The Essential Guide to Turf and Topsoil for Your Garden


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The Essential Guide to Turf and Topsoil for Your Garden

May 08, 2024     

Whether you’re a seasoned landscaper or a novice gardener, understanding the intricacies of turf and topsoil is essential for creating a lush, healthy garden. In this guide, we’ll delve into everything you need to know about selecting the right turf and topsoil for your projects, from choosing the best varieties to proper installation techniques. 

Here at George Davies Turf, we know the pivotal role both turf and topsoil can play in transforming your garden. We’ve worked on a whole host of projects and helped turn a customer’s dream into a reality. Let’s start with turf, it can help turn your barren landscape into a lush haven for relaxation and recreation. Topsoil, on the other hand, is the lifeblood of plant growth, providing essential nutrients, moisture retention, and a supportive structure for roots to flourish. 

Together, turf and topsoil create a harmonious landscape, enhancing biodiversity, reducing erosion, and providing you with a stunning outdoor space you can be proud of. 

Planning your landscaping project 

Whether it’s a small domestic garden or a professional football pitch, you need to know the specifications of your project before you can start.  

  • Area measurements – use our handy guide and turf calculator to confirm how many rolls of turf you’ll require. 
  • Is grass already there? – If yes, you’ll need to strip this away and prepare the area before laying new turf. 
  • Your soil type – the type of soil will influence the turf you choose. Our team can help you find the right match.  
  • Completion date – turf is usually the last piece of a landscaping project. Your end date will determine when to book your turf delivery. 

The importance of topsoil in gardening and landscaping 

The soil within your garden has most likely been there for several years and has, therefore, been compacted by footfall or affected by rain, drought, storms and frost. So, it probably needs an injection of healthiness, and that’s where topsoil plays a major role.   

Topsoil is packed full of essential minerals, valuable nutrients, and organic matter; everything your garden needs to grow strong and healthy foliage. It tends to have a fine texture, making it superb for absorbing and effectively draining water. Furthermore, it helps plants establish new roots and build their strength so they can push further into the earth. And finally, a layer of topsoil on the surface of your flowerbed helps protect the soil and roots underneath from extreme weather conditions.   

So, overall, we’d say topsoil is important when it comes to gardening and landscaping! 

How to choose the right topsoil for your project 

Topsoil can be split into 3 grades: premium, general purpose and economy. Each grade holds qualities best suited to gardening tasks. For example, premium-grade topsoil has a fine, loamy soil structure that compacts well. It’s also high in fertility, making it ideal for flower beds, compost mixes and potted plants where plants will flourish.  

General purpose grade topsoil has a coarse texture due to the slightly bigger material particles. Although it’s still a suitable option for flower beds and borders, it also makes an excellent base for new lawns. Economy-grade topsoil isn’t screened as thoroughly as the other two types, so it’s bittier in texture and less fertile. Economy grade is often used to build up areas such as deep flower beds or uneven surfaces. The focus should always be on quantity rather than quality.   

Choosing the right topsoil all comes down to your garden project and your desired results. 

How much topsoil do I need? 

The great thing about topsoil is its versatility. It means even if you overorder, there are plenty of ways to use up leftovers. Ultimately, your requirement comes down to your garden landscape design. Focus on the areas where you plan to grow plants and vegetables, lay GDT turf, or any existing areas that could do with a topsoil mix. If you’re unsure on how much topsoil to use, this blog post provides you with all the information you need.  

Measure the length, width and depth required for each section, then head to our topsoil calculator.   

How to prepare and lay topsoil 

When creating a thriving and beautiful garden, the importance of quality topsoil cannot be overlooked. A nutrient-rich, well-balanced topsoil forms the foundation for healthy plant growth, providing essential elements and minerals to develop a healthy lawn, grow vegetables, or create a stunning flower bed.  

In this handy blog post, we’ve explained how to properly lay your topsoil, how to find the right mix and why choosing the most suitable topsoil is critical to creating a flourishing garden or landscape. 

Hopefully, all the above information has helped you in preparation for the next step, turfing! 

Preparing your garden for turfing

Before you start to lay your turf, assessing your outdoor space and soil conditions is essential. By understanding your environment and soil conditions, you can select turf that will thrive in your landscape and minimise maintenance challenges. 

First, determine the size of the area you want to turf by measuring its length and width, noting any obstacles such as trees, flower beds, or structures that may affect the turfing process. This will help prevent over- or under-ordering. 

Next, observe your outdoor space throughout the day to determine the amount of sunlight and shade different areas receive. Note any areas consistently shaded by buildings, trees, or other structures, which will influence turf selection. 

Finally, check for signs of poor drainage, such as standing water or soggy soil after rainfall. 

