Lay a Good Turf Lawn

Turf lawns provide quicker results than seeded lawns. They're especially valuable for slopes, or to quickly create a play area for your children. Turf lawns take about two weeks to establish their growth.


 Soil preparation is critical to good lawn growth. Important steps are: 

  • cultivating (breaking up hard soil pans, removing large stones and breaking up clods) 
  • levelling 
  • achieving effective drainage. 


It's not a bad idea to allow weeds to grow following cultivation and then to kill them with herbicides before a second light cultivation prior to turfing.


Make sure your soil is pH 5.5 to 6.5 by applying lime. On clay soils use gypsum to improve soil structure.


Before applying your turf, lightly tamp your soil surface and make sure your levels are as you require. This should allow for drainage, though even "level" lawns need some falls. Applying a light dressing of Debco SaturAid will ensure that the roots of your new lawn take up adequate water for strong growth.


Purchase your turf from a reliable turf grower or your local nursery. They will advise you about the type that will suit your needs and your climate. In cooler parts of Australia you can choose from Kentucky/fescue or bent grass/fescue mixtures. Further north, couch, buffalo and kikuyu will be more suitable.


Apply a lawn starter fertiliser to the soil surface. Rake it in lightly before turfing, at rate of 1/3 cup per square metre.


Lay your turf as soon as it arrives from your supplier. The sooner you lay it, the more healthy and vigorous it will be. Lay turf by rolling it cut onto the ground. Alternate the joins, like the bonding in a brick wall, and fill gaps with soil and small pieces of turf. Tempting as it may be, it is not a good practice to cut turf with your best kitchen knife. The turf will be well cut, but the knife is rarely what it used to be! A sharp blade is important to get a clean turf cut.


My best tip is to work on a strong timber board. Lay your first turf row, then place a plank on that turf and lay your next turf row while standing on this board. By doing this you use your weight to tamp down the turf as you walk along the plank, while you also protect your new turf.


Turf is probably best laid in spring or autumn, although I have laid lawns in January. Just make sure your new grass is well watered. If allowed to dry out it can soon go yellow and crisp, not a happy result for all your efforts!