The Cost of Laying Turf

Last updated 20th May 2020

Find out how much it costs to lay turf in your garden. In this article we look at turfing prices for different grades of material and different sizes of garden so that anyone can calculate the cost of turfing their garden.

turf laying

Ready to get a price for your job?

Get Prices

How Much Does Garden Turf Cost?

The average cost to supply, prepare and lay new garden turf is typically around £650-£750 for a 50 square metre garden. However, other factors can significantly add to the cost. A key one is the grade of turf you choose. The higher the quality of the turf is the higher your costs will be. You also need to consider any other costs that may be involved like clearance or landscaping. Accessibility and shape of your garden could also raise your labour costs.

Garden Turf Prices

Below are some average costs of laying turf in a garden:

Garden Size Turf Cost Labour Cost
Extra Small (under 10 square metre) £30 £125
Small (10-25 square metre) £75 £300
Medium (25-75 square metre) £150 £500
Large (75-100 square metre) £250 £600


The installation price will vary depending on the size of your garden, turf used and your location.

Budget Lawn Turf

A general-purpose turf is suitable for most lawns and easy to maintain. However, it’s probably not suitable if you plan to do more than just look at your lawn. Price range of £2 - £4.

Hard-Wearing Turf

Constructed to endure tough use on football and rugby pitches. It contains 60% ryegrasses and is ideal for lawns subjected to heavy use. Price range of £5 - £7.

Premium Lawn Turf

Will have a dense, deep green finish and is both hard-wearing and great to look at. It’s also easy to maintain. Price range of £7 - £10.

Wildflower Turf

If you’re looking for something a bit different from an ordinary lawn, you might want to consider wildflower turf, which will turn your garden into a beautiful meadow. It is particularly good for shaded zones such as underneath trees and low light spaces in your garden. Wildflower shade tolerant turf is also appropriate for open areas with full sun and where additional plants will thrive. However, to get your beautiful wildflower meadow, you will need to do a lot of extra planning and preparation, which will add to the cost of your project. Once laid; however, wildflower turf is low maintenance. You can expect to pay between £15 - £20 for wildflower turf.

Cost Breakdown Calculator

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

20%

Materials
£140

75%

Tradesmen
£525

5%

Waste Removal
£35

Labour Costs and Time Frames

A gardener will usually charge around £150 per day and will usually work with a general labourer priced at 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.

Garden Size Duration
Extra Small (under 10 square metre) 4-8 hours
Small (10-25 square metre) 1-2 days
Medium (25-75 square metre) 2 days
Large (75-100 square metre) 2-3 days

Choosing the Best Turf

Multi-purpose turf is reasonably cheap, but if you opt for a premium turf typically used on luxury golf courses, expect to pay a lot more. To get the best from your new lawn, it pays to make sure you pick the right turf to suit your requirements.

Things to consider:

  • Do you want a hard-wearing or a first-rate decorative lawn?
  • Will the lawn have to survive with children playing football and pets wandering on it?
  • What kind of lawnmower will you use and how regularly do you mean to mow?

The majority of decent turf retailers offer lawn turf which conforms to Turf Growers Association (TGA) standards, so it is a good idea to check if the turf you are ordering meets this marque.

Turf is normally supplied in either small rolls 600mm wide and 1.65m long or big rolls which can vary in size and can be agreed in advance.

Typical seed mixture used in turf for general garden use includes:

  • 20-40% dwarf perennial ryegrass.
  • 30-50% slender creeping red fescue.
  • 10-25% chewings fescue.
  • 10-30% smooth-stalked meadow-grass.

The mix of seed will vary depending on the grade of turf you choose. Here are some of the different grades currently available. Prices are per square metre and include delivery.

Additional Turfing Costs

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 than a level lawn in reasonable condition.

Garden clearance

The quality of the existing topsoil makes a difference too. A garden full of deep-rooted invasive weeds is a nightmare for a landscape gardener and means a lot of extra preparation work. This often involves strimming the weeds before rotavating and putting down some anti-weed mulch and then additional topsoil. This can take 2-5 days depending on the size of the garden and usually £150 per day for labour.

Should you need to buy topsoil, you can choose either 10mm or 20mm, although either will normally be fine for your turf. It’s usually sold in large bags containing between 700 and 800 litres and a reasonably priced mid-range topsoil costs between £70 - £90.

Access is another important factor when it comes to pricing jobs, if you live in a property with no access to the garden or no parking nearby, many companies will charge extra to cover the additional time spent getting the tools and materials to the site.

