How To Lay Turf Like A Boss!

We were looking for a quick win over the weekend. As the development application is still up in the air and we can’t start any of the house demolition, the backyard was looking pretty attractive for some weekend attention.

The backyard offered a nice little weekend project that when finished would not only add value to the house but would help us enjoy the backyard more than we have been enjoying the dirt patch.

 Before & After Shot of the yard, next to the pool. 

Before & After Shot of the yard, next to the pool. 

Over the past few weeks we have had excavators come in to clear and level the yard and last weekend Callum and I constructed a fence to keep the dogs secure – I know, I built a fence, go me!

Looking at our blank canvas, we figured the most affordable, low maintenance and quick approach would be to lay down some turf and turn the brown to green! The best part about it, the whole backyard renovation cost us $1500 (including the new chicken coop) and it’s practically unrecognisable! We ordered the turf from Canturf who were fantastic and only needed a couple of days notice to deliver. Because they are a local company they specifically sell turf that is suited to the Canberra climatic conditions. 

If you’ve never laid turf before (like me), I’ve written some easy instructions to ace your turf laying experience.

Hot tip: you only have about 24 hours from the time your turf is packed to lay it on the ground – choose a weekend where it is not going to be storming! (lesson learnt for next time).

 Before & After at the Back. Chicken Coop to come! 

Before & After at the Back. Chicken Coop to come! 

1.       Preparation is Key!
What is already in the spot where you want to lay your turf? You will need to dig up existing grass or spray it with roundup and leave for 14 days prior to laying the new turf. A bobcat can excavate the area for you, removing any existing turf or landscaping and ensure the ground is completely level prior to laying your new lawn.
Make sure you remove the site of any debris including sticks and rocks.

2.       Run your Irrigation
These days it is pretty easy to lay an irrigation system to avoid having to pull out the sprinklers or water by hand. Any reputable hardware store will stock everything you need for your irrigation system.
You will want to place a pop up sprinkler about every four metres, and depending on the radius of the sprinkler head vs. the diameter of your lawn, you may need to run up one or both sides of the lawn (or down the middle). Peg the irrigation pipe around the perimeter of the lawn and decide where you will place the sprinkler heads. Cut the pipe and use a T-Join to join the pipe back together, the sprinkler head will sit on the top of the T-Join. Dig a small hole in the ground so that the sprinkler head and pipe will sit slightly underground and peg on either side of the join. Cover the holes in so you can only see the sprinkler head.
Test these work before covering with top soil and turf.  

Check out this great video from Bunnings on installing pop up sprinklers. 

3.       Don’t Skip the Top Soil
You will need to lay a good quality top soil as a bed for your turf. This will aid with the growth and longevity of your turf.  Have a chat to your local landscape supplier who should be able to recommend the type of soil you need for your local conditions.
You can calculate the amount of soil required by multiplying the total square metres by the depth of soil you require.

 Pondering the Irrigation System...

Pondering the Irrigation System...

4.       Level Out
Using a rake and wheelbarrow, spread the top soil evenly across the surface to a minimum depth of approximately 100mm. You can add a slight slope away from housing foundations and pathways to eliminate any future drainage problems. You can hire a roller or plate compactor to ensure you have a smooth flat surface, we didn’t bother with this though and ours looks really good. Water the area down to settle the soil and provide a moist base for your turf.
 

 The Turf is Here! 

The Turf is Here! 

5.       Get Laying
You need to install your turf as soon as possible after delivery to reduce the risk of it drying out. Begin to lay the turf along a straight line, such as a driveway or path. You want to lay the turf in a staggered manner like you would a brick. You can then go back and fill in the smaller gaps by cutting the turf with a pair of secateurs or a knife.
Make sure there are no gaps or overlays but pushing the edges and ends together tightly without stretching the grass.
Simply tear the grass to fit around sprinkler heads.
Water the grass thoroughly and check that the water has seeped through the turf and into the soil below. Your lawn should be right to mow in a couple of weeks.