Prepare the Soil
Step 1 Remove the grass and weeds
Remove all grass and weeds from the site by spraying with weed killer, wait seven days and repeat until all weeds are dead. This will give your lawn a greater chance of growing and establishing weed-free. Also, remove all rocks and debris from the area.
Either with an old-style turf cutter or a bobcat, remove all the old lawn as well as any roots still there.
Step 2 Adjust the levels
Adjust the gradient of the area to ensure it slopes away from your house and pathways to help with drainage. Soil height should be 10cm deep and 3cm below paths or driveways.
Step 3 Test the Soil
Conduct a PH test on your soil using a PH testing kit. You can pick this up from your local hardware store or nursery. Generally, the soil should have a PH level between 6-7, however, ask your turf specialist for the ideal PH for the variety you choose.
Rotary hoe and turn over the existing soil. Depending on the area, you may need to add in good quality topsoil.
For soil with a clay base, apply gypsum to the soil before the turf is laid. For sandy soils, apply organic material to make sure the soil can hold nutrients.
Spread the soil evenly to a depth of between 10-15cm.
Step 4 Level the Soil
Use a roller or rake to firm the soil and flatten the ground so that it is nice and even. This will create a smooth surface for the new turf and allow it to come into contact with the soil.
Don’t use a heavy roller, as you want to avoid compacting the soil.
When leveling the soil, remember the gradient should slope away from your house to help with drainage.
Step 5 Measure the area
If you are unsure of how to prepare your lawn for turf, your local turf supplier can offer you advice, and in some areas, can help you prepare and measure the area.
Consider installing a quality irrigation system to ensure your new lawn will be water-efficient and grow strong.
You can design and install an efficient irrigation system yourself or seek the services of a registered irrigation specialist. Your local irrigation supplier can also assist you to be sure to get the best system for your size lawn.
Ensure you have all the same system throughout your lawn as different brands and nozzles will put out different rates of water flow.
You can set up catch cups around your lawn to check that the flow of water is even across the area and preventing some areas from drying out.
Once your lawn is established, you should aim for 10mm of water to be delivered per watering session.
Talk to your local irrigation supplier about water-efficient and smart systems available.
Be sure to check on any restrictions with your local water authority.
Step by Step Guide:
Laying the Turf
Step 1 Apply a fertiliser
Apply a good lawn starter fertiliser to the soil before laying the turf to encourage deep root establishment of the lawn.
Now is also a good time to include water storing crystals.
Step 2 Start from the longest edge
Start from the longest straight edge of the area. Lay in rows in a staggered brick pattern, across slopes rather than down.
Ensure all joins are butted together tightly and that there is no overlap. Knock rolls together with the back of a rake or spade.
Ensure there are no air pockets and that there’s good contact between the turf and the soil.
Step 3 Cut the turf
Next, cut the turf around the edges of trees or garden beds. Don’t throw away any of the turf offcuts as you may need it to fill in parts of your lawn at the end.
Step 4 Roll and water
Use a roller to roll the entire area to improve contact between the turf and soil.
Water the turf within 30 minutes and make sure it’s soaked.
Water your new turf regularly over the next month, easing off each week as it establishes. Be sure to check on any restrictions with your local water authority.
You may also want to top-dress the turf with topsoil or washed river sand to help with establishment and hold in moisture.
Your location in Australia will dictate when the best times of year are to lay a new lawn. Generally, a lawn that is laid in warmer weather will establish itself quicker, but also requires more frequent watering. In cooler temperatures, the lawn will take longer to establish but will require less watering. While spring is considered the best time to lay a new lawn, it is possible to lay lawn throughout the year.
Summer: If you’ve missed the spring planting window, then wait for the early or later stages of summer when the heat is less intense. New turf needs to be kept moist and so will need more frequent watering if established in the summertime so that it will root quicker. In some parts of Australia, this could mean watering several times a day for the first few weeks.
Autumn: In autumn, the temperatures will begin the drop, meaning the growth rate for your lawn will slow. Try to target the beginning of the autumn season to lay your turf, to give it a better chance of establishment.
Winter: For the winter season, if you are in a part of the country that experiences very cold weather, snow or frost, you should avoid laying your turf down and instead wait until spring. However, if you are in an area with milder winter temperatures, then it is possible for your lawn to establish itself.
Spring: Spring sees some turf varieties come out of their winter dormancy, as well as gradually increasing temperatures. These are great conditions to help the lawn establish its roots. The milder temperatures in spring ensure that the turf requires far less watering during its establishment phase than it would need in summer.