Topsoil for Laying Turf

If you are looking to lay a new lawn, you need to check that your existing soil is up to the task! Good soil preparation tends to be the most time consuming part of laying a lawn, but it will make sure your lawn gets off to the best possible start.

If you have removed an existing lawn whilst redesigning a garden, chances are that the soil will be good enough quality to lay your new turf onto. If your soil is poor quality and has been a bit neglected however, give you turf the best start by adding a layer of topsoil.

Turf ideally needs around four inches of top soil to root in. Not everyone will need to add four inches however, you may just need to add an inch or two depending on the quality and depth of the existing soil. Top soil is commonly sold in bulk bags which are approximately one cubic metre in size and hold just under a tonne of soil. These cover approximately 30m2 to a depth of one inch (2.5cm). Turf isn’t the fussiest of plants when it comes to soil. It will grow in most soil types so as long as you buy a good quality, screened top soil you can go far wrong.

Once you are happy with the thickness and the quality of the layer of topsoil that you have, you are ready to carry out the following stages of soil preparation:

Step 1: ​Turn over

Using a spade (or a powered cultivated if you have a large lawn!) the top 15-20cm of soil needs to be turned over and loosened.

Step 2: Remove weeds

Any weeds need to be removed from the area, unless you want them interfering with your lawn. This can just be done by hand, or a contact weed killer can be used. Avoid residual weed killers as these take a while to flush out the system so will affect your turf. Ideally just physically remove the weeds. 

Step 3: Remove stones

Make sure any large stones are removed. By buying a good quality screened top soil this task should be quite minimal. 

Step 4: Rake

It is important to get the soil surface level for your new lawn. Rake it a few times in different directions until it is nice and even.

Step 5: Tread lightly

Finally tread lightly across the surface. It is important to avoid compacting the soil too much, but the surface needs to be firm.

Soil preparation is often a bit overlooked or rushed, but it is an important step in order to get a lawn that you can be proud of. After all this preparation, actually laying the turf is the easy bit!

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