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This post aims to give you a simple and easy to follow guide to preparing your garden for turfing, giving you the best chance of success and saving you time and money.
Before you rush out and order your turf it is important to know what you need to order, how much to order and any other products you may need to complete your project. Once it has been delivered turf will only have a very small (between 1-2 days) window before it starts to deteriorate, so planning is key. Below is a short checklist, make sure you have completed all the steps before you order.
- Remove any existing grass and vegetation
- Measure the area to establish how much turf to order
- Dig over the soil to a depth of 10-15cm. For larger areas a rotavator is recommended
- Initially level the area
- Check to see if you need more soil for levelling, or if the existing soil needs improvement (More on this later)
- Firm down the soil
- Order Turf
- Shallowly rake the surface to create a fine tilth (1-2 days before laying of turf)
The first stage of preparation is to remove all existing grass, plants and weeds. It is well worth spending the time to be thorough here, the last thing anyone wants is weeds sprouting in their nice new turf.
For large areas a mechanical turf cutter can be hired from most local tool hire centres, these save a lot of time and effort. All turf that is removed can be taken to your local green waste centre, or alternatively can be stored, grass side down, in a shady corner of your garden to rot down before adding to your compost heap.
Next you will need to dig over the freshly exposed soil to a minimum of 10cm/ 4", although a depth of 15cm/6" is better. Again if you have a larger garden then a mechanical rotavator can be hired relatively inexpensively, and will save a lot of effort.
Once this stage is completed then you are on to the next step
How complex this stage is will depend a lot on the shape of your garden.
For square or rectangular areas it is as simple as measuring the length and width of the garden, in meters. Then multiply these numbers together to get the square meterage.
For more complex shapes it is best to either break them down into simple squares or use an online calculator such as https://www.calculator.net/area-calculator.html to work it out for you.
Once you have worked out the area you need to cover remember to add between 5-10% for wastage, depending on the number of cuts you will have to do.
How much effort you put into this stage depends on what result you would like to achieve. For some people nothing less than a perfectly flat, bowling green style, lawn will do. For others a more natural lawn, complete with contours is perfectly acceptable.
Once you have finished your initial levelling, then assess whether you need to import topsoil to achieve your desired result. For all turfing jobs we would recommend use of our premium topsoil, as this is specially blended to be workable and easy to spread where you need it.
This stage is where it gets a little trickier to judge. To give your turf the best chance of establishing and growing well you need to have a good level of nutrients in the soil for the roots to feed on.
It is very hard to judge the nutrient levels in the soil, but as a rule of thumb if you have nice workable topsoil (i.e. a dark brown crumbly soil) then the nutrient levels should be sufficient. If you are working with a sub soil, or a heavy clay soil then some improvement will be required.
For soil improvement prior to turfing we would recommend using our 10mm compost, rather than our soil improver/mulch. This is due to the fact that the 10mm compost contains much smaller pieces, and will therefore be easier to create a nice level finish with.
Alternatively, if you are happy with the existing soil then you can skip this step and just apply a pre turfing fertiliser straight to the existing soil.
This can be the most tedious part of preparing the soil, but it is very important so do not skip it.
Strangely the best way to firm down the soil to the desired compaction is by walking on it. Taking small steps, move first up and down the length of your garden. Once this is completed repeat the process moving from side to side.
Once you have completed all the above steps you are ready to order. When ordering turf for delivery make sure to find out how it is delivered, and what the timescale is. Ideally you want the turf to be delivered in the morning and laid the same day.
Once you have a confirmed delivery day for your turf make time 1-2 days before hand to give the area a final rake. It is also advisable to water the soil at this time if no rain is forecast.
I hope this guide has been helpful, and i would like to wish you the best of luck with your project.