How much does turf cost?
The laying turf costs in this article are correct as of 2020
We all want to make the most of our outdoor space, and for many of us, that means having an immaculate lawn worthy of any bowling green. If yours has become waterlogged, weed-choked or dried out, bringing it back to health can be a real challenge, but laying new turf can immediately reinvigorate your garden. We’ve broken down the cost of laying turf so you know what to expect before you invest.
Turf installation prices are usually worked out by the size of the lawn being installed. Landscapers or gardