Clear the site of debris, large stones and weeds. If persistent weeds are present you may wish to spray with a proprietary brand of herbicide. NB: spray chemical treatments are not essential - good results are achievable without.
When the soil is dry, dig over or rotavate the site, correcting any high or low spots using a screened topsoil to give your turf the best possible start.
Roughly set out shape and contours.
Firm the area using your feet or a garden roller. It will be firm enough when you leave a light impression of your footprint, without sinking. Level and grade the soil to the exact shape and contours required, getting the surface as smooth as possible. Rake to a fine tilth to a depth of about 20mm
As an option at this stage you can incorporate a general purpose fertiliser and rake into the surface if soil is of low fertility.
Ensure all preparation is completed prior to the turf arriving on site. Bring turf to site. Avoid walking on the prepared site. After the first row of turf has been laid work from planks to minimise walking on the newly laid lawn.
Start at the longest straight edge of your site. Lay turf end to end, butting up as closely as possible. Lay the turf in a brick like fashion by staggering the joints and rake again just before laying. Avoid stretching the turf. Firm the turf down using a light roller and water immediately. Ensure water soaks through to the underlying soil. Keep watered until fully established. (Tips on coping with Drought can be found below).
When mowing, box all clippings, never remove more than 25% of growth at any one mowing. The first mowing should take place when over 20mm of new growth has appeared. Only remove this new growth at the first cut, and only gradually reduce mowing height if a close cut is required. There may be foreign bodies in turf, so please use gloves.
Coping with drought: Top tips if you're working with turf during a dry spell
- Plan ahead to prevent the turf drying out: don't have more turf delivered in a day than you can lay.
- Only buy fresh turf.
- When your turf is delivered to you, stack it in a shady place with the aim on lying all that is delivered in the course of the day.
- Prepare and wet the ground immediately before laying the turf.
- To conserve water usage, lay and water-in no more than 20% of the delivery at a time. This means that the first turf laid won't have a totally dried out when you reach the end.
- In the days following, water only either in the early morning or in the early evening, so the sun doesn't burn off the water you've added.
- Give the turf a light rolling to ensure good contact with the soil underneath.
- Hold back on the mowing: the blades of grass should be at least 25mm in height.
- As the turf establishes over the first month, water less frequently. After a month the turf should be well established.
- A knapsack sprayer, edging shears, lawn edger, fertiliser spreader, spades, trowels, garden lines, canes and planks for any turf laying
- Suitable watering equipment
- A good quality mower
- Aeration machine (garden fork for small areas)
- A roller
- Besom or stiff broom
- A lawn rake or scarifier (hand tool or motorised)
- A stiff brush and a lute for top-dressing
Rather than using a herbicide to kill weeds in the turf try using a knife to cut out the root. Each time the turf is mown pick out the weeds as you go along. It's a little extra work but it is much cheaper, greener and it's much more effective!
Information provided by Inturf.