How To Prepare Your Soil For Turf 


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How To Prepare Your Soil For Turf 

June 03, 2024     

Whether you’re ready to roll out your brand-new George Davies turf or are attempting to grow your lawn with high-quality grass seed, they involve a very similar process, and both have one secret ingredient: preparation! 

When it comes to mastering the perfect lawn, its success is determined by what’s going on underneath. If you perfect preparing your soil, then laying turf and watching it flourish is easy. The good news is that preparing your soil ready for turfing is pretty straightforward, too, especially with our easy 8-step guide below. 

8 Steps To Properly Prepare Your Soil The Right Way 

  1. Give yourself some time 

First thing first, preparing your soil and laying turf requires some attention. Free up a day or two to prepare your garden when the weather looks fairly dry and cool. When continuing with the following steps, aim to prepare your soil as close to the delivery date of your turf as possible for the best results.   

2. Clear away any debris 

You want a clean canvas. So, start by removing any greenery or garden debris, including existing turf, weeds, plants, roots, leaves, sticks, etc. Depending on the size of the area you’re turfing, you can do this by hand, garden spade, or using a machine for larger areas. Pop any bits you clear away into your compost bin to reuse later. 

3. Turnover your soil 

Is digging up soil for turf different from just digging? A little bit! For this step, we recommend using a garden fork or mechanical rotavator for ease. The idea is to break up compacted soil to allow more air, water, and nutrients to move through with little resistance. This will help nourish the soil and give your new turf roots a better chance to anchor in. Turn over the soil to about 15cm deep and remove any bug stones, bricks, or rubble as you go. 

4. Scatter some topsoil 

This is your chance to improve your soil (if needed). Adding a layer of high-quality topsoil feeds essential nutrients to your existing soil base while providing a loamy surface that will improve water absorbency and drainage for your new lawn. Again, giving your fresh turf the best, healthiest base to start from. 

5. Level out your soil 

Unless you’re looking for a lawn that looks like a crazy golf course, now’s the time to level out the area where you want to lay turf. Levelling your soil for turf ensures a flat, smooth surface as it grows. Not only does this create a perfectly even lawn, but it also makes it a lot easier to roll out turf. To level out your soil, start by raking over the area, removing or breaking up any large clumps of soil. 

6. Time to shuffle… 

This is the fun part: the gardener’s shuffle! This involves wearing flat-soled shoes and shuffling your feet across the soil. Take tiny steps whilst gently pressing the soil down. This helps compact the soil slightly for a firmer surface whilst helping fill out any holes or hollows. Shuffle up and down until you’ve covered the entire area – maybe recruit some helpers for this step! 

7. Add a layer of fertiliser 

If you wish, you can add a layer of high-quality fertiliser at this stage. Depending on the time of year you’re laying your turf will influence what type of soil fertiliser you should use. Choose a spring/summer fertiliser to boost your grass’s nutrients to create a thick, colourful lawn. Alternatively, use an autumn/winter fertiliser to strengthen your turf over the colder months. 

Some people choose to use a weedkiller at this point, too. However, if you use a residual weedkiller, you’ll need to wait a couple of weeks for it to make its way through the soil so it doesn’t affect your new turf. De-weeding by hand is always the better option if you can.  

8. Roll out your turf (or sow your seeds) 

Once you’ve completed these steps, you’re good to go and will have a fantastic soil base for your turf! When turfing, be mindful of where you’re stepping so you don’t compact or indent the beautifully prepared soil. Use wooden planks to support your weight. To effectively roll out your turf, read our handy step-by-step guide or watch our video from George on how to lay turf. 

What You Need To Prepare Your Soil For Turf 

  • Practical gardening shoes, gloves and clothing 
  • Garden Fork 
  • Garden Rake 

Speak To The Turfing Experts 

If you need more information on how to prepare your soil for turfing, how much topsoil you need, laying turf or ever choosing the right type of turf, our friendly team at GDT has got you covered! 


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