If your lawn is looking tired, patchy, weedy and generally beyond hope, October is the ideal time to re-turf and start from scratch; the weather is still fairly warm, it’s nice and damp and the frosts and snow haven’t started yet. Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to do it.
If you already have old grass on the area, you’ll need to remove it by skimming it off with a rake. (You can make this a lot easier by killing the grass off a few weeks in advance by covering with blackout sheeting.)
Dig over the soil – it’s a good idea to hire a rotavator for this step as it’s a lot easier than doing it by hand. If you have a clay soil, add some sharp sand, otherwise just add a soil conditioner.
Add some good quality topsoil. Measure up the area to estimate how much you’ll need (roughly one bag every eight metres squared). Spread on top and rake to level the ground and get rid of large lumps. You may need to dig out more serious humps.
Firm up the soil by walking over it wearing boots with the weight on your heels. Give the area some time to settle, a few days if possible.
Spread lawn fertiliser pellets evenly over the soil – these provide extra nutrients for the roots of your turf. Lightly rake the area again.
Order your turf. You should ideally lay the turf within a day of it being delivered, otherwise you risk it drying out. Turf is usually sold by the square metre, so use your measurements to work out the square meterage you’ll need (length multiplied by width in metres). Your best bet is to use a turf supplier rather than a garden centre, as garden centres tend to pile up turf stock and it can dry out. Use a landscaping supplier – we recommend AWBS Landscaping and Building Supplies in Hinksey and Yarnton, Oxfordshire.
When you’re ready to lay your turf, try not to walk on your prepared soil as you’ll create foot holes and the turf will look uneven. Use a plank to lay across the soil and walk on where necessary. Start your first row of turf on a straight edge of the garden, laying carefully and using a knife to cut to shape. When you lay your next row, make sure it’s pushed well together with the first with no gap – use a fist to push it into place.
Once your turf is laid, don’t worry about watering if the weather is damp. If it’s dry, get the hosepipe on it for 20 minutes first thing in the morning.