green lawn turf

Reducing the Cost of Grass Lawn Turfing

A grass lawn is taken for granted by many people but others would give their right arm for somewhere safe for the kids to play or somewhere pleasant for the adults to sit in the sun. Even if your back yard is relatively small, all you need is a small area such as a couple of square metres of waste ground in the garden and it can be turned into a welcome place for the little ones to run around in bare feet. All it needs is a little bit of thought, planning and manual work and before long you can have a pretty little lawn to brighten up your garden. This article is intended to give the average householder a bit of guidance when it comes to laying a new lawn on your property.

There are a number of places to buy lawn turf rolls depending on the quality of turf required. As we have also said before, garden turf laying is a simple job but If you don’t want to lay the turf yourself or are too old and infirm to even attempt the job, there are plenty of professional gardening contractors available to come and help you out, for a price. Most contractors also have a truck with which they can fetch the turf rolls from the supplier, this is so much more convenient because you don’t have to.

We mentioned elsewhere that different purposes required different quality grass. A general purpose, standard grass available as turf will be suitable for most gardens and the costs associated with this are listed below.

Type of Turf Price per 50m2
Standard quality grass turf £160
Better quality turf £340
Premium quality turf £380
Cost for a contractor to lay turf £700 to £900

Remember that these costs are indicative only and will be higher if you live in London. The cost for laying a new lawn will include adding some topsoil to level the area and preparing the surface for the turf. If more extensive groundworks are necessary or the quality of lawn and grade of grass are higher than normal then these prices will increase accordingly.

Considerations

Before we go out to buy some turf we need to think about and decide upon the uses to which the turf lawn is going to be put and how often do you want to mow it. There are many different grades of grass and some are more suitable than others for varying purposes. It may be that we want a lawn that can be

  • Somewhere to play bowls or croquet. Needs grass that isn’t full of weeds.
  • Somewhere to grow wildflowers. Doesn’t matter if there are weeds established in the turf because most of these are classified among the wildflowers While the flowers are in bloom the grass will be left for weeks without cutting.
  • Somewhere to relax with a glass of wine. You are interested in socialising and relaxing on your lawn rather than cutting it so your lawn needs slow growing grass that doesn’t require much mowing.
  • Somewhere for the kids to play soccer. The lawn needs strong, hardwearing grass that grows quickly to hide bald patches. Unfortunately, quick growing grass needs cutting more often.

These are only a few uses for a lawn, I am sure that you can think of many more. As you can see different purposes require different grass types. Some of these requirements such as the Bowls and Croquet green will be better to have a lawn grown from seed rather than buy turf because then you have control over the quality and type of grass together with the number of weeds arriving in the turf, and you can prepare the ground properly so that it is flat and level.

Where you buy your turf from, will be a significant factor as far as quality is concerned. If you see an advert in the local newspaper or on a postcard in a shop window, then the chances are that the turf is of poor quality, has been grown in a field somewhere and contains many other seeds besides grass. When you lay this field turf you will probably find it is full of weeds and the grass is very coarse. If however, you buy turf from a specialist garden centre or plant nursery, the grass is more likely to be of higher quality without so many weeds. What must be understood when choosing turf is that the high-quality grass will be more expensive than the cheaper field turf so expect to find a large range in prices depending on the quality.

Turfing Benefits

The main benefit of turf is that you can have a fully functioning lawn almost immediately. Compare the few hours needed to lay the turf and a few days afterwards to allow the lawn to establish itself with the weeks needed to raise a lawn from seed. There are also the problems of birds scavenging the grass seed for food before it can sprout, and the necessity of regularly watering the seeds (continuously in dry periods) to make sure they grow into strong and healthy grass. Yes, lawn turf is much easier and more convenient to lay than raising a lawn from seed, but it also costs much more too. The retailer has to charge you for the time spent growing and looking after the grass before it is ready for cutting whereas the person looking after a seed grown lawn is you and your time doesn’t cost anything, does it?. You can go to your local garden centre and buy a bag of fast-growing, general purpose grass seed for a few pounds which will easily cover a decent sized lawn. Growing a lawn from seed will require a perfectly flat and well-raked surface and will need tending for quite a few weeks until the lawn is established. That means keeping the kids and the family dog from walking on it until the grass is grown.

Laying turf

Laying new turf is actually one of the simplest garden tasks, and is something that almost anyone can do. The most important task when laying grass turf with a view to laying a new lawn is to prepare the soil base properly.

  • Spend as much time as you can in removing old turf.
  • Rake the soil to break up lumps and remove stones and rocks as well as debris like thick roots and twigs.
  • Rake the soil to an even and level surface.
  • After the raking has been completed, the soil will need to be compacted using a garden roller. If necessary these can be rented from your local tool hire shop.

The turf will usually arrive in rolls and will require carrying from the delivery truck to the place of work.  The grass turf rolls will have been sprinkled regularly with water since they were cut from the ground and you must continue to water lawn turf rolls when they are stacked and before they have been laid. This will prevent the turf from drying out and causing the roots to die. Sometimes the turf may come as slabs, especially if they have been cut by hand. When laying turf on grass, and this applies to stacking slab turf too, always lay the turf grass to grass and soil to soil.

Before starting to roll out turf onto the designated area, moisten the soil with the water sprinkler or a fine mist setting on the garden hose so the lawn and turf roots are encouraged to permeate the soil more easily.

Laying new grass is always a weather dependent pastime. The best time to lay turf is just after a rain shower. If you can’t manage that then at least make sure the weather isn’t too hot and dry, otherwise, the turf will dry out too quickly and possibly die. If you are laying a lawn in sunny and hot weather then make sure the garden sprinkler is on for a few hours after unrolling new turf to ensure the roots are kept moist.

The detailed method of laying lawn turf is not something for an article like this. There are however many video instructions on YouTube or if you prefer, there are websites detailing the best way to lay turf in words and photographs.

To finish

Now you have read this article, laying a turf lawn is probably not so intimidating as you first thought. It is well within the capabilities of most ordinary people and even if it is the only DIY job you do in your house, it will be worth it and you will gain many happy years use from your new lawn. One thing you need to remember however is that now you have a lawn, it will always require cutting so don’t forget to buy a lawnmower as well.

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