Preparation for a New Lawn

Laying a new turf lawn – or creating a new grass lawn from scratch – is not just about rolling out the turf or planting grass seeds. There is quite a lot of work to be done in order to facilitate laying a new lawn so in this article we will look at what needs to be done before you take those all important first steps to laying or planting your lawn.

Preparing the Site

In order to prepare the ground for the lawn it is important to make sure the ground is clear of anything that might prevent the turf or grass from bedding in properly. It is imperative that the ground is cleared of all existing plant growth i.e. weeds, any tree stumps or roots, old bushes etc, and also any rubble or masonry. If you have an existing lawn that is beyond repair then you should remove it in its entirety – do not try and lay a turf lawn or create a new grass lawn over an existing grass lawn as this will lead to no end of difficulties.

It’s important also to make sure that all perennial weeds have been destroyed and chances of them returning minimised as much as possible. Weeds such as dandelions, which have so called ‘tap roots’ (roots that go deep underground), stinging nettles, dock leaves etc are all rapid growers so ensuring that both they and their roots are removed is a major step in ensuring your turf or grass lawn is protected and allowed to flourish once laid.

Preparing the Soil

Ideally a sandy loam top soil of between 20 and 30cm is best for laying a new lawn. This should overlay a sub-soil, which is both well structured and free-draining. After clearing the site of debris and weeds etc it is best to rotavate or dig over the entire area this time removing any large stones or other debris that might have been missed first time around. Then rake the ground out flat to create a level surface on which to lay your turf or plant your grass. If your soil is of a clay consistency it is advisable to double dig – i.e. dig once, leave to settle for a while and then dig over a second time.


If the soil in your garden already has a high sand content and suffers from being too easily drained then it is an idea to mix in some organic matter, which will help retain nutrients and water. You should however avoid using too much of this as organic matter rots at a rapid rate and could result in soil sinkage or uneven surfaces. However if your soil does not drain easily and is made up a clay consistency it is advisable to mix two parts sand to one part soil.

The most successful way of improving the drainage from your lawn is to incorporate a drainage system made up from a network of pipes which are laid in a trench and then back-filled with gravel. This is a cheaper and less exhausting method of achieving an acceptable level of drainage from your lawn.

Soil PH

As a general rule most grasses grow well around the pH levels of 5.5-5.7. If the soil is acidic (below pH5) dig lime into the soil then leave the site for a period of up to one week before applying fertiliser. Although you can add lime once your lawn has been established it can bring about certain diseases so if you do feel the need to use lime after the lawn has been embedded do so sparingly and repeat annually but only if necessary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *