Rex Nye from independent builders’ merchant D.W. Nye offers his top tips for lawn-laying and getting the most out of your grass this spring.
All over the country, garden lawns have endured a real bashing following an onslaught from snow and rain over the winter. The deluge of water has no doubt left homeowners staring at their boggy back gardens wondering how to remedy the results of the recent harsh conditions. With spring finally on the horizon, and the weather hopefully warming up, now is a great time to tackle the turf.
Laying new turf can be a lengthy process, but with a little planning and preparation beforehand you’ll be looking at a lush lawn by summer.
Choose your time
Conditions are important when it comes to deciding when to start a turfing task. If there’s still a ground frost at night, it’s best to wait until the weather warms up to prevent the grass dying off before it has a chance to get properly established. Conversely, avoid laying turf during hot, dry periods as this can make the process more difficult.
Out with the old
Before laying new turf it’s wise to remove the existing grass using a herbicide. This will stop any weeds from the old lawn spreading and affecting your newly laid lawn. But bear in mind that this is not an overnight quick fix and should be done weeks beforehand to make sure all the weeds have been killed off. To save time and energy, rather than using a hoe, consider hiring a turf or sod cutter from a specialist shop. Once the old lawn has been removed, you can create compost from the green waste or take it to a local recycling centre.
Sort the soil
Prepare the site by removing stones and loosening the ground before covering it with topsoil. To make sure the ground is level, it’s advisable to walk over the surface to compact the new layer before a final rake over and level check. Aim for a minimum of 15cms of soil under the new grass to aid drainage and water retention. Then make sure you water the soil a couple of days before the new turf arrives and rake again.
Laying the turf
Start by laying your new turf along a straight line, to form a row. The following row should be staggered to create a brickwork effect. Push each section into the topsoil to ensure contact between the two layers. Don’t stretch the grass over cracks as this will tear the roots and kill off new growth. Instead fill any gaps with soil. Avoid walking directly on the grass during the laying process by using planks of wood placed on top.
Give it a drink
Once your new turf is in place be sure to water your newly laid lawn every day until it has taken root. Early morning or evening are the best times for retaining water in the soil. Don’t delay mowing the lawn – keep the length under control to allow sunshine to reach the roots but never remove more than one third of the blade length.