Laying turf on grass, soil and other materials: what to do and what not to do

Blog | Laying Turf | Posted on August 26, 2020 at 4:29 pm by

We’re often asked how to lay turf on different surfaces like soil, grass and hard materials like stone or concrete.

The results you get will vary depending on what type of material is under your newly laid turf, so here’s our rough guide to some of the most common surfaces to lay a new lawn on.


Soil is the ideal surface and we’ve covered it in detail in our Turf Guide, but here are a few of the main do’s and don’ts to help you remember how to lay turf on soil:


In a perfect world, it’s better not to lay turf on grass. This isn’t just because the old grass and weeds might grow through – it’s about preparing soil for fresh turf.

Removing the old grass exposes the soil beneath so that you can rotavate and aerate it, and this again improves the new turf’s chances of bedding in better.

If you must lay over old grass:


New turf has a layer of soil and roots attached, but it’s not enough to sustain the grass for the long term – it needs something to grow roots down into.

Hard surfaces like stone and concrete are not suitable for a permanent lawn; however, if you want natural green grass for a special event, it’s easy to unroll a few turves on to a solid floor.

Green Roofs

Finally, laying turf on green roofs is an increasingly popular option on eco-friendly properties, so remember:

What to know about laying turf on existing grass

Laying Turf | Posted on March 6, 2019 at 5:05 pm by

What to know about laying turf on existing grass

Ask the internet “Can I lay turf on existing grass?” and the answer is generally a resounding no – but of course it’s more complex than that, so here’s what to know about laying turf on existing grass for the best results.


Why not to lay turf over old grass

First of all, a few of the reasons why NOT to lay turf over old grass. These include:

  • It’s harder for the turf to set down healthy roots through the old grass layer.
  • Once covered, old grass and vegetation can rot, cause subsidence and damage the turf’s roots.
  • Unwanted growth like weeds is more likely to just re-grow through the fresh turf.

Ultimately it comes down to two main reasons not to lay turf over an old lawn: it gives you less chance to fix existing problems, and it makes it less likely that the new turf will successfully lay down roots.


Reasons to lay turf on old grass

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably already thinking about reasons to lay turf on old grass, and there are a few different arguments for why you might choose to do so:

  • Existing grass might be very sparse and mostly bare soil showing through.
  • You might need a very fast green lawn for an upcoming event or social occasion.
  • There might be concerns (practical and financial) about disposing of the old grass if dug up.

These fall into three general categories: faster, easier and cheaper. If your garden makeover is up against it on any one of the three, then it might be enough to persuade you to lay turf on top of existing grass.


How best to lay turf over grass

If you decide you want to go ahead, it’s important to know how best to lay turf over grass to give it the best chance to put down roots, grow new green grass and avoid subsidence and weeds over time.

The best chance of success is if the existing grass is very sparse – and in any case, you should prepare the soil as well as possible. Take look at our steps to prepare for laying new turf. This is a guide for laying turf on topsoil, however you can appropriate some of these steps to increase that chances of your turf taking root over old grass.

Some of the main steps to follow include:

  • Scarify the old lawn to remove matted growth including dead grass and moss.
  • Rotovate the surface well to aerate compacted soil and expose bare soil for direct root contact.
  • Mix in a good amount of fertiliser and/or compost to improve your turf’s growth prospects.


Aftercare for turf laid over grass

If you can remove the old grass at all – even just the top layer and then thoroughly rotovate the soil beneath – this will help. Follow good turf aftercare guidelines to keep your new lawn well fed and watered, and avoid heavy traffic to reduce damage as much as possible.

Any old grass you remove can be stacked in an unused corner of the garden or at the back of a shrubbery, where it will rot down to create a natural fertiliser – which you can then use to feed your new turf lawn, so none of those nutrients are lost.


If you are unsure what to do, get in touch with the team at Carbutts Turf, one of us will be happy to help in any way we can. We also provide a lawn laying service and can professionally install a brand new lawn for you.

Preparing to lay new turf

Laying Turf | Posted on at 4:58 pm by

Preparing to lay new turf

Preparing to lay new turf takes a little time and effort but it’s worth it to give your turf direct contact with fertile soil and good drainage – it will root faster and better, and should look lush and greener for a long time to come.

The key things to remember are:

  • Good turf to soil contact.
  • Good fertilisation and moisture.
  • Well aerated and uncompacted soil.

With these things in mind when preparing to lay new turf, you can be more confident that the roots will grow to a good depth, allowing them to draw valuable moisture and nutrients up into the grass.


Preparing soil for turf step by step

Some of the main stages in preparing soil for turf include:

  1. Remove old grass and other organic material from the surface to leave bare soil.
  2. Rotovate the soil to a good depth and allow to settle, ideally for a few weeks.
  3. Level the surface to remove bumps and hollows, but do not compact the soil.
  4. Water well to get a good amount of moisture into the soil and test drainage.
  5. Incorporate well rotted manure or compost if you need to retain more moisture.

Again, when preparing soil for turf, you want a well aerated soil for roots to penetrate, but not so much that it will subside; good direct sod-to-soil contact; and good moisture and fertiliser content.


Laying turf on prepared soil

Once you’ve gone to the trouble of creating a turf-friendly environment, there are a few more precautions to take when it comes to actually laying turf on prepared soil.

Use turfing boards to spread your weight any time you need to walk across the soil, and to gently tamp down the laid turf so it’s nice and flat and in good contact with the soil underneath.

Butt the turves up against each other without any gaps or stretching and gently flatten down the joins, which should be staggered like brickwork for the best finish. Water well to help the turf establish itself into the soil.


Get help from the Carbutts Turf Laying Service

The Carbutts Turf Laying Service is a complete lawn laying service that removes the need for you to prepare the soil yourself, as our team of experts can handle it instead.

Our complete turf laying service includes digging out the soil and preparing the area for the turf to go down, to ensure good root contact and help the turf to establish itself properly.

We can also lay turf on to soil that you have prepared in advance, if you want to keep control of that part of the process but would prefer us to provide a professional lawn laying service once your turf itself is delivered.

You can of course lay your turf yourself or use your own lawn laying contractors to do the job, and we can happily provide you with complete guidance on how to care for newly laid turf in the following weeks and months for the best results.

If you’re preparing your garden or any other outdoors area for fresh new turf, contact Carbutts Turf today on 01477 532 594 or email