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Wednesday, 17 November 2021
How to prepare and lay instant turf?

How to prepare and lay instant turf?

You just moved into a new house. Everything is wonderful, except for one small detail: where there should be a uniform green grass, there is nothing more than some compacted earth devoid of life.

The time and effort required to create a lawn could be less than you might think by laying instant turf. The big advantage of instant turf is that you will save quite a lot of time! When it comes to planting a new lawn or renovating it, work and maintenance is required from sowing the seeds to growing the grass.

Given this effort and cost, laying instant turf in your lawn is a fast method that allows you to obtain very good results in a short time. In fact, it is possible to install a modest garden lawn in just one day. However, there are some aspects you need to take into account to make sure you obtain great results.

What equipment do I need to lay instant turf?

One of the reasons why choosing instant turf for your lawn is a great option is that you don’t need any special equipment. Even if you are not a professional gardener, you will probably have these tools at home:

  • Spade or shovel?
  • Measuring tape?
  • Sharp knife or shears to cut the turf?
  • Rake (to smooth out any disturbance to soil)?

What type of soil base should I use?

When planning to lay instant turf, it is very important to think about preparing the ground. Type of soil base, level, acidity (pH) and drainage are concepts we need to have in mind if we don’t want to lose our time and money.

In some cases it may be necessary to modify the topsoil before laying the turf. Most soil testing kits provide a complete soil analysis. If the soil is too sandy, it is convenient to increase the content of organic matter with the addition of compost. This will bring a better retention of water and nutrients.

On the other hand, if the soil is too clayey, we must also make a contribution of organic matter, in order to give it more porosity and better drainage. Sand is sometimes used to amend clayey soils, but the amount that we would have to contribute would be very large and would make the project very expensive.

What type of instant turf should I choose?

What type of soil do you have? What is the lawn being used for? What is your climate like? How much time can you spend caring for your lawn? These are the questions you should ask yourself to make your decision easier. Below is a list of the most common turfs in Canada.

Kentucky bluegrass

This kind of grass is not drought-tolerant so it is important that you water it generously. One of the advantages of this kind of grass is that it resists very well against different diseases. On the other hand, its root system is quite shallow, which could be a disadvantage if your lawn has heavy foot traffic.


This kind of grass requires deep and infrequent watering (make sure you do not soak it). Unlike the Kentucky Bluegrass, this kind of grass tolerates foot traffic very well, and it’s a shade-tolerant species. Fescues can adapt well to poor soil and it is normally mixed with other grasses. 

Bent grass

It needs generous watering, especially during the growing season (when watering must be done on a weekly basis). Another thing that you will need to take into account if you choose this kind of grass for your lawn is that it requires regular mowing to avoid stems from forming thick mats and thatching.

This is the kind of turf you will normally see in golf and tennis courses, so as you can guess, maintenance is key if you choose this kind of grass. Check out our lawn maintenance services

Perennial Ryegrass

Its roots are shallow and it likes to be watered consistently. One of the good things about this kind of grass is that it is quite resistant to different lawn diseases. If you are expecting to have foot traffic in your lawn, then Perennial Ryegrass might be a good option as it tolerates it very well.

What should you put down before laying turf?

The preparation of the ground is often the key to getting the lawn to grow abundantly and healthy. 

Analyze the ground conditions

The soil on which you are going to plant is essential. For example, the level of soil compaction must be checked before starting. Aeration is essential to improve the drainage of the ground to avoid waterlogging. There are also other aspects that should be taken into account like drainage or soil acidity, for example.

The information that is collected can be essential to determine the use of amendments and fertilizers, the machinery to be used, etc. You also have to assess other issues, such as the amount of shade or the climate of the area, to choose a suitable lawn.

Eliminate weeds

Different types of weeds can compete with lawns for nutrients and water, affecting their health and development. That is why it is important to remove them before planting. A widely used method is known as false sowing: the land is prepared as if the lawn were to be planted and watered so that the weeds germinate; then it is enough to remove them and/or use a herbicide to prevent their growth from affecting the lawn.

