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 and allow it to flourish in it's new environment.

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 neglected over the years, give your turf the best start at adapting to it's new environment 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 turf and screened top soil you can't 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 cultivator if you have a large lawn) the top 15-20cm of soil needs to be turned over and loosened. Make sure you break up any larger pieces as you go.

Step 2: Remove weeds

Any weeds need to be removed from the area, unless you want them interfering with your new lawn. This can just be done by hand, or a contact weed killer can be used. Avoid residual weed killers as these take some time to flush out the system so will affect your turf. Ideally you should just physically remove the weeds including the root, so they won't grow back or interfere with the new lawn. If the root is still present they may spring back up again in the new turf.

Step 3: Remove stones & debris

Make sure any large stones or debris are removed and the area is clear. By buying a good quality screened top soil this task should be quite minimal. If you are buying topsoil from us, it will be screened to 10mm and so you can skip this step.

Step 4: Rake level

It is important to get the soil surface level for your new lawn. Rake it a few times in different directions until your plot is nice and even. This will also make the new lawn look much more impressive when laid on a flat surface and help with more even drainage in the future.

Step 5: Tread lightly

Finally tread lightly across the surface to compact the soil. It is important to avoid compacting the soil too much, but the surface needs to be firm enough for the turf roots to knit into effectively.

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 should be the easy bit! Once your plot is ready, simply unroll the turf across the soil in a staggered formation, like how you would lay a brick wall. Give the lawn a good soak every evening and it will knit together nicely over the next couple of weeks. For more information, check out our handy turf laying guide:

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