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Garden Projects : Laying a New Lawn

Autumn or winter is a good time to lay a new lawn, especially if yours is overgrown with weeds, or perhaps diseased. You will be able to see and treat any perennial weeds to remove them, and also give your new lawn turf time to establish over the winter, before the stresses of next summer. So what do you need to do?

1)     Clear the site

Remove all the old turf and get rid of it. A half-moon tool is a good option for easing up the turf, or you can use a sharp spade. Don’t be tempted to compost it if it’s full of perennial weeds, or could be diseased, but dispose of it properly. Treat the whole site with glyphosate to get rid of any perennial weeds. Once you’ve treated, wait a couple of weeks to make sure that there are no more perennial weeds, and treat again if necessary. After the second treatment, wait again. Yes, it’s time-consuming, but better than having to do this all again next year!

2)     Dig it over and add new topsoil

Dig the whole site over to about a spade’s depth to give your new lawn turf something to grow into, and to avoid any compaction which could result in waterlogging of your new lawn. Once dug, cover the whole area with a good layer of topsoil several inches deep. If you’re struggling to work out how much topsoil you need, then have a look at this nice little video on YouTube, which explains how to calculate your topsoil requirements in both cubic metres and tonnes.

Adding the topsoil will both give your new turf something to grow in, and also allow you to level the site a bit if necessary. Again, wait a few weeks after putting down the topsoil to allow it to settle. Once the topsoil has settled, and you have removed any more weeds that have emerged, then tramp the soil down carefully, all over the lawn area.

3)     Lay your turf

Don’t order your turf until you are pretty much ready to use it, as it doesn’t like standing about. If you do have to keep turf waiting, then unroll it and keep it flat until you need it. Once you’re ready to lay, then you need to work from one side of the lawn to the other, to avoid leaning on your newly-laid turf. Unroll the turf where you want it to go, using your additional topsoil to level the edges of strips where necessary, and firm it in with a roller at the end.

4)     Protect and keep watered

Try not to walk on your new lawn turf for at least a few days! You also need to make sure that it doesn’t dry out until the roots have had a chance to establish, which may mean watering in a prolonged dry patch. Although that’s not normally a problem in autumn, recent years suggest that it could be!. You may also need to water it more than usual next summer if there is a dry period.