Rebuilding your lawn with new turf

4 min read

Should you refurbish your tired lawn or should you re-turf it? This blog will help you tell if you need new turf.

So your lawn is looking awful and you want to do something about it. Believe me, you are not the only one. There are a lot of lawns out there that don’t do justice to the gardens they’re in. Here’s how to improve the situation.

First, assess your lawn. If it is very weedy, the grass is thin or the soil is compacted then yes, you probably do need new turf. However, in some cases, some simple gardening tricks will revive your lawn at very little cost.

Here’s how to assess whether to replace or refurbish your lawn.

First, some questions to help you assess the current condition of your lawn and the soil beneath it. We’ll help you to use your answers to these questions to decide whether your lawn can easily be refurbished or whether it’s better to replace it with new turf.

First: Assess the current condition of your lawn
What’s happening at the surface of your lawn?

What percentage of the lawn is actually a grass – not bare soil, moss or weeds?

How healthy is the existing grass? Are the leaves dark green, or are they tinged with yellow?


Areas in your lawn that look like this are caused by fusarium patch disease. It will usually disappear when the weather changes but may leave temporary scars


Are there any signs of disease? Usually shows as patches of discoloured grass perhaps with visible blobs of slimy substance or

How even is the texture? Do you have fairly uniform textured grass or is it in big ugly clumps?

Products that can help…


Garden Lawn Spear & Jackson Elements Garden Aerator
Buy garden aerator

Check the soil beneath your lawn

Can you take a 15cm screwdriver and push the whole of the blade into the soil without applying a lot of pressure?

Is the soil obviously very wet and does it stay soggy long after the rain has stopped?

Does your garden soil dry out very quickly leaving plants looking parched and poorly?

If you dig a small inspection pit – how deep are the grassroots penetrating into the soil and what is the soil texture like?

Hopefully, you have written down – or at least remembered your observations. Because now we’re going to decide whether you should refurb or replace.

Do you need new turf? – Yes

Definitely replace your lawn with new turf if any of the following are true

  • Less than 75% of the coverage is healthy grass
  • The soil is too compacted for you to push a screwdriver into
  • There are obvious problems with poor drainage – (you might need to enlist expert help to correct drainage issues)
using rake to scarify
Using a spring tine rake to scarify a lawn. Good for toning your body but unless you have either the stamina of a superhero or a very small lawn, I would recommend hiring a machine to do the job – or – better still – bringing in a reputable lawn care company.

If any of the following are true, refurbishment is possible, but it will be slow and probably costly. Fancy a  challenge and have time to do the work yourself? Go for it. If not, think about ripping up the lawn, re-preparing the soil and laying new turf to start your lawn replacement.

  • The grass grows in big ugly clumps
  • Soil dries out quickly (aerate and topdress regularly to improve soil texture)
  • Up to 20% of the total lawn coverage is actually a moss, broadleaved weeds or bare soil (the more grass you have, the easier and quicker it will be to refurbish)
  • Roots have not penetrated very deep into the soil
Probably not

Lawn refurbishment should be simple and relatively quick if

  • The grass leaves are tinged with yellow. (particularly in late winter or early spring) It’s likely that your lawn simply needs regular feeding. It will also benefit from aeration. Provided that there are no obvious problems with drainage or water retention.
  • Less than 10% of the lawn is moss or broadleaved weeds. A simple treatment followed by a sensible mowing regime to help grass plants fill out. Overseeding bare areas with good quality grass seed.
  • The lawn is shallow rooted but the soil beneath it is in good heart – aeration and a regular feeding regime should correct this.
Where to find help refurbishing your lawn

There are some really good lawn care companies out there. Simply use an internet search to find the best ones in your area. Always check the reviews though – there are some rogues out there too!

If you plan on doing the work yourself, here are some useful articles from past Turfonline blogs.

Creating a new lawn – seeding vs turfing

How to control moss in your lawn

What does it cost to returf your lawn?

A range of recommended lawn feeds and grass seeds are available to order online from the Turfonline website.

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