Aerate the ground

It is important to remove the soil to de-compact it and enable the movement of air and humidity. Normally it is advisable to till the ground at a depth between 20 and 30 cm. The objective is to ensure that the soil is loose, crumbling, and free of debris (stones, roots, weeds, etc.). If the garden is not very large, you can aerate it with hand tools. If the terrain covers a large area, specialized machines such as motor hoes can be used

Prepare the drain

Having adequate water drainage capacity is really important. The land must be prepared to absorb the water, since otherwise the grass could rot. To do this, several steps or options can be followed:

  • Level the ground to eliminate possible depressions that could accumulate water. It is also convenient to create a gentle slope so that the water is led to a natural or artificial drain.?
  • In some cases you can also choose to remove a little dirt and replace it with sand.?
  • And of course, there is always the option of installing a drainage system.?

Add substrate and fertilizer

This is not always necessary, but if your soil is sandy or poor in nutrients, it is more than advisable to add an organic substrate or mulch. If, on the other hand, it is very clayey, you can add sand. On the other hand, it must be taken into account that the amount of fertilizer can vary depending on the soil and the type of lawn, so it is advisable to receive professional advice to avoid over-fertilizing and losing money and time.

Take into account the irrigation system

If you still don’t have one, you can install an automatic irrigation system. You will save time and gain comfort, since these systems can be programmed to meet the needs of the lawn at all times. You can also opt for manual watering with a hose. Remember to water in the hours of less heat and sun, so that the water takes longer to dry and that the rays do not damage the lawn.

How to measure how much turf you will need?

You will need to know how many m2 you need to cover with turf. The calculation depends on the shape of the area you need to cover (in bold are the measures you need to take in each case):

  • If the area is a circumference what you need to calculate is: radius 2 x 3.14 = surface
  • In case your lawn has a rectangle shape: base x height = surface?
  • If your lawn has a triangle shape: base x height / 2 = surface ?

Having a precise measurement of the surface is important to estimate the quantity of loaves, amendments and fertilizer, as well as the type of machinery to be used. To the final result of the surface measurement, you must add about 4% more to anticipate the amount of instant turf needed (cuts, measurement error, etc.). 

If the surface is 100 m2, you will have to supply 104 m2. Do not hesitate to contact us if you need help calculating the amount of turf you need!

3 tips for laying turf

1. Check the weather forecast?

Check the weather forecast and order the turf with this parameter in mind: instant turf must be laid within 24 hours after delivery.

2. Best season for laying turf?

As with sowing lawns, laying instant turf requires taking into account the climatic conditions. Fall is still the ideal season, as long as it is done before the first winter frosts.

3. Find someone to help you?

Instant turf rolls are quite heavy, so you will probably need some help to lay it down. Ask someone from your family or friends to give you a hand. 

Instant lawn maintenance

First days

  • Water immediately after turf installation. Do it until it is soaked. For the first two weeks after the instant lawn is installed, it needs to be watered frequently to help it root. Keep the soil and grass moist during the day by watering it twice a day: morning and evening. It is almost impossible to overwater a newly installed lawn. ?
  • Reduce the frequency of watering just before you mow for the first time to firm up the soil. The first mowing should happen about two weeks after installing it. ?

Long term maintenance 

  • Mow the lawn regularly: for the good maintenance of the grass it is necessary to mow it periodically, this will ensure that it is always healthy. Regular mowing is very important as it helps thicken the grass. Regarding the cutting technique: little and often is better than a lot and at once.?
  • Fertilize the lawn: when we cut the grass, many nutrients must be replaced to obtain optimal growth. We advise you to start fertilizing the lawn every four to five weeks in early spring. Special lawn fertilizer mixes can be found for sale at nurseries. Follow the instructions indicated on the product.?
  • Water the lawn: all gardening fans like to keep the grass looking green. How often you should water your lawn depends on the temperature and humidity. ?
  • Control weeds: they compete with lawns for water, nutrients, light, and space. Make sure you control them to avoid your lawn from turning yellow.?


Lawn maintenance services 


Need some more help?

If you need professional help to take care of your new lawn, Forever Green is here for you!  We are the leaders in green space treatment and our network covers all of Quebec. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have an issue with your lawn or need help with maintenance. You can check all of the services we offer by clicking here.

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