is blended with GroRight® To ensure your lawn has the best possible start, use lawn establishment fertilizer.

Alternately, existing soil can be improved by using a soil improver. Use our product calculator to determine how much topsoil you'll need if you need to buy any. For more information on how to choose and use the best soils, see our Topsoil Technical Advice.

Levelling the Ground

To help you get the best performance out of Britain's Finest Turf, leveling is one preparation step that is really worth getting right. By making the lawn level and aesthetically pleasing now, it will be simpler to mow and maintain in the future.

If this is your first time installing a lawn, you might not be aware that even though the ground appears level to the naked eye, there are probably still some areas that require attention.

The best way to spot irregularities is to slowly walk up and down the area. In a way that is impossible with machinery, you can feel the dips and raised patches, the soft and hard ground, through your feet.

  • To start, loosen the soil by turning it over or rotovating it.
  • Get rid of any surface stones, clods, junk, and perennial weeds.
  • After the soil has been slightly loosen, it should be lightly compacted by walking over the entire area twice, once in a straight line and once at an angle.
  • Use a fork to loosen up any areas that have been tightly compacted, and lightly compact any dips after filling them.
  • Rake the surface to a fine tilth after that, and check to see if it is level.
  • Avoid using heavy machinery, such as a roller, on the prepared soil because it will overcompact the ground.

The soil should ideally be watered a few days prior to the arrival of your turf. Make sure the soil is moist to a depth of 75 mm so it can supply water to the turf's roots. This aids in the soil's ability to settle, and it will need to be leveled off once more just before the turf is laid.

To ensure that your new turf is properly fed during its establishment if you are not using our Turf & Lawn Seeding Topsoil as a base, apply a pre-turfing fertiliser to the soil and work it into the top 25mm of soil.

11. How To Lay Turf

3. Laying the Turf

Immediately after it is delivered, as previously mentioned, you must lay your turf.

  • Start by butting the turf closely end to end, preferably along a straight edge.
  • Brickwork-style joint spacing is used on succeeding rows.
  • Start in the center and work your way out on circular lawns.
  • A slope should never be traversed by rolling out turf.
  • To ensure good contact between the underside of the turf and the soil, lightly firm down the turves with the head of a rake or piece of wood.
  • Any remaining cracks can be filled with a light soil and compacted, ideally Turf & Lawn Seeding Topsoil.
  • To shape around any trees, paths, and beds, trim the ends of the turf with a long knife, hand saw, or cutting spade.
  • In order to prevent the new turf's outer edges from drying out, cover them with a light soil where they are exposed. Once the turf has become more established after a few weeks, this can be removed.

Important Points to Remember:

  • To make sure the levelness of the prepared soil, planks should be placed on your freshly laid turf for walking along and working from.
  • On newly laid turf, never use a roller as, if used improperly, it can result in compaction.
  • Turf should never be stretched by being pulled; it should always be pushed into a joint.
  • It is important to prevent turf from drying out. Try to water newly laid areas in hot weather before you complete the entire area, and then keep doing so as needed.
  • In order to promote establishment, medallion turf can and ought to be mowed as soon as it requires it, which could be as soon as a week after laying.

Lay Turf Aftercare

Ongoing Maintenance

Your lawn's environment and care will over time have an impact on how it looks. A suitable lawn maintenance program can help to maintain the proper ratio of air, food, water, and light for a healthy lawn. Please refer to our Lawn Care pages for a detailed guide.

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To establish roots and get off to a strong start, freshly laid turf needs to be well watered. Depending on what time of year you install the turf, you'll need to water it more frequently; the summer requires a lot more water.

  • Use a sprinkler or hose to thoroughly water your new lawn as soon as it is laid. Continue until the soil beneath the turf layer has received enough water to saturate it.
  • Water your lawn thoroughly every evening for the next week to two weeks, unless the rain takes care of it for you.) More water will be required if the weather is hot, dry, or windy.
  • Any time the turf shows signs of drying out, such as gaps, lifting, browning, or curling, apply abundant amounts of water right away.


Having been properly fed, a lawn is healthy.

  • During the growing season, a balanced fertilizer with comparable amounts of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) should be applied every four to six weeks.
  • Regarding the quantity, timing, and application method, always abide by the manufacturer's recommendations. Your lawn will stay in top shape if you follow the "little but often" rule.
  • See our fertilizing guide for more details on feeding your lawn all year long.


The timing of the first mow can vary depending on what time of year you lay your lawn, but generally speaking, the turf should be prepared two weeks after laying.

  • Wait until your new lawn has rooted before giving in to the urge to make the first cut. Lifting a corner to see if the roots are anchored to the soil layer below will quickly confirm this.
  • Set the lawnmower to its highest setting for the initial cut to prevent stressing the grass.
  • Regularly mow the grass, only removing up to one-third of the height each time.
  • Once the lawn has grown fully, the height of cut can be gradually decreased to an ideal height of between 15mm and 35mm. To prevent scalping, proceed gradually.
  • See our mowing guide for more advice on how to maintain your new lawn throughout the seasons.


How Long Does It Take to Lay Turf

For experienced turf installers they'll have your new lawn laid in no time, but for the DIY, handyman or homeowner, you should allow approximately 2 to 2½ hours per 50m² of turf rolls.

How to Lay Turf on Clay Soil

Clay soils need to have their soil structure improved before turf can be installed. This can be done by installing a drainage system and capping the area with light top soil (50mm or more), or incorporating plenty of sand into your soil (80% of the resulting soil should be sand).