Building a new lawn
There can be a many reasons for wanting to construct a new lawn, maybe you prefer grass to
a previous patio or maybe you just want to start from scratch on a neglected area.
What ever the reason the correct preparation and construction techniques will play a big part in
the quality of your lawn in future years. There are many things to consider, does your site need
draining, does it need leveling, or do you seed the area or use turf.
Preparing the site
The first step when building a new lawn is to inspect the area. If the area is located at a new
building of house chances are there will be bricks, other building materials and general rubbish
that will need clearing away. Remove any remaining vegetation including tree roots.
Alternatively if there is a lot of vegetation on the site it will need treating with a total
weed killer such as glyphosate (Roundup). As with all chemicals it is important follow the
Levelling the site for you new lawn
If your site is already level you may go to the next stage of this section. However if the site
for your lawn is not even it will need levelling. It is worth noting that a slight fall on the site
will help shed surface water, therefore help with the drainage on you new lawn.
If a minimum amount of levelling is required, it can easily be done with a shovel and a rake.
However if the lawn needs major work to create a level it may be better to remove the top soil
re-level the subsoil then replace the topsoil. If any drainage is required it is better to put the
drainage in before replacing the top soil.
To obtain a level site, wooden pegs or stakes may be used at intervals all over the site. Place
a straight board from peg to peg using a spirit level on top of the board to check the level. Do
this process this over the whole site. The soil can then be built up to the same level as the pegs
ensuring your site is level.
Draining the site
If your site is free draining you can skip this process. However if you have a heavy clay soil
you may need to think about some kind of drainage. If you desire a luxury lawn then good drainage
is a must.
The easiest way of draining your lawn is by creating a slight fall on the surface to encourage
excess water to run off to a suitable location at the side of the lawn.
You can either incorporate a soak away or a catch water drainage system to remove any excess
water. For more information on these drains please visit our drainage page.
Cultivating and preparing the site for seeding or turfing
It is important that you choose the right ground conditions for this task. The soil needs
to be reasonable dry for this, working a wet soil can have an adverse effect on the soil
The top soil should be dug over or cultivated to a depth of 150 - 200mm (6 - 8inches), however
it is important not to dig into the subsoil so it mixes with the top soil. Ideally you need at
least 150mm of top soil for your lawn. If you are lacking in top soil consider adding some to bring
it up to the desired level. Remove any debris such as stones, vegetation and tree roots as you come
You can also incorporate some peat or sand to improve water retention or help with the drainage
depending on the physical make of the top soil. A spade or fork should be used for this task,
however a mechanical rotavator can be used for larger areas.
Once this process is complete you can then go ahead and create a surface for seeding or turfing.
This stage involves heeling and raking the surface to create a fine tilth for the seed or turf.
Firm the whole area by pressing you heels into the ground (heeling). This firms the soil which will
eliminate any air pockets therefore stopping any sink age in the future. Then rake the surface
removing any large clods or stones as you do this. These two exercises (heeling and raking) can be
repeated 3 or 4 times until a satisfactory (level & firm) surface is created.
Pre-seeding or pre-turfing fertiliser application
A pre-seeding or pre-turfing fertiliser can be applied to the surface of the soil and lightly
raked in before seeding or turfing. A pre seeding/turfing fertiliser similar to a 7.7.7 (NPK)
fertiliser will be ideal for this, apply at the manufactures rate for best results.
Seed or turf your new lawn
When you have completed all of the previous stages it is time to either seed or turf your new
lawn, both methods have their advantages & disadvantages. Some of these are outlined in the
|It takes longer
for seed to establish and is more dependant on the weather for successful
||Turf is quicker to establish, a lawn which is
laid in the autumn/winter should be established by the following
|Smaller time frame for sowing seed, although
seed can be sown anytime during the growing season, Late August - Early September
is the ideal time as the ground is warm and there is less chance of a
||Although October - February is the ideal time
for turfing, it can be laid at any time including the summer as long as it receives
|Less cost, seeding is a lot less expensive than
||It is more expensive to purchase turf than to
|More aftercare is required for a seeded lawn,
there is also more risk with problems such as weeds, disease, birds and poor
||Very little aftercare in the short term is
required after the turf has been laid.
|Choose your own grasses for you lawn. You can
pick the grasses that will perform well with your soil type and soil
||You are more limited with grass selection as you
are tied to what your supplier has to offer which may not be ideal for your soil