Choosing whether to use seed or turf to create your new lawn depends on various factors, including the time you have, the area you want to cover and your skill level.
In this article, you’ll see how both methods are quite simple and can be used to achieve equally stunning results.
How to create a new lawn with turf
Laying turf instead of seeding a new lawn is the quicker way to create a lawn, but to produce a healthy and attractive new lawn, it’s important to take your time and get it right.
In the following steps, we’ll show you how to prepare the ground prior to turfing, how to lay the turf and how to ensure your lawns root system becomes well established.
Step 1 – Preparing the ground
Just like when preparing for seeding, use a combination of a sharp spade and fork to strip away the old lawn or perennial weeds and any other obstacles such as masonry, large stones or glass fragments etc.
Whilst clearing the debris, also be sure to break the soil down to a depth of about 15cm (6 inches) to allow the roots of your new turf to easily take hold.
Pro tip: If your soil is particularly sandy or free-draining, add some compost or a water-saving gel to the soil to help it retain moisture whilst your new turf establishes.
Step 2 – Firming and levelling
Firm and level the ground in the same way you would if you were sowing grass seeds, by using a rake to take out the bumps and then stamping it down or using planks of wood or a light roller.
Once you’ve completed this firming and levelling process, it’s best to leave the area for two to three weeks to let the rain get to it and to let it settle and compact ready for the new turf.
Pro tip: Just before laying the turf, sprinkle the prepared surface with a general fertiliser to further encourage growth.
Step 3 – Laying the turf
When laying the garden turf, work from a straight edge, such as a fence or borderline, or create your own using string and pegs. Carefully roll out the turf along the line, overlapping the edges slightly, so that you can neatly trim them later.
As you lay each section, firm it down with the flat of your hand to ensure good contact with the soil beneath and make sure you tightly butt each piece of turf to the next.
Pro tip: Order 10% more turf than you need to allow for trimming and filling in if necessary.
Step 5 – Finishing
Once you’ve got all the turf laid, use a sharp kitchen knife or Stanley knife to carefully trim the edges, remembering to firmly press the trimmed edge back down into the soil.
If you notice any gaps, either between the different sections or at the edges of the lawn, simply fill in with some fresh compost or topsoil, then sprinkle some grass seed and water in.
Pro tip: As you lay the turf, use short planks of wood or plywood boards to stand on, to lessen the damage to the newly laid turf.
Step 6 – Watering
The same as with seeding a lawn, thoroughly water your newly-laid turf daily for one to two weeks. On a large area, it’s best to use a sprinkler system, but for smaller areas, a watering can with a fine rose should be ok.
Pro tip: Avoid walking on your new lawn for at least two weeks after laying.
How to create a new lawn with seed
Although laying turf is considered the faster way to create a lawn, many people like to start from scratch and create their lawn using seed.
In the following steps, we’ll show you the best way to prepare the ground, sow the seed and create a strong and healthy lawn.
Step 1 – Clearing the area
Make sure the ground is clear of debris, including large stones, other vegetation such as weeds, previous lawn grass, or anything else that could inhibit the growth of the new seeds.
Use a sharp spade and fork to break down the compacted soil, and to ensure you remove sunken stones and other debris and deep rooted weeds. You may want to use weedkiller, but many weedkillers can affect the growth of new seeds or plants, so read instructions carefully.
Pro tip: Use a good pair of leather gardening gloves, to help prevent getting injured by broken glass or sharp stones etc.
Step 2 – Create a level seed bed
The best way to create a level seed bed is by using the rake to drag the soil in various directions until a visibly level surface is achieved and then tramp it down by walking over it or using a light roller.
Pro tip: After clearing the area to be seeded, add a layer of fresh blended topsoil. Use a rake to make sure you cover the whole area to a depth of around 3-4 cm.
Step 3 – Get sowing
Choose your grass seed depending on how you’re going to use the lawn. Most seed suppliers will clearly state which type of lawn the seed is suitable for, but as general rule, perennial rye grass is a hardwearing grass, whereas fescue grasses make for a more decorative lawn.
Spread the seed sparingly to avoid plants being too close together, which could risk fungal disease or a weaker growth. The recommended sowing rate is about 25-30 grams per square metre.
Pro tip: Lightly treading or rolling the seed in helps to prevent it being blown away by the wind or washed away by a heavy downpour.
Step 4 – Watering in
Newly seeded lawns need daily watering for up to two weeks after planting. To avoid overwatering, use an adjustable sprinkler attachment for your hosepipe.
Pro tip: In extremely hot conditions, water thoroughly in the early evening or once the sun’s gone down.
Assuming you’ve followed the above steps, your grass seed should start to germinate within a week, and in about 28 days you should have the beginnings of a lush new lawn.
We hope this article helps you decide whether to sow or turf your new lawn, but whichever method you choose, if you need any help get in touch with the experts at Ivinghoe Turf.