How to Lay Turf

You may decide to save on costs by laying the turf yourself. It is quite straightforward, provided you plan and prepare properly and follow a few simple guidelines. Below is our guide to laying and maintaining your turf.

Step 1 - Choosing when to lay your turf

You can actually lay turf at any time of the year – but certain conditions will offer the best chance that it will take and give you a healthy lawn. For example, you will want to avoid laying your turf when the ground is frozen or waterlogged.

Generally, turf is better laid in mid-autumn but can be placed any time from the middle of autumn to late winter as long as the soil isn’t too drenched or frosty. In spring and autumn, only a small amount of mowing is required to let newly-laid turf rest and be left untouched for a few weeks.

Don’t lay turf from the middle of spring until the beginning of autumn, so you don’t need to water it repeatedly. Turf laid in spring normally requires more watering in dry periods in summer. Dry soil and mowing before the grass is completely rooted will strain turf and postpone rooting.

Step 2 - Turf delivery and storage

Turf is highly perishable, so you should check with your supplier that your turf will only have been lifted within 36 hours before delivery. If it’s spring or summer, this time should be decreased to guarantee turf is garden-fresh when it turns up.

Turf Delivery

Always check any turf you have delivered. It should be green and not visibly affected by any pest or disease. The height of the sward (the green part of the turf) should not exceed 35mm. The soil layer underneath should be between 5 and 15mm deep.

Have your turf unloaded as near to where you’re laying it. It should be stacked on flat level ground in a shaded area, particularly if it is not to be laid the same day.

Step 3 - Preparing the ground

Careful preparation will give your new turf the best chance to settle and give you the lawn of your dreams.

If you're doing the lawn yourself, don’t be tempted to simply lay the new turf on top of your existing lawn to save time and money. You are likely to end up with brown, dying turf and the cost of relaying. New turf needs to be laid onto properly-prepared soil if it is to establish and thrive.

Mark out the area you wish to turf and then make sure you thoroughly dig out any existing weeds. This will make life much easier and will prevent unwanted weeds growing through the new turf.

Step 4 - Fertiliser

Once your turfing area is ready, you will need to spread pre-turfing fertiliser. This is an important factor in cultivating healthy lawn. One 5kg bag will cost around £15 and will treat up to 100-150 square metres. We recommend an organic blend, like chicken manure fertiliser, which is both environmentally friendly and easy to spread.

Step 5 - Topsoil

Now you’re ready to lay your topsoil. Spread evenly and lightly cultivate and rake using a fine-tooth rake to a depth of at least 15cm ready to receive the turf roots, if the existing soil is poor quality or not deep enough, you’ll have to add more quality topsoil. To stop compaction don’t use wet soil.

Spread top soil

Remove all extraneous material, including stones larger than 35mm. Smaller stones can remain as they will help with consistency and irrigation. When you’re finished raking, the area you wish to turf should have a fine, even consistency.

Step 6 - Laying your turf

Begin laying the turf against a straight side of your marked-out area, joining each end as closely together as possible.

On each subsequent row, stagger the joints like brickwork, taking good care that there are no breaks. If you need to alter the position of the turf, always push it rather than pulling it to avoid stretching.

It’s always best to use wooden planks to avoid walking on newly-laid turf and potentially causing damage or leaving footprints. Remember, your turf is still very sensitive at this early stage in its life.

When laying, make sure the underside of each piece of turf is completely bonded with the topsoil. If necessary, press down on the turf through your planks to remove any air pocks that will prevent your turf receiving the moisture it needs. Check when you’ve finished. If there are any gaps, plug these with topsoil and lightly compact.

Step 7 - Watering

You should water as you go along, immediately after laying each row of turf. The first watering should confirm the soil is wet to a depth of 10cm. Keep the turf and the soil beneath it damp – you can inspect this by softly turning up a corner of the turf.

Use natural rainwater from a water butt if you have one. If not, tap water from the kitchen or bathroom is fine. Check the weather forecast – if it rains, you may not need to water at all depending on how much falls.

Turf watering

Water your turf in the early morning and early evening. However, avoid over-watering, and if your turf feels waterlogged, leave time to let the water seep through. Over-watering can lead to shallow root establishment, which will weaken the grass and can also create boggy conditions and promote diseases.

For the first month after laying your turf, it should never be allowed to dry out. After a month of regular watering, you can start to reduce the amount of watering, but always taking care that your turf remains moist.

Step 8 - The first cut

When you mow your lawn for the first time ensure the mower blades are sharp and don’t cut it too short. This strains the grass. Cut the grass as soon as the lawn has grown to about 5cm. Then mow as required until you can see the grass has stopped growing.

Once your new lawn is founded, don’t panic if it looks brown and dry. Going brown is its survival procedure. When water is in short supply, grass retorts by closing down. The brown colour simply shows it has stopped growing. Grass is remarkably resilient and most lawns will recover completely when the rain finally arrives.

Step 9 - Using your new lawn

It’s always a temptation to start walking or playing on your new lawn as soon as it’s been laid. However, it needs time to settle and bond with the undersoil. A period of 2 to 3 weeks should be long enough in the summer, perhaps a bit longer in the winter. The rule of thumb is that if you leave an impression when walking it's too soon.

Ready to get a quote from local tradesmen?

Post your job in minutes and get quotes from local and reliable trades. It's FREE. No obligations.

Get a Quote

Garden Turf Diseases

Turf, and especially newly-cut and laid turf is susceptible to disease and you need to monitor closely and look out for the tell-tale signs. Common diseases include:

Rust Disease

This is a common turf disease caused by fungi. Diseased parts may produce vast numbers of air-borne spores.

Symptoms

Typical symptoms of rust disease include:

  • Patches of yellow grass.
  • Large numbers of tiny, spore-producing pustules, usually orange, but often black in autumn.
Treatment

Prevention is always better than a cure, so:

  • Feed your lawn frequently throughout the growing season to preserve vitality.
  • Keep away from high nitrogen fertilisers in autumn, as the subsequent growth may be more vulnerable to attack from rust disease and others.
  • Mow regularly to decrease the number of infected grass stalks and improve air circulation by pruning of overhanging trees and shrubs.

Fusarium Patch (Snow Mould)

This disease is triggered by the fungus microdochium nivale. It’s one of the most destructive diseases of turf and can be problematic to control. It’s discovered most commonly throughout autumn, winter and the beginning of spring, but bouts can strike at any time of the year. It is sometimes very noticeable after thaws of snow, hence its name.

Snow Mould
Symptoms

Symptoms are small patches of yellowish, dying grass that later turn brown. The patches will increase in size and can even reach 30cm (or larger) in diameter, frequently joining together so that great areas can be disturbed.

During wet weather a white or pink cottony fungal growth might be spotted, mainly around the edges of the patch.

Treatment

Enhance overall airflow over the lawn by clipping back hanging trees or bushes. Get rid of heavy dews in the morning using a switch or bamboo cane.

Avoid high dosages of nitrogen fertiliser in summer or autumn, try to use an autumn lawn feed in its place.

The only recommended chemical treatment for this disease is trifloxystrobin (Provanto Lawn Disease Control). It can be utilised all year-round excluding droughts or when the lawn is icy. It shouldn’t be put on more than twice a year and is best used in conjunction with control methods mentioned above.

Red Threat

This is a typical cause of areas of dead grass on lawns during wet summers and autumn. It’s caused by Laetisaria fuciformis, a fungus. Red threat can appear at any period of year but it’s most common in summer and autumn.

Symptoms

Patches of infected grass with a reddish tint, afterwards turning light brown or bleached. They normally differ in size from 7.5cm to 25cm in diameter, but can be a lot bigger.

Two types of fungal growth may be seen on the patches, particularly under wet or humid conditions. The first takes the form of small, pink, cottony flocks, the second are pinkish-red, thread-like structures, 1-2mm (less than ¼in) in length.

Treatment

The best treatment is nitrogen in the form of sulphate of ammonia applied 15g per square metre. Don’t put on after August to evade the soft growth which is inclined to snow mould. Using a lawn rake to eliminate thatch and helps to increase ventilation. Getting rid of grass waste will decrease the quantity of fungus existing in the lawn.

Toadstools/Mushrooms

These are common in recently laid turf. They will not damage your lawn and can be removed by simply mowing daily until no more mushrooms are coming through. Alternatively, you can break the stems of the mushrooms by brushing which will dry them out and they will disappear.

Toad Stool

Turf Maintenance by Season

Below is a seasonal guide for maintaining your lawn at all times of the year.

Spring
  • Don’t get caught out with early growth! Keep an eye out for when you need to mow.
  • Make sure the blades on your mower are sharp.
  • Why not give your turf some spring fertiliser.
  • You might need to scarify to get rid of moss and thatch.
  • If your lawn has yellow or bare patches you can apply a fertiliser to aid growth.
Summer
  • Keep on top of lawn mowing.
  • Compost your grass clipping.
  • Mature lawns don’t need watering.
  • Fertilising is important, certainly if your grass needs it.
Autumn
  • Clear leaves to avoid a patchy lawn.
  • Watch out for brown patches - this could be an indication of a fungal disease.
  • Don’t mow if your lawn is waterlogged.
  • Apply fertiliser to ensure your lawn has enough nutrients.
Winter
  • Winter is time to take a break.
  • You could revisit and detail your turf edges.
  • To prevent damage to your lawn, let snow clear naturally.

Alternatives to Turf

Using the advice above to lay your turf should give you a great, long-lasting lawn. But it isn’t the only alternative. Below we consider two other popular alternatives to laying lawns.

Artificial Turf

It’s becoming more common that people are selecting artificial grass or turf because they involve minimum maintenance. They can look great in a smaller area and for people who find garden upkeep tough or costly.

Artificial grass

Synthetic grass doesn’t require mowing and you’ll have a green lawn throughout the year. If you have young children or animals, it’s difficult to destroy or mess up. Now you can purchase products that are a credible substitute to real turf. The fibres are sliced at mixed lengths and are in a variety of green and brown colours, which gives the grass an authentic appearance and texture.

If the lawn is laid and maintained correctly, it can have a lifespan of 7-10 years.

Artificial Grass Costs

There are various types of artificial grass offered with a diversity of costs; irrespective of which one you choose, it’s significant to make knowledgeable choices before committing to the modification. Generally, the cost of purchasing and fitting synthetic grass for your lawn is on average £1,300. This price is based on a 10 square metre lawn, which is slightly smaller than the average UK lawn.

Here are a few examples below of what’s available and how much it costs:

Artificial Grass (per sqm) Description Avg. Cost
Elite Lawn Mixed pile, very realistic, Variety of colours available. £26
Landscape Lawn A two-tone pile, natural and realistic. £23
Basic Lawn A shorter pile with a three-tone colour variety. £16


Installation Cost

Installation costs differ considerably, but overall, they’re between £25 and £605 per square metre. For example, for a 10 square metre lawn, the installation cost would typically be between £300 and £600.

Additional Costs

  • Jointing tape – Each roll covers 3 metres, so consider how many joins you will be needing to make before ordering: Cost per roll - £0.90
  • Jointing adhesive - Each tube covers 3 metres of artificial grass: Cost per tube - £6.00
  • Geotextile weed membrane – An under layer to help control weed growth. Available in 4m width: Cost per square metre - £0.90
  • Kiln-dried sand - For infill: Cost per 20kg bag £5

Depending on which grade of artificial lawn you choose and how you decide to install it, here’s a breakdown of estimated costs, based on a 10m2 lawn:

Activity Cost
Skip Hire £220
Topsoil (1 Tonne) £30
Labour £400
Artificial Grass (At £22.95 per m2) £230
Installation £450
Additional Costs £25
Total £1,325


Grass Seed

Using grass seed is the more traditional method for laying a lawn. So should I choose seed or turf? Below are some of the key advantages and disadvantages of seed:

Advantages

  • ✔ Seed is much cheaper than turf.
  • ✔ Seed takes up little space so it can be stored away till the weather is better and the ground is ready.
  • ✔ It’s not heavy – you don’t have to be burly, active or agile to spread grass seed.
  • ✔ Not messy.
  • ✔ Any leftover seed can be stored and used for lawn repairs at a later date.

Disadvantages

  • ✖ Seed will take longer than turf. It can take six to twelve months to create a fully-grown lawn from seed.
  • ✖ Choosing the right seed mix without any knowledge can be confusing.
  • ✖ Growth is typically not level, and in cold temperatures it can be slower.
  • ✖ Grass seed has to be protected against birds and cats.
  • ✖ You’ll notice that all types of weeds will sprout next to your grass – be ready to remove them.

Turf Removal Cost

To remove turf, you don’t have to dig very far down; grass tends to stay in the top layer of the soil. To DIY, you’ll need a spade to cut the turf into squares and remove it. It’s better to do this with damp soil rather than dry, hard soil. You may want to remove turf for flower beds, to be replaced with fake grass, or you need to replace your turf with healthier turf.

If you hire a gardener to complete this, expect to pay £300-£400 in labour cost on average, if you are considering hiring a skip, check out skip hire costs here.

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 topsoil 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.

Sources

http://www.turfgrass.co.uk/knowledge-base/turf-tips
https://www.turfonline.co.uk/
https://hoa.org.uk/advice/guides-for-homeowners/real-vs-artificial-grass/
https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=268

Ready to get a price?
Get a Price