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Get your lawn green again – how to buy the best turf

Whether you need to repair bare patches in your lawn or lay new grass, turf offers quick results

September and October are perfect for laying turf as the ground is relatively moist and warm before winter sets in. The quality of turf varies, so we ordered turf online for delivery then went to garden centres and DIY stores to buy it direct to find out how to get decent turf that will repay your efforts.

When you want a new lawn or need to repair bare patches in an existing one, laying turf gives faster results than sowing grass seed, although it is more expensive. Establishing turf is relatively easy to do and good-quality turf will grow quickly on well-prepared soil, so you could be walking on it within weeks.

If you want to find out which companies sell the best turf, subscribe to Which? Gardening magazine’s September issue by calling 029 2267 0000 or signing up online.

How to tell if turf is any good

Check the turf carefully in store or when the delivery arrives to make sure it’s in good shape.

  • It should be moist but not wet.
  • Make sure that the grass is green and that the turves are thick and even in depth.
  • Check the edges are straight rather than ragged, as straight edges are easier to join.
  • There should be no holes in the soil side.
  • There should be no yellowing in the grass side.
  • Make sure there is no sign of weeds.
  • Preferably very few stones in the soil as these make the turves heavy and difficult to lay.
  • Make sure the turves are holding together well, especially at the corners, which are easily broken.

Once your lawn is back looking it’s best, keep it that way by using one of our best lawn feeds

How to get the best turf when you order online

Ordering online for a home delivery is ideal if you need a large amount or don’t want to load heavy, dirty turf into your car, although you can collect from some suppliers if that’s easier.

The ease of use of the websites varies. Some have calculators to help your order the correct amount, while some companies require a phone call to place the order. Delivery charges vary widely and can add considerably to the cost of the turf.

The majority sell different types of turf for different uses and situations, such as shade and active families, so think about your needs before ordering. Bear in mind that you may need access for a large lorry and that pallet deliveries will usually only be moved to the kerb outside your house.

Make sure your lawn edges stay neat and tidy with one of our top five grass trimmers. 

How to buy the best turf in a store

At garden centres and DIY stores you’ll find turf on a pallet in the car park, where it can be easily loaded into your car. Some places may be able to arrange delivery, although you may have to wait for this.

It’s best to phone ahead to check they have sufficient stocks as it can sell very quickly. Most places have regular weekly or fortnightly deliveries in peak season and are happy to tell you what day it’s expected if you ask. This is ideal as you get fresh turf that has just been delivered.

If you see that’s clearly been sitting in the sun for a while and is beginning to dry out, don’t buy it. Prices and turf sizes vary enormously so shop around.

Read our guide for advice about how to lay turf.

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