Choosing the right turf 

Choosing the right lawn turf is essential for creating an inviting outdoor space that enhances your home’s functionality and aesthetic appeal. With so many turf varieties available, selecting the suitable lawn turf for your garden can be daunting. Here’s an overview of our best-selling turf varieties and their benefits: 

Trident Turf 

Trident Turf is a mix of 75% fescue and 25% rye. Fine Fescue offers a fine texture and lush green colour, while Rye Grass is fast-growing and resilient; together, they create a vibrant, low-maintenance lawn that establishes quickly. 

Best Use: Trident Turf is a great all-rounder ideal for residential lawns, ornamental gardens, and recreational spaces. 

Buy Trident Turf. 

Wildflower Turf 

Wildflower turf contains 27 different perennial and annual seeds that will flower throughout the summer, creating a biodiverse and ecologically rich garden environment. 

The mix of native grasses and wildflowers offers a natural look and attracts and supports local wildlife, including pollinators like bees and butterflies. 

Best Use: Once established, wildflower turf typically needs less mowing and watering, making it an attractive option for those seeking a more natural and low-maintenance lawn. 

Buy Wildflower Turf. 

Species-Rich Turf 

Species-rich turf contains grass species, wildflowers, and clovers, creating a textured and diverse landscape. Like wildflower turf, species-rich turf undergoes seasonal changes as plant species bloom at various times. 

Unlike traditional lawns dominated by a single grass species, species-rich turf aims to replicate the diversity found in natural grasslands and meadows. 

Best Use: Species-rich turf is an excellent choice for creating a more natural and environmentally friendly landscape. It is particularly well-suited for homeowners and gardeners who prioritise biodiversity and want a visually appealing lawn. 

Buy Species Rich Turf. 

Greens Turf 

Greens turf is carefully cultivated from fine-textured grass varieties, creating a velvety-looking, manicured, and uniform surface. The individual grass blades are often finer than those found in standard lawns. They are typically mowed to a very short height, usually much lower than what is suitable for traditional lawns. 

Best Use: Greens turf is ideal for golf courses, sports fields, and ornamental lawns. Its close-cut height contributes to the smooth playing surface required for activities like putting. 

Buy Greens Turf. 

RTF Turf 

Rhizomatous tall fescue (RTF) is known for its unique growth characteristics and resilience. Unlike traditional tall fescue varieties, which spread mainly through tillering (the production of side shoots from the base of the plant), RTF can spread through rhizomes. The presence of rhizomes (underground stems that can produce new shoots and roots) allows RTF to spread horizontally, creating a dense and interconnected turf. 

Best Use: Due to its excellent drought tolerance and wear resistance, RTF turf is great for residential lawns in high-traffic areas, recreational areas and sports fields. 

Buy RTF Turf. 

Shade-Tolerant Turf 

Our Shade-Tolerant Turf is a blend of Trident Turf, which contains a mix of shady cultivars and our Shady Seed Mixture. This blend results in a combination of grasses adapted to lower light conditions and can maintain their health and appearance in shaded environments. 

Best Use: Ideal for lawns that receive limited sunlight due to trees, structures, or other obstacles. 

Buy Shade-Tolerant Turf. 

How much turf do I need? 

Once you have the space ready, it’s time to measure, but the method will vary depending on the shape of the lawn area. 

Rectangular and Square Lawns 

For the very common rectangular or square lawn, you will need to multiply the width by the length to get the area in square metres. Each roll from us is 1.65m x 0.6m wide and it works out to be 1 square metre, so the answer is also the number of rolls you will need. 

Circular Lawns 

You must measure the lawn at its widest point, also known as the diameter, but it’s best to note down two sets of measurements just to be safe. You then divide the diameter into two to get a measurement for the radius. The formula you need is R x R x 3.14. 

Triangular Lawns 

With triangular lawns, you must measure the longest side and the height of the triangle. So this will be from the mid-point of the longest side right up to the tip of the triangle. Make note of the area of the longest side then multiply that by the height of the triangle and divide the answer by 2, so it’s ½ x W x H. 

Curvy and Challenging Lawns 

With these types of lawns, it’s always best to draw up a plan of the lawn, divide it up into sections and take measurements for each. You can then calculate the area of each section separately and add them all together to get the total amount of turf needed. 

Measure the length, width and depth required for each section, then head to our turf calculator. 

How to lay turf 

Laying turf is a straightforward yet crucial step in creating a lush and healthy lawn. Make sure you follow our topsoil tips above and begin by preparing the soil, ensuring it is level, free from debris, and adequately moistened to promote root establishment. 

A step-by-step guide to laying turf 

In our most recent blog post, we’ve provided a step-by-step guide to laying turf. In this guide, you will find all the information you need, including preparation, turfing and maintenance. 

The ultimate turfing guide 

Having a visual representation of how to properly lay your turf is always handy. In this blog post – ‘How to lay turf – your ultimate guide’ you’ll find images and a video by George himself, on how to lay your turf in a step-by-step guide. 

Ready to roll out your new lawn? 

Get your garden ready for summer with high-quality turf from George Davies Turf. Our guaranteed delivery slots mean you can have your lawn laid and established before the warm weather hits! Just get in touch. 

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