How to prepare your soil for turfing

4 min read

prepare your soil for turfing

How to prepare your soil for turfing – 08.09.22 – Turfing is becoming one of the most popular ways to achieve a gorgeous lawn in your garden. However, there are a few preparations that need to be made to ensure that your garden is ready and will still look good once the turf is laid.

The secret to any project is good preparation. Whether you are hanging wallpaper, icing a cake or writing a dissertation, poor preparation is reflected in the finished article.

This guide will help you every step of the way. We’ll tell you how to prepare your soil for turf, how to make your lawn level and how to lay the perfect lawn with high-quality garden turf. So, when you’re creating a new lawn, allow plenty of time to get the soil ready for your turf, or seed – the soil prep is the same.

Preparing to lay the perfect lawn includes the following:

  • Clear away any plants, weeds and debris
  • Dig or rotovate soil to at least 15cm deep
  • Improve soil texture or quality if necessary
  • Level the area
  • Firm the soil
  • Add pre-turfing fertiliser
  • Rake and level again
  • Lay your turf
Clear the area

First of all, every last scrap of plant material and debris needs to be taken off the lawn area. Grass, plants, leaves, roots, twigs – everything. You can do this with a garden spade or, if you have a large area, hire a mechanical turf cutter to save yourself time.

The old lawn can be composted down or taken to your local green waste centre. However, if you prefer to use a systemic weedkiller like Roundup Optima+, leave the lawn for at least 3 weeks after you’ve applied it, as it will take a while to kill the leaves and the roots.

How to dig up a lawn for turf

Using a garden fork or a mechanical rotavator, dig the soil over and remove any bricks, stones, builders’ rubble or other debris. As a rough guide, if a stone is bigger than a matchbox, it’s too big to be under your lawn.

When preparing your soil for turfing dig at least 15cm (6 inches) down – more if you possibly can. If there isn’t enough topsoil to get 15cm of loose soil, bring in some good quality soil like  Miracle-Gro Evergreen Enriched lawn soil.

Does your soil need improving?

At this stage, you can add soil improvers if you feel you need to. If your garden soil is naturally sandy and doesn’t retain water for long, dig in some organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure.

If you have clay soil which is heavy, sticky and gets boggy in winter, incorporate some gravel to help with drainage and some organic matter to encourage worms to come along and aerate it for you.

How to make your lawn level

Making your lawn level is a crucial step to laying turf evenly. First, start with raking the soil to break down any big lumps and to get a nice even surface. You’re aiming to get a texture that looks a bit like the topping on an apple crumble.

It’s important to get rid of humps and hollows because you’ll find that they catch on the mower blades and you’ll be scalping the high areas of the lawn every time you cut it.

Products that can help


Fiskars nursery set

pre turfing lawn feed
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Buy gardening tool set Buy pre turfing feed Buy grass shears

Firm the lawn

When you’re preparing your garden for turfing there’s a funny dance called the gardener’s shuffle. That’s what you need to do next. It can get a bit tedious on your own – so invite friends and family to join you in this one.


When properly prepared for turfing the texture of the soil shows a lack of humps and hollows and should be level.  The soil should be approx. 20mm below the level of the paving – that way the finished lawn will be the same height as the patio.

Criss-cross your soil, taking tiny steps so that you press every single bit of soil down.  Start off by going one way, then, when you’re finished, do it again the other way – just to make sure.

Add Pre-Turfing Feed

Then you need to apply a pre-turfing feed like Rapid Roots to the soil – follow the instructions on the pack. This will help de-stress the grass plants after their journey from the turf field to your garden. With the proper nutrients they’ll root in quickly and they’ll stay strong and healthy.


Rake It Again

One final rake to incorporate the pre-turf fertiliser and to level the surface and bingo – you’re ready to measure up and order your new turf.

Helpful Links

Order turfing topsoil online here.

Do you need topsoil to lay turf?

What does turfing topsoil cost?

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