How to lay a turfed lawn
Lawns are often one of the most important parts of a garden; and a smooth, green sward sets off trees, plants and flowers beautifully. Lawns can be created by seed or turf, and although laying a turf lawn is more expensive, it will give you an instant lawn that is ready to walk on in just a month.
When to lay turf
The best time for laying turf is in the autumn or spring when the weather is not too wet or cold. Bear in mind if laying turf in the spring that your new lawn will need extra watering during any dry spells over the summer. Rolls of turf should be used straight away, so if you can't lay your turf lawn immediately, store them in the shade and do not let them dry out, watering them lightly.
Preparation is key when laying a turf lawn and should really begin at least a month or so in advance, to give the soil plenty of time to settle.
Choose a fine day when the soil surface is fairly dry, and clear the site of all existing plants, grass and weeds. When laying turf it is essential that the ground is level and firm so once the site is clear, fork it over, breaking up clods with a rake, and take out any large stones. Firm the ground with your feet, taking small overlapping steps with the weight on your heels, and then rake the soil a few times. Do this in different directions until the soil is crumbly in texture and level.
When laying a turf lawn start at one end so that you face the bare soil. Always work from a plank of wood or board rather than damaging the newly laid turf. One good tip for laying turf is to lay in staggered rows, in a similar pattern to a brick wall, making sure there are no gaps in between. Once all the turf has been laid, tamp it down firmly with the back of a rake and brush fine topsoil into the joints. This will help the lawn to establish quickly.
Leave a new lawn alone for the first few days to allow roots to develop. After laying a turf lawn you may need to water frequently, every few days, until the turf has rooted into the soil below. Otherwise, water when the weather is dry, every couple of weeks. Take care not to overwater as this can lead to shallow rooting and encourage weeds. Once the grass is about 5cm high it can be given its first cut with the mower blades set high.