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When to Lay New Turf at Your New Build Home

Laying new turf at your new build home requires careful timing and preparation to ensure a lush, healthy lawn. While the allure of instant green space is tempting, there are key considerations to bear in mind, particularly regarding the weather and soil conditions.

Laying new turf during a heatwave is not advisable. High temperatures can stress the grass, making it difficult for the turf to establish roots. Instead, aim to lay turf when temperatures are milder.

The RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) recommends laying turf from mid-autumn to early spring. During these seasons, the ground is typically neither too wet nor too frosty, providing optimal conditions for turf to take root. In autumn and early winter, the cooler weather means the turf requires less frequent mowing and watering, allowing it to establish more effectively.

While turf can technically be laid all year round, it demands more attention during summer and winter extremes. Summer heat necessitates frequent watering, which can be costly if you’re on a water meter and isn’t ideal given water conservation efforts. In contrast, extreme winter frost can damage new turf, hindering root development.

Steps to Lay Turf

Preparing the Soil

  1. Weed Removal: Begin by clearing all perennial weeds such as couch grass and bindweed. This can be done by forking out the roots or using non-chemical weed control methods.

  2. Digging and Rotovating: Dig or rotovate the soil to a depth of 20–25cm to break up compacted soil.

  3. Adding Organic Matter: Incorporate well-rotted manure or garden compost to improve soil moisture retention, especially in sandy soils. Ensure the organic matter is well-rotted to avoid soil shrinkage.

  4. Settling the Soil: Allow the soil to settle for at least a few days, ideally five to six weeks. During this period, remove any new weed growth.

  5. Firming and Levelling: Tread the area multiple times in different directions to firm the soil. Rake several times to level it out. For light, poor soil, consider raking in a general-purpose fertiliser at the recommended rate.

Choosing and Preparing the Turf

  • Ordering Turf: Measure your lawn area accurately and order enough turf to cover it. Ensure the turf is free of weeds and consistently green.
  • Delivery and Storage: Turf should be laid within 24 hours of delivery. If delayed, unroll the turf and expose it to light, watering it if necessary to prevent deterioration.

Laying the Turf

  1. Starting Point: Begin laying turf from one side or corner of the lawn.

  2. Staggering Joints: Lay the turf in a staggered pattern, similar to brickwork, to avoid visible seams.

  3. Levelling: Ensure each piece of turf is level, adjusting the soil underneath as needed.

  4. Firming: Once laid, firm the turf with a lightweight roller or homemade tamper.

  5. Top-Dressing: Scatter a mix of sand and soil or garden compost onto the lawn, brushing it into the joints to help the turf knit together.


  • Watering: Water the new turf well, especially during dry spells. Ensure thorough watering to encourage deep rooting.
  • Mowing: Once the turf is rooted, usually about three weeks after laying, begin mowing with the blades set high.
  • Monitoring: Keep an eye on the turf’s condition, watering regularly and mowing as needed to maintain a healthy lawn.