The cost of turf installation

4 min read

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How much does it cost to lay grass? In this blog, we’re comparing DIY prices to the price to turf a garden when hiring a professional landscaper, whether you’re installing one of Turfonline’s best-selling Jubilee lawn turf or a species-rich Meadowmat.

I’m writing this on the hottest day of the year so far. Today is probably not the best day for turfing, but thinking ahead, and for anyone who is considering a new lawn, I’m looking at the cost of turf installation.

DIY or professional? Which is the best way to lay turf?

Preparing the soil for turfing and actually laying turf are quite physical jobs. They’re not difficult or complicated but they do use a lot of energy and muscle power. Great for burning calories but not particularly gentle on the back.

If you do feel able to do the work yourself, the cost of turf installation will be much less than if you employ a landscaper. However, just like painting and decorating, altering clothing or dog grooming – you’ll sometimes get better results if you ask a trained professional to help. (I’m speaking from experience here).

The cost of laying turf yourself

When you lay turf yourself, you need to factor in all of the costs. Not just in money terms, but in terms of your time and what you could be doing instead. I don’t know how fast you can work or how big your garden is, so I’m just going to think about the cost of turf installation in financial terms.

Tools and equipment you’ll need to hire or buy

Unless you are turfing a very small area, you’ll find it quickest and easiest to hire mechanical tools to help you prepare the soil for turfing.

To remove the old lawn – either apply a systemic weedkiller and leave it for 3 -4 weeks to work. OR hire a turf stripping machine.

This is the kind of machine I recommend – although I’d advise you shop around and get the best price for it.

If you are using a turf cutter, you may also need to pay to dispose of the old turf. Some councils will collect for you, others expect you to hire a skip or a man with a van.

To turn the soil over and make a nice tilth, a rotavator is ideal. You can see one being used in our turf laying video.

At the time of writing, it cost just £48 per day to hire a machine that will make light work of your lawn preparation. Don’t forget to factor in fuel and how you might transport it to and from the hire shop though.

To get the soil perfectly level once it’s been rotavated, we recommend using a landscaping rake. It has a wide head with a back edge on it to help with levelling.

To maintain those perfect levels while you’re working, a set of turfing boards are an excellent investment.

Don’t forget to make sure you can water the whole area of new turf very thoroughly every day and without tramping on it too much. A hosepipe and a sprinkler are the perfect combinations for this.

The final cost is, of course, the turf itself.

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The cost of turf installation by professional landscapers

A turf supply and lay service can work in one of two ways, which will affect that cost of laying turf per square metre.

  1. Preparing the ground so that you can lay turf yourself (VERY useful service and lawn removal costs are possibly more cost effective than hiring all that equipment)
  2. Soil preparation, sourcing and ordering your turf then laying it for you.

Prices vary according to the size of the garden to be turfed, the access to the garden (for machinery etc), the area you live in (for example London prices are higher than Norfolk) and the current condition of the garden (there may be a charge for waste removal).

At the time of writing, (summer 2018) the average cost of a turf supply varies between £11-£15 per square metre. You may be quoted less than this, you may be quoted more – it all depends on the garden size and geographic area, as well as the turf laying services near you.

When researching the cost of turf installation, always get more than one quotation.  Be sure to do your homework too. Not everyone who claims to be a landscaper is good at laying turf. To find a reliable, trustworthy landscaper who is local to you, take a look at the BALI website.

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