If you’ve recently had new turf laid in your garden and it’s not looking as good as you expected, you’re not alone. Poorly laid turf can be a frustrating problem, and it’s not always easy to know how to fix it. Fortunately, with the right techniques and careful attention to detail, you can get your lawn looking healthy and beautiful again. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of fixing badly laid turf. We’ll explain how to assess the situation, identify the issues, and determine the extent of the problem.

Turf Being Laid
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How to Identify Badly Laid Turf?

The first step in fixing a botched job is to identify the issues. Common problems that arise when turf is poorly laid include unevenness, poor drainage, and patchiness.

  • Unevenness: If your turf is uneven, it can be caused by a variety of factors. Perhaps the ground wasn’t levelled properly before the turf was laid, or the soil is settling unevenly. Whatever the cause, uneven turf can make your garden look unsightly and make it difficult to mow the lawn properly.
  • Poor Drainage: If your lawn is prone to waterlogging, it’s likely that the drainage is poor. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including the soil type and the gradient of the ground. Poor drainage can cause the grass to turn yellow and die and can also lead to the growth of moss and weeds.
  • Thinning or Patchiness: Thinning or patchiness in your turf can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor quality turf, insufficient watering, or damage to the grass. Whatever the cause, it can make your lawn look unsightly and make it difficult to maintain.
Patchy Uneven and Yellowing Turf
Patchy Uneven and Yellowing Turf

Determining the Extent of the Problem

Once you’ve identified the issues with your turf, you’ll need to determine the extent of the problem. This will help you to decide how much work will be needed to fix the issue. If your lawn is only slightly uneven, you may be able to fix the problem by simply adding some topsoil to level it out. However, if the unevenness is more severe, you may need to lift the old turf and re-level the ground before laying the new turf. If your lawn has poor drainage, you may need to install drainage channels or improve the gradient of the ground to allow the water to drain away more easily.

If your turf is thinning or patchy, you may need to lift the old turf and re-seed the area, or you may need to lay new turf altogether.

How to Fix Badly Laid Turf

Now that you have identified the issues with your lawn and determined the extent of the problem, it’s time to fix the issues. In this section, we’ll guide you through the steps to fix your botched turf job. By following these steps, you’ll be able to have a healthy and beautiful lawn in no time.

What You Need

  • Turf cutter or spade
  • Garden fork
  • Rake
  • Topsoil
  • Sand or grit (if needed)
  • Turf or grass seed
  • Watering can or hosepipe

1 – Lifting the Turf

The first step in repairing your lawn is to lift the old turf. This can be done using a turf cutter, spade or if it is really bodged, you may just be able to roll it back up. Here’s how to do it:

  • Begin by cutting the turf into manageable strips using a turf cutter or spade.
  • Lift the strips of turf and roll them up.
  • Remove any dead grass or roots from the ground.
  • Use a garden fork to loosen the soil and improve drainage.
Rolls of Lifted Turf Ready to Be Re-laid
Rolls of Lifted Turf Ready to Be Re-laid

2 – Levelling and Improving Drainage

Once you have lifted the old turf, it’s time to level the ground and improve drainage if needed. Here’s how to do it:

  • Spread a layer of topsoil over the ground and use a rake to level it out.
  • If the ground is still uneven, use sand or grit to level it out further.
  • Use a garden fork to make small holes in the ground to improve drainage.
  • If the drainage is poor, install drainage channels or improve the gradient of the ground to allow the water to drain away more easily.
  • If the soil is too heavy with clay, you will need to amend it for best results.
Laying Turf on Freshly Levelled Ground
Laying Turf on Freshly Levelled Ground

3 – Laying the New Turf

After you have prepared the ground, it’s time to lay the new turf. Here’s how to do it:

  • Choose the right type of turf for your garden. Make sure it’s suitable for the soil and the amount of sunlight your garden receives.
  • Lay the turf in straight lines, starting from one corner of the garden and working your way across.
  • Use a sharp knife to trim the edges of the turf to fit the shape of your garden.
  • Water the new turf thoroughly.
Laying New Turf
Laying New Turf

4 – Aftercare

Once you have laid the new turf, it’s important to take good care of it to ensure it grows healthy and strong. Here’s how to do it:

  • Water the new turf regularly, especially during dry spells.
  • Avoid walking on the new turf for the first few weeks to allow the roots to establish.
  • Mow the lawn regularly but be careful not to cut it too short.
  • Fertilize the lawn with a suitable fertilizer to promote healthy growth.
Edging Freshly Laid Turf
Edging Freshly Laid Turf

What is the Best Time of Year to Lay New Turf?

When it comes to laying new turf, timing is everything. The best time of year to lay new turf will vary depending on your location and climate, but there are a few general tips to keep in mind. In most cases, late spring or early autumn is the ideal time to lay new turf although you can lay turf at any time of year as long as the ground isn’t frozen or baked dry and you are able to prepare the ground sufficiently. If it is laid in summer, it needs to be watered in the cooler parts of the day (early morning or late evening). The weather is typically milder during these times of day, which helps the turf establish itself more quickly.

Note: Avoid laying turf during the heat of summer or the cold of winter, as this can stress the new grass and make it more susceptible to disease.

Conclusion

In conclusion, fixing a botched turf job can be a daunting task, but with the right techniques and careful attention to detail, you can get your lawn looking healthy and beautiful again. By assessing the situation, identifying the issues, and determining the extent of the problem, you can fix your lawn and avoid making the same mistakes in the future. Follow the steps outlined in this article, and you’ll be well on your way to having a stunning, healthy lawn.

5 Tips for Caring for New Turf Infographic
5 Tips for Caring for New Turf Infographic

Garden Doctor Tips

“Rushing through the repair process can lead to mistakes and further damage to your lawn. Take the time to properly assess the situation and plan out the repairs before proceeding!”

“Having the right tools on hand can make the repair process much smoother and more efficient. Make sure you have everything you need, including a turf cutter or spade, a garden fork, a rake, topsoil, sand or grit, and new turf or grass seed!”

“Poor drainage is a common issue with badly laid turf, so take steps to improve the drainage in your garden. This may involve installing drainage channels or improving the gradient of the ground!”

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you fix poorly laid turf?

To fix poorly laid turf, you’ll need to first identify the issues, such as unevenness, poor drainage, or patchiness. Then, you’ll need to lift the old turf and prepare the ground by levelling it and improving the drainage. Finally, you can lay new turf or seed the area, and take good care of it to ensure healthy growth.

Can you lay turf wrong?

Yes, you can lay turf wrong. Common mistakes include not properly preparing the ground, laying the turf too close together or too far apart, failing to water the turf properly, or using the wrong type of turf for your soil type and sunlight exposure.

How do you revive newly laid turf?

To revive newly laid turf, make sure it’s getting enough water and sunlight, but not too much of either. Avoid walking on the turf for the first few weeks, and make sure the soil is properly prepared and level. Consider fertilizing the turf with a suitable fertilizer to promote healthy growth.

How do you fill gaps in newly laid turf?

To fill gaps in newly laid turf, cut pieces of turf to fit the gaps and press them firmly into the ground. Make sure the edges of the turf are flush with the surrounding turf, and water the area thoroughly.

Why is my grass patchy after laying turf?

Grass can be patchy after laying turf due to a variety of factors, including poor soil quality, inadequate watering, or damage to the turf during installation. Make sure the soil is properly prepared and the turf is getting enough water, but not too much, and avoid walking on the turf for the first few weeks.

How long does it take for turf lines to disappear?

Turf lines, or visible seams between sections of turf, can take several weeks or even months to disappear, depending on the type of turf and the growing conditions. However, with proper watering and care, the lines should eventually fade away as the turf grows and fills in.

Why does my new turf look like it’s dying?

New turf can look like it’s dying if it’s not getting enough water or if it’s been damaged during installation. Make sure the turf is getting enough water, but not too much, and avoid walking on it for the first few weeks. If the problem persists, it may be worth consulting a professional landscaper.

Why does my new turf look dead?

New turf can look dead if it’s not getting enough water, if it’s been damaged during installation, or if there are underlying issues with the soil or drainage. Make sure the turf is properly watered and cared for and consider consulting a professional if the problem persists.

What does overwatered new grass look like?

Overwatered new grass may appear yellow or brown, and the leaves may feel soft and mushy. The roots may also appear weak or rotten. To avoid overwatering, make sure the soil is properly prepared and the turf is getting enough water, but not too much.

What do I do if new turf starts to shrink?

Shrinkage in new turf indicates that the turf has not yet taken root and it has also not received enough water. To prevent shrinkage, water well.

Why is my new turf going yellow?

It’s likely that the yellowing is caused by a lack of nitrogen or water. Nitrogen is needed for turfgrass to produce chlorophyll, which gives plants their green colour. Without enough nitrogen, the grass will start to turn yellow. Yellowing is also very common in the summer months when it is warm. Ensure that your new turf is adequately watered.

Why is my new turf spongy?

It’s likely that your new turf is spongy because it isn’t fully rooted yet. New turf takes time to root, so if you’re not careful it will easily be damaged. Be sure to keep the soil moist and avoid walking on the turf until it becomes more firmly rooted.


Author

Trevor Wright is not just a seasoned horticulturist; he’s the esteemed Garden Doctor. With a BSc in Horticulture and years of hands-on experience in the soil, Trevor has become a trusted mentor for all things gardening. As the founder of Garden Doctor, he’s committed to clarifying the intricacies of gardening, offering straightforward advice that’s rooted in years of practice. His writing is a garden of how-tos, savvy insights, and comprehensive guides that enable individuals to nurture and grow their garden dreams. When he’s not knee-deep in garden beds, Trevor is at his keyboard passing on his green-thumbed wisdom to budding gardeners, ensuring that the legacy of sustainable and joyful gardening blossoms far and wide.


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