Before You Install New Turf, Make Sure Your Soil Is Ready

Grass is a pretty hardy plant, which is one of the many reasons why it's what you'll almost always find used as a ground covering in gardens around the world. One of the most useful things about it is that you can totally transform the way a patch of ground looks in hardly any time at all. If you want your lawn installation finished as fast as possible, laying turf means you get a near-instant lawn without the waiting time that seed involves.

Although turf is straightforward and reliable, you shouldn't assume your lawn will grow well without any care and effort. Before you get started laying turf, make sure you prepare the soil by following these tips.

Get rid of weeds

The first step should be to get rid of any invasive plants that will compete with your new lawn, as they can cause significant problems in time. If there aren't many, you can dig or pull them up, but otherwise, you'll need a weedkiller. Some weedkillers stay in the soil and stop regrowth, which will kill your lawn. Make sure you get one that works through contact with individual plants.

Perform a test

Although it's not as fussy as many other plants, grass likes soil that has a pH of around 6 to 7.5. You can get a testing kit to see how yours measures up. If you find your soil too acidic, which will have a lower pH, add some limestone to neutralise it. Too alkaline, and sulphur is what you should mix in.

Mix in some compost

Compost will help to loosen dense, impacted soil, and it also gives a shot of nutrients that will get your lawn off to a strong start. It's time-consuming to mix compost into the whole area you'll be laying turf, but it's well worth the effort to ensure a successful lawn installation.

Weed again

At this point, you might have found some new weeds have begun to grow. You shouldn't need weedkiller this time, though; there should be few enough of them that you can simply pull them up, roots and all.


The last step before laying turf is to make sure the soil is loose and aerated. A garden fork is the best way to do this; just gently lift the soil over the whole area to loosen it up. Once you've finished with this, smooth it down slightly, but be careful not to pack it in tightly and undo all your hard work.