The Cost To Lay Turf

All you need to know about turfing your garden including materials, labour and time frames.

turf laying

What the job entails

This article is a price guide for turf laying and is part of our series covering typical landscape gardening projects in the UK. We contacted many turf layers and landscape gardeners for quotes and explored various different factors which can increase the cost of the job. There were considerable price differences depending upon the size and condition of the garden as well as the grade of turf chosen. London was by far the most expensive area to get a quote for any work but this is to be expected given the much higher cost of living. Turf can be laid at any time of year as long as the ground is not frozen or waterlogged.

The current condition of the garden can have a big impact on the cost, for example an uneven lawn full of weeds will need much more preparation work and levelling, when compared to a level lawn in reasonable condition. This additional work and time will obviously cost more. Access is an important factor when it comes to pricing jobs, if you live in a house with no direct access to the rear garden or no parking at all nearby, then many companies will charge extra to cover the additional time spent getting the tools and materials to the site.

The quality of the existing top soil makes a difference too. A garden full of deep rooted invasive weeds is a nightmare for a landscape gardener, before thinking about laying turf there will be a lot of extra preparation work required. This usually involves strimming the weeds as low as possible before rotavating and then putting down some anti-weed mulch and then additional topsoil. This can take 2-5 days depending on the size of the garden.

The quality/grade of the turf you choose will obviously effect the price of the job too. Multi-purpose turf is reasonably cheap (£1-£3/sq m), but if you choose a premium turf that is typically used on luxury golf courses or the tennis courts at Wimbledon, then expect to pay a lot more!

Laying turf properly involves stripping away the old lawn then levelling with a rake to remove any large stones, then treading in the soil plus added topsoil if required. Lawn feed is then added followed by rolling out the new turf and planking it (pressing down on the turf to prevent air pockets, usually done by laying planks across it). The first few weeks after the turf is put down are the most crucial in terms of aftercare, it is vital the turf is watered daily or even twice a day in the summer for the first three weeks or so to prevent the new turf from shrinking and creating gaps in between each roll. But after a few weeks, once the roots have taken hold, the watering frequency can be reduced.

If doing the lawn yourself do not be tempted to simply lay the new turf on top of your existing lawn to save time and money. The new turf needs to be laid onto properly prepared soil if it is to establish and thrive. At least 15cm depth of good quality topsoil is needed for the turf roots, if the existing soil is poor quality or not deep enough, then you need to add more quality topsoil. Turf is highly perishable and needs to be laid and watered within 8 hours of delivery. It will deteriorate rapidly if it's left rolled up. So make sure you are ready to get started as soon as the turf is delivered!

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The Cost To Lay New Garden Turf

The average cost to supply, prepare and lay new garden turf is typically around £650-£750 for a 50 square metre garden. The grass turf itself will cost around £150. The price includes the preparation of existing ground including new top soil and levelling, but does not include any additional work such as removing roots of concrete or any other difficulties in preparing the ground. The price will vary depending on location and turf quality.

A gardener will usually charge around £150 per day in labour costs and will usually work with a general labourer who will be on around £100 per day. The job on average will take around 2-3 days to complete depending on the size of the garden and any issues preparing the ground.

Below are some estimated costs of hiring a gardener to lay new grass turf. Please note that these costs assume the garden is fairly level with no major weed growth or concrete removal. If waste removal is required expect another £25-£50 to be added to the price.

Garden Size Turf Cost Labour Cost Duration
Extra Small (Under 10 sq m) £30 £125 4-8 hours
Small (10-25 sq m) £75 £300 1-2 days
Medium (25-75 sq m) £150 £500 2 days
Large (75-100 sq m) £250 £600 2-3 days


Cost Breakdown

Individual costs for laying turf for a 50 square metre - Total Cost: £700

20%

Materials
£140

75%

Tradesmen
£525

5%

Waste Removal
£35

FAQ's

To supply, prepare and lay turf for a typical 50 square metre lawn would cost around £700. This includes the preparation of existing ground including new top soil and levelling. But VAT is not included as many landscape gardeners operate under the VAT threshold. In addition, if any work such as the removal of roots or concrete is required when preparing the ground, this is not included in a standard installation of a new lawn so will cost extra.
You should normally wait around 3-4 weeks after installation before mowing. To find out when your lawn is strong enough to mow just tug on one corner of the turf to see if it lifts easily, if it does, the lawn is not ready to be cut. But if you end up with a handful of grass, then it's ready for the first of many cuts! Take care when mowing your new turf for the very first time. Be sure that the mower blades are sharp and never try and remove over 1/3 of the length in any one cut. It's best to remove all the cuttings initially, but once the lawn is established you can choose whether to take cuttings off the lawn or not.
You should feed your new lawn with a good quality feed every 4-6 weeks throughout the growing season to ensure it gets off to a good start.
Mushrooms are not damaging to the lawn but they can be removed by simply mowing the lawn daily until no more mushrooms are coming through any more. Alternatively, you can break the stems of the mushrooms by brushing which will dry them out and they will disappear.
The rule of thumb is that if you leave an impression when walking then it's too soon so keep off the lawn! A period of 2 to 3 weeks should be long enough in the summer, perhaps a bit longer in the wintertime.
Yes, turf will quite happily grow on clay soils as long as there is good drainage. The drainage in clay soils can be improved by adding sharp sand and/or fine grit. If there is a lot of standing water around after rainy spells, then it is a sign that the drainage needs to be improved.