How to Lay Turf – 5 Easy Steps to Success

Do you know how to lay turf like a pro? Laying turf is the easiest way to create an instant new lawn. Rolls of turf are reasonably inexpensive but are typically around £15 per m2 if you want a proffesional to lay them for you (2023 prices).

However, laying turf yourself can be very rewarding and can save you money, you can generally finish laying them in just hours! Depending on the size of the lawn you wish to create of course. 

Once laid you will get a beautifully lush garden lawn, usually with mixed hard-wearing perennial ryegrasses that will last for years.

The best time to lay your turf is during the spring or autumn when the rains will help establish the roots of the new turf in a timely manner for the summer sun and or winter frosts. 

The key to laying your new turf is preparation. Ensure you prepare your ground correctly by ‘forking’ over removing any weeds and large stones and levelling the area out with a rake. By doing this it will make laying your new lawn easy!

Once completed lay your new turf so that it ‘overlaps’ slightly before ‘watering in’ well.  Continue to water every few days following laying to ensure the establishment of your turf.

Now simply follow this step-by-step guide to laying a turf lawn, below.

How to Lay Turf – Video with Alan Tichmarsh

Before You Start

Before you start to lay your turf, be sure to check out the video above this will give you a good visual guide on what steps you should be taking. Then you will need the following items:



How to Lay Turf in Your Garden:

Step 1 – Preparation

As mentioned preparing the ground before laying your turf will make your lawn look and feel a lot better. You’ll want to level it, remove stones, and add some topsoil if necessary if the ground is uneven.

Once completed then rake out any bumps or dips. Ensure you spread the fertiliser one week before you lay your turf so that grass can grow with all of its nutrients intact!

How to Lay Turf - Person Raking the Ground in Preparation

How to Lay Turf – Rake Your Soil Level

Step 2- Compaction

Next, After you have raked the soil, firm the surface by walking on it with small shuffle-type steps to compact the soil you have just raked to remove any ‘air’ pockets.

Any shallow ‘dips’ in the ground should be filled up again using some topsoil and or compost a shovelful at a time and compacted out evenly across that prepared ground.  With this ‘shoe shuffle’ done finally use your rake one last time for good measure!

How to Lay Turf - Firming Ground with Your Feet

How to Lay Turf – Firm the Ground with Small ‘Shuffle’ Type Steps

(Photo Credit: Gardeners World)

Step 3 – Laying the Turves

Next, lay the turves on top of your prepared soil, abut them tightly and stagger them so you do not have a straight joint in all directions, a little bit like building a wall. If you need to walk across a large area without ruining any turf, use planks of wood as stepping stones instead!

How to Lay Turf – Place the Turf Ensuring You Stagger The Joints

Step 4 – Clean Up

Next, if you want a ‘clean edge’ to your new lawn, you will more than likely need to cut off excess turf using a ‘sharp knife’ or even your garden spade. 

The best way to do this is to get a ‘builders line’ and ‘peg’ out the line between the 2 points you require the clean ‘edge’ to follow. Then place your ‘plank’ along this line, this gives you a nice firm edge to cut along. Move your plank along the line until the ‘edge’ is complete and all excess turf is removed.

Bang the turves all ‘over’ with the back of your spade or similar to ensure they make good contact with the soil before giving the whole area a very good watering in.

How to Lay Turf - Cutting a straight Edge with a knife

How to Lay Turf – Trim off Excess Turf Using a Line and Knife

Step 5 – Watering the Turves

In order for your newly laid turf to become established, you’ll need to take care of them in the first few weeks.

Never let your turves dry out, when turves are dry, they can start breaking down and weed seeds will grow on them; this is something we want to avoid at all costs.

Turves should be moistened by watering regularly during the early days. During this time, it’s essential to not let the turves dry out. Therefore, water your turves regularly for a few weeks and start mowing when the lawn becomes 3cm- 6cm (1in-2.5in) high – Take care not to cut more than one-third of their total height at once, this is in order to keep your lawn healthy and looking its be.

Red Lawn Mower

How to Lay Turf – Mowing Your Lawn, Taking Care Not to Take Off to Much


How Long Does it Take For Turf to Root?

It takes about two to three weeks for turf to root into the soil.

How Do You Lay Turf on a Slope? 

Lay the turf across the slope, peg it down, and water it thoroughly.

How Do You Cut Turf to Fit Around Curves?

Use a sharp knife or shears to cut the turf to fit around curves or irregular shapes. 


If you’re thinking about laying your own garden turf, we hope that this post has given you some valuable information to help with the process.

To recap, make sure you prepare the soil properly by raking and firming turves before they are laid; lay them in a criss-cross pattern so water can drain through it easily; give them care over the first few days after laying (keep off as much as possible), and finally don’t forget to get out there in autumn or spring for planting!

If this article has helped you in any way, please share it amongst your family and garden-loving friends or anybody looking at getting turf laid now or in the future. 

Finally, you can always pop over to our general gardening FAQ page to find out more about how to lay turf and a whole host of other answers to your gardening questions and queries.