How do you lay turf?
Laying new turf is a great way to breathe new life into a tired garden space. It's fairly simple and if you're relatively fit then it's not difficult for a confident DIYer. The key s the preparation, so here is a step by step guide to turfing your outdoor space.
Clear the area you wish to lay turf on. Remove any old turf, being careful to remove all the roots of any weeds that are growing in it. If the area is over grown and weedy then be very careful to rmove all roots, otherwise the weeds will just grow up through the new turf and ruin it.
Turn over the soil with a fork to loosen the top 6 inches and break it up. You can use a rotovator for this if it is a large area.
Add a fertiliser to the soil. Well rotted manure is excellent for this. Ensure it is rotted and not fresh as fresh manure can cause the grass to burn and kill off root systems.
If the soil is of poor quality, especially if it is heavy clay, then add some new topsoil to improve structure and drainage. Sand can also be used to break up clay soils and improve drainage, but ensure that the sand is washed thoroughly as often it can contain salt which will cause damage to the new turf.
Rake the soil with a fine rake to further break it up, and remove any large stones or roots that remain.
Compact the soil so that it is level and firm using a tamper or compactor plate (also known as a whacker).
Rake over again to loosen the top layer and give the roots a chance to bind.
Now lay your turf. Lay turf in rows horizontal in relation to your house, or the area you will likely sit and look out from. Alternate joins in the turf similar to how you would lay bricks. When it is laid, put a scaffold board onto the grass, and whack it down using a tamper, repeating the process until the whole lawn has been whacked.
You'll inevitably need to cut in some pieces. the trick here is to lay a piece of turf over another piece, then cut in by cutting through both pieces. I use a 4 inch serrated lock knife for this. This means any joins line up perfectly.
Seed in between the gaps of the turf joins. This means that grass will provide full coverage if the turf shrinks a little, which it often does.
Finally, water the turf, really soak it through. Do this for around 10 minutes in the morning and the evening for around 2 weeks. This allows the roots to bind into the soil below at which time they will be able to draw their own moisture up out of the ground.
After 6 weeks, you can mow it.
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