Step 1: Plan your yard
When it comes down to landscaping your backyard, always be sure to leave turf until last. This way, you won't have to work over your fresh new turf whilst tending to other jobs.
Make sure the area you are looking to lay turf on is suitable. Think shade, mowing and access to good quality water.
Step 2: Choose a suitable grass type
Now it's time to choose your turf type. It is critical you do your research as different varieties of turf perform very differently from one another.
Make sure you seek professional advice on which grass variety suits your situation. Be sure to factor in future shade, wear and tear and access to water.
Step 3: Check your turf underlay soil
Conduct a pH test on your soil using a pH testing kit. You want to have a pH between 5.5 and 7. Don't worry if it is either side of this, as pH can be adjusted with some treatment.
A sand-soil base is always preferred. If you have a clay base you will need to de-compact this and add sand soil. If your base is already sandy, look at mixing in some organics to boost nutrients.
Check with your local LSA supplier if you are unsure if your soil is suitable or if you have any other questions.
Step 4: Measure how much turf you need
Measuring for turf is easy! Simply find the square meterage of your yard by breaking it up into geometric shapes which are easy to find the area then add these shapes together %u2013 use our online turf area calculator to do this for you.
After you find your total, add 5% to this to factor in for cutting around odd shapes and objects such as trees. For more information on measuring your yard, please take a look at our easy to follow blog and you will find articles such as this one on how to measure your yard.
Now it is time to ring your local LSA grower and order some turf! Try to order the turf for the day you are able to lay it. Most LSA farms can supply you the turf the very next day from placing the order.
Step 5: Prepare the underlay
Kill off any existing vegetation using glyphosate or a similar non-selective herbicide. You may need 2 applications to ensure all existing vegetation is completely eradicated.
Hoe in and turn over the existing base and remove any excess vegetation that has been sprayed out.
Depending on your existing base, add in any soil required to make sure you have the appropriate base for turf. Always be sure to double check pH to ensure it is in the appropriate range of 5.5 – 7.
Finally, its time to get your levels correct. When looking to lay turf flush with an edge, keep your soil about 30-40mm below this height to allow for the thickness of the turf. Smooth out the rest of your soil, remembering to factor in drainage as you do so.
Step 6: Lay the turf rolls or slabs
Spread a starter fertiliser such as Lawn Launcher to the base and rake in lightly. Ensure all soil is smooth and ready for turf and remember to keep in mind drainage and water flow.
When your turf arrives, try to get it laid as soon as possible. If it's a hot day, make sure you water each section as you lay it to avoid drying the turf out.
Start laying turf on a straight edge at the furthest point to your access and lay back towards the exit, so you are not working over fresh turf. Lay turf in a brickwork pattern, butting edges together. If you are working on a slope, lay turf across the slope.
Use a spade or shears to shape turf around edges and trees. Do not throw away excess pieces until you are satisfied you have covered all areas.
Once complete, roll the turf to ensure good contact with the soil. Give the fresh new turf a deep water immediately.
Step 7: Aftercare in the first 6 weeks
You have just laid your fresh new lawn, now its time to look after it! The most crucial aspect in the first month is to water your lawn well so it can establish and remain healthy. Depending on the time of year, you should be watering deeply every day for the first 3 weeks or until your first mow. Don't be alarmed if the corners and edges of the turf pieces begin to yellow slightly, this is pretty common with new lawns.
Try to keep traffic off your new lawn as much as possible until it has rooted in. After about 4 weeks (depending on the time of year) your lawn will be ready for its first mow. Before doing this, ensure you can not lift any of the slabs up to ensure they have rooted into the soil.
When you are mowing for the first time, mow on a slightly higher setting than normal then slowly bring it down to your preferred height over the next 2 or 3 mows. Continue watering a couple of times per week over this period to ensure the turf doesn't dry out.
After about 6 weeks your lawn will be due for a fertilise to really finish the establishment period off. This should be done with an NPK fertiliser and watered in well after application.
Now, it's time to get out there and enjoy your lawn! Remember to fertilise every 8-10 weeks and water as required. Don't be afraid to contact us if you have any questions along the way!
What to watch out for
It is critical, and often overlooked, to consider drainage and water flow when preparing your base ready for turf. Try to ensure no water is sitting on the lawn, or flowing towards buildings in heavy rain events.
Timing your turf order
As turf is a perishable product, you have to be sure to lay it as soon as its delivered. If it sits idle for a few days during summer, the turf will burn on the pallet and will not survive so be sure to only order the turf when you have prepared the base and are ready.
During the early stages of your lawns life, it is crucial to ensure it gets plenty of water to stay alive. Keep an eye out for any sign of your lawn drying out. The leaves could be curling, thinning or changing colour. If this is the case, you know you need to apply more water.
If your new lawn is producing a seed head, it means it is under stress. It could be either hungry or thirsty or both. This is a sign your lawn is due for an application of fertiliser or is crying out for more water.