Preparing your soil for laying new turf

What’s the best way to prepare your soil for new turf?

Successful establishment of all lawn types relies on proper soil preparation. Preparation for establishing a lawn usually begins after construction activities have finished, or before topsoil has been introduced.

Without preparing your soil properly, your lawn can suffer from poor soil drainage, compaction, pH or fertility problems that could have otherwise been simply prevented.

By following this list of tips for preparing soil, you should have a happy and healthy new lawn.

  • Kill off any existing vegetation using glyphosate or a similar non-selective herbicide. You may need 2 applications to ensure all existing vegetation is completely eradicated.
  • Hoe in and turn over the existing base and remove any excess vegetation that has been sprayed out.
  • Upon completion of a new build it is recommended to strip the top layer of your soil by around 150mm (six inches) and this will ensure the removal of any debris, clay or poor growing medium.
  • Depending on your existing base, add in any soil required to make sure you have the appropriate base for turf. A sand-soil base is always preferred. If you have a clay base you will need to de-compact this and add sand soil. If your base is already sandy, look at mixing in some organics to boost nutrients.
  • Conduct a pH test on your soil using a pH testing kit. You want to have a pH between 5.5 and 7. If it is either side of this, your pH can be adjusted with some treatment and before your turf is installed is the best time to act. Check out our article for rectifying pH levels here.
  • Finally, it’s time to get your levels correct. When looking to lay turf flush with an edge, keep your soil about 30-40mm below this height to allow for the thickness of the turf. Smooth out the rest of your soil, remembering to factor in drainage as you do so, the grade of your lawn area should slope enough to allow surface water to drain away quickly.