How To Guides

How to prepare your area to lay natural turf

The first thing you need to do before you lay new natural turf is prepare your area. Here, our turf experts explain how to do this in five simple steps:

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1. Clear your existing area

Do not lay turf on existing grass. If you have existing lawn, spray herbicide to kill the vegetation or remove it manually. When the vegetation is dead, remove it and any other debris (sticks, stones etc).

2. Prepare the area for new turf
Test your topsoil

Firstly, test the pH of your topsoil. Your topsoil should measure a pH between 5.5 and 7.0. If you soil is acidic (pH below 6), add lime. If it is alkaline (pH is greater than 8.5), add sulphur. If you have heavy clay soil, add gypsum to help break up the clay.

Adding topsoil

If you need to add topsoil, purchase weed free sandy loam topsoil. This is often called ‘turf underlay’ at your local garden or landscaping centre. Your area will need to be at least 150mm deep with topsoil.

Finalise your topsoil

Rake and level your topsoil. Do you have any footpaths or driveways alongside your turf? Ensure your topsoil level is 20mm below this. This means when your turf is laid on top it will be at the same level as the footpath.

Add your irrigation

If you are installing an irrigation system, do it at this stage. It is important that the topsoil is moist when you lay your turf. Check water is penetrating the topsoil evenly. If not, apply Yates’ Waterwise wetting agent.

3. Check your topsoil is well aerated and drained

The roots of your new natural turf need a balance of oxygen and water. So, your topsoil must be well aerated and well drained. If it’s compacted, you can till the soil (turn over and break up the soil) to aerate it. You can also increase drainage by installing pipes or creating a slope.

4. Fertilise your topsoil

A solid first start for your new lawn is to add fertiliser to your topsoil. Use Yates’ Dynamic Lifter to increase the retention of moisture and nutrients in your soil.

5. Your area is ready for new turf

Your area is ready for new turf. The next step is to measure your area to find out how many square metres you need to order.


Our staff are experts in the turf industry and are ready to discuss your requirements for your next project with you.