When you want a new lawn, laying turf can be a much faster solution than sowing seed, giving you an attractive result straight away. It’s relatively easy to do and good-quality turf will establish quickly on well-prepared soil, so you could be walking on it within weeks.
Why they're good
This was the best turf in the trial. It was moist when it arrived, the turves had been cut neatly to a uniform depth and size, had sharp edges and had been grown in rich, stone-free soil so they were light and easy to handle and lay. The grass was in excellent health on arrival, with a vigorous root system. After 12 weeks the grass still had strong colour and looked as good as it had done when first laid.
This turf had been cut to a uniform size and depth and the edges of the turves were neat. The soil was good, but a little stony and the turves were relatively heavy to handle and awkward to manoeuvre on the ground. Each turf had a good root system and this turf was the quickest in the trial to root and establish. Grass thickness and colour were both good when it arrived and remained good throughout the trial.
Ordering online for a home delivery is ideal if you need a large amount or don’t want to load heavy turf into your car, although you can collect from some suppliers if that’s easier. The websites of the companies we used varied in their ease of use. Some have calculators to help you 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.
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. Our experience showed it’s best to phone ahead to check they have sufficient stocks as it can sell very quickly. All the places we checked got regular weekly or fortnightly deliveries in spring and were happy to tell us what day it was expected, with one even offering to phone us back once it had arrived. This is ideal as you get fresh turf that has just been delivered. The turf we saw mostly looked good quality, although some was older and a bit dry. If you see stock that’s clearly been sitting in the sun a while and looks dry, don’t buy it. One garden centre even warned us that we’d be better off waiting for the next delivery. Prices and turf sizes can vary enormously, although Rolawn Medallion turf is by far the most common type sold.
Check the turf carefully in the 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, that the turves are thick, even in depth, and that the edges are straight rather than ragged, as straight edges are much easier to join. There should be no holes in the soil, no yellowing in the sward, no sign of weeds and preferably very few stones in the soil as these make turves heavy and difficult to lay. Make sure the turves are holding together well, especially at the corners, which are easily broken.
Spring or autumn are the ideal times to lay turf as the soil is still warm. Turf laid after mid-May might struggle to establish well if the weather turns hot and dry.