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Best laid plans for summer

April 29, 2019

Summer might be around the corner, but there’s still enough time to spruce up your garden. Nowadays, there are a number of ways to update your outdoor environment, but none make as much of a difference as relaying turf. Whilst no small task, with help from the relevant professionals it’s a job that can be completed in a day. Furthermore, with the right weather, grass could be established enough for regular use within a month. All-in-all, this means the garden of your dream could be unlocked in time for those long summer nights. In this blog, we detail our four top tips on helping turn this dream into a reality.

Pay attention to the weather

Whilst it’s possible to lay most turf solutions all year round, weather should still be factored into your decision-making when planning a relay. Laying turf in frosty conditions is unadvisable and can cause serious complications further down the line. What’s more, laying turf in extended periods of hot and dry weather requires additional care and attention. Weather massively affects how long turf can be left on-site before needing to be installed. In spring/summer, turf should be laid out immediately upon arrival, whilst those doing the task in autumn/winter can afford to wait 24 hours.

Prep properly

As a result of the turf needing to be laid out so quickly, it’s crucial that your garden has been properly prepared before the installation date. This can mean having to remove your existing lawn, either with a non-selective weed killer or a turf cutter. Both options are viable, but using a turf cutter is far faster and the dug up turf can be easily turned into a viable compost, which is an added benefit.

Once you’ve removed the existing turf it’s often best practice to add a layer of topsoil. This will help form a more solid foundation between the turf and the compost which in turn, will help the grass grow quicker. It’s also advisable to walk over the soil once it’s been laid to push down any loose elements and create a smoother surface. Water the soil for a couple of days before the turf arrives to help further expedite the time it takes to settle.

Lay the turf

Once the ground is prepared it’s time for the main event:laying the turf. Surprisingly, only a few tools are needed for the task: a wheelbarrow, a rake, a long knife, a spade, some scaffolding planks and a garden hose. However, it’s essential that you feel confident completing the job for yourself. Making a mistake during the installation process can prove very costly and might require you to remove the new turf and start over. Therefore, before you begin, decide if it might be a safer investment to bring in a professional.

Using a trusted tradesperson website like Checkatrade helps to ensure you find a garden professional who’s up to the task. We let you pick from over 30,000 recommended, vetted and monitored trades and service providers for free. Last year alone, over 12 million homeowners used the site to help resolve a task in their home. Not only are you able to compare tradespeople to find the best price, you’ll have the opportunity to look through pictures and reviews of past projects to ensure that they’re the right professional for you.

Find Your Local Turf Installer

Trusted and Checked

If you decide to do the task yourself then there are a few important things to remember. To begin with, when you first start laying the turf, ensure it’s completed along a straight edge to aid precision, butting turf closely end to end. On subsequent rows, stagger the joints brickwork fashion. Be careful not to walk on the grass whilst it’s being laid, or shortly after it’s been laid. Put planks across the new turf and walk across them to ensure the area is not disturbed.

To ensure good contact between the turf and soil, it’s also advisable to lightly firm down on the grass with the head of a rake, or a piece of wood. It’s important to never stretch the turf by pulling at it, so always push turf into a joint. If there are any remaining cracks, simply fill them with light soil and push it down into the crack.

Hydration is the key

In looking to create a beautiful garden, it’s crucial to ensure that turf is laid neatly and without mistake. However, it’s equally as important to begin maintaining the lawn immediately after it’s been laid. Properly watering your grass after it’s been laid might be the most important step of the entire process and will make the biggest difference on the eventual appearance of your lawn.

Heavily water newly-laid turf for several days after it’s initially been laid and until the turf is firmly rooted. Lift the corners of the turf to check the soil below. It’s best practice to water the turf either first thing in the morning or late in the evenings as it means that less water is lost to evaporation. Once the turf is well-established in the ground, you can reduce the frequency with which you water it.

Mow in the right direction

Ensure that the lawn has settled and will not become dislodged if mowed upon. If it’s fine, look to mow the lawn within three days of it being first laid. Mowing encourages establishment and helps to speed up grass growth. It’s important to not remove more than one-third of the grass blade length as this slows down growth in new lawns.

By following this guidance, you should be able to attain the lawn of your dreams in time for summer. At Checkatrade, we’d recommend bringing in a trained professional to help carry the work out in a high-quality manner but understand if you’re up for having a go yourself. If this is the case, carefully follow our instructions, take your time and try to avoid costly mistakes.
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