The first step in turfing a lawn – or indeed in laying wild flower turf – is to remove the old vegetation. Often this means digging up and disposing of an existing lawn. So what should you do with the leaves, roots and other debris that you’ve dug up?
Provided it hasn’t been treated with weedkillers, old turf makes terrific compost. Simply stack it, grass side down, into a neat heap in a sunny corner. Over time – and we’re talking a couple of years – the grass will decompose and be broken down into plant nutrients. Those nutrients will enrich the soil and you’ll be able to use it for growing veg or filling planters in the future.
Try to avoid letting things like nettles, docks, dandelions and couch grass get into the pile. If their roots don’t rot properly your compost could well spread unwanted plants throughout the garden.
If you don’t have the space for composting your old turf, your local council probably will have.
This government website has a directory of councils who will take away and process your garden waste. Simply enter your postcode and you’ll be shown all of the contact details you need.
Make a living roof
If your garden shed is sturdy and the waterproofing is in good condition, you could use your old turf to make a living green roof.
A turf roof is a commonly seen feature in many countries – but you do need a sturdy building to support one
It will insulate the building beautifully and is great for wildlife. However – you need to be confident at DIY and you must learn the basics of green roofing before you start. Otherwise you’ll end up with a collapsed shed to deal with along with your old turfgrass.
The easiest (but not the cheapest) way to dispose of your old turf is to have a professional landscaper prepare the site for you and take away the debris.
This might seem a bit extravagant but in all honesty, it’s probably a good investment. If you were going to hire a turf cutter and a rotovator to prepare the soil then you were going to have some expense anyway. Then if you needed to hire a skip (or a man with a van) to take away the debris, the total cost would probably be near equivalent to hiring professional help.
BALI is a trade body that vet’s landscapers for their work and their business practices. You won’t find any “cowboy landscapers” on this website.