How To Horticulture - Lawn Turfing

  1. Prepare your site - (see SITE PREP guide).
  2. Rotavate the blank canvas and thoroughly tread the soil with your heels.
  3. If you want to improve your soil by adding a fresh layer of top soil you should do this now.
  4. Rake either your fresh soil or trodden ground to a smooth level and remove any large stones / debris which are at the surface, tread the soil thoroughly with your heels.
  5. Repeat the last step until you have a lovely smooth surface, at this point you should stop walking on the soil and leave it raked with a fine textured crumbled surface.
  6. Working from boards lay the first rolls of turf around the perimeter of your new lawn area. then working from the straightest edge roll out the turf in lines, each line should be staggered to avoid large joint lines, to do this start the first row with a full length turf, then the second row with a half length turf, the third with a full length and so on until the whole area has been covered.
  7. Any overlapping turfs or features (stepping stones, utility covers etc) that have been temporarily turfed over can now be cut around with edging shears.
  8. Using boards (scaffolding boards work well) laid flat on the grass and a heavy object such as a tamper firmly tamp the boards, gradually move the boards around until you have tamped the whole lawn. This will help to push the turf down to the soil and even out any small bumps.
  9. Give the lawn a good drink.


Adding fresh (good quality) top soil will not only give your new turf a nice growing medium, it will also make it easier to get a good level on the lawn.

Once the soil levels are nearly right you may find it easier to work with the back of the rake which will move small quantities of soil and allow you to 'smooth' the lumps out of the surface.

By rotavating the soil you will be turning the tired top soil with slightly fresher lower soil and mixing the nutrient content, you are also allowing valuable air into the structure.

Specialist fertilisers and mycorrhizal fungus are available to speed up and aid establishment of a new lawn.

If your lawn will be significantly higher than the existing levels i.e. 5cm you probably don't need to rotavate the existing soil and can simply add the new soil directly on top.

When rolling out the turf you can create an appealing striped effect on the lawn by alternating the direction you unroll the turfs on each row.

Your new lawn will need lots of water, especially in the summer months (possibly twice a day in hot dry weather), the only water reserve of the turf is in the soil it has been grown and supplied with, until it has established roots into your gardens soil it will not be able to look after itself. You can check the progress of your lawn every few days by lifting up the corner of a turf and looking underneath, fresh root growth looks like white fluffy hair, once the roots have penetrated the soil you wont be able to lift the turf without ripping the grass. At this point you can confidently reduce the frequency of water, but keep your eye on it for a while.



  • Edging shears
  • Wheel barrow
  • Boards (scaffolding boards are ideal)
  • Rake (the larger the rake the quicker you'll be finished)
  • Rotavator
  • Spade



  • Fresh top soil
  • Turf
  • Fertiliser