Essential equipment and tools for turfing. What tools do you need and where can you find them?
I love gardening, beekeeping, baking, cycling and wool crafts. For each of those hobbies I have a set of basic tools. Not necessarily expensive ones but there can be no doubt about it, having the right tools for the job certainly speeds things up.
What tools do you need for turfing?
Here’s my list. Starting with the ground preparation then moving on to laying turf and watering it in.
- Gardening gloves – thick ones
- Sturdy boots
- Sharp spade OR turf cutting machine
- Garden Fork OR Rotovator
- Landscaping rake
- Laying boards
- Knife or edge-trimmer
Why do you need all of those tools for turfing?
Take a look at this turf-laying video from Q Lawns – (Q Lawns are part of Harrowden Turf Ltd and all products mentioned are available to buy online from www.turfonline.co.uk)
Here you can see all of these tools for turfing in use at various stages of the turf-laying process
Where to find turfing tools
Most gardeners will have a selection of tools in their shed. If you haven’t accumulated any yet, you may be able to borrow some from friends or family. Speaking from experience though – I would advise you to buy your own if you can afford to. You’ll be using them time and time again.
In the video, we see professional landscapers using mechanical tools. A turf cutting machine to remove old vegetation and a rotovator to turn the soil over.
Unless you do a lot of turf laying, I wouldn’t advise buying a turf cutter. Most good tool hire shops will rent one to you.
The rotovator – I have a small one of my own. It cost around £400 5 years ago and I use it every year in my vegetable garden. For me, it was a good investment. However, if you don’t need one, don’t buy one. If you know anyone with allotments, they may be able to lend you a rotovator or tilling machine, otherwise you can rent them by the day.
You can buy rakes from any good garden centre or DIY shop. For levelling larger areas though, I strongly recommend a landscaping rake. They’re wider than a garden rake and do a much better (and quicker) job of preparing soil for turf. They even have a specially shaped back edge so you can turn them upside down to get the soil surface really smooth.
Because they’re not widely available, Turfonline offer landscaping rakes to buy via our website.
Again, wheelbarrows are widely available. I’d be lost without mine. It gets used in all sorts of ways. Even taking the linen basket out to the washing line when I have a bad back and can’t carry the thing.
Again, buy the best you can afford. The cheaper ones tend to tip over easily and rust quickly. Turf can be quite heavy. You will probably be barrowing turf from your drive to your back garden (turf comes on a pallet and is usually left at the front of your property). Choose a sturdy barrow that will carry as many rolls as possible and stays upright. It will make the job a lot less onerous. I would say that a wheelbarrow, whilst not essential, is amongst the most important tools for turfing.
If you’ve been doing lots of DIY lately you probably have planks of wood or maybe even old cupboard doors laying around. They make fantastic laying boards. All they’re for is to spread your weight and make sure you don’t compact the soil that you’ve worked so hard to prepare.
If you’ve nothing handy, these boards can be ordered and delivered with your turf for a very low cost.
Knife or Edge-trimmer
I find a Stanley knife does the job perfectly well – but make sure you have spare blades because they soon get blunt. Edge-trimmers are used standing up. They’re great for shaping curves into your new lawn but not so great for cutting individual turves. You’ll be forever standing up then bending down then standing up again. If there’s one thing I do know about laying turf, it’s that it’s more tiring than you think. May as well make the job as easy as you can by having the right tools to hand.
Hosepipe and Sprinkler
These are vital tools for turfing – whatever else you do, don’t compromise on watering.
You’ll be doing a lot of watering in the first couple of weeks after your new turf is laid. Try to be waterwise if you can, particularly in the summer months.
Water only in the very early morning or in the evening. No irrigating in the heat of the day unless your turf is really dehydrated.
If you opt for a sprinkler, keep an eye on it and move it every 5-10 minutes. If you switch it on and disappear for an hour you’ll waste an awful lot of water.
Not an essential turfing tool but you will find that little bits of grass and soil fall off while you’re manoeuvring and moving your turf. When the work is done, a quick sweep over paths and patios will give your work a neat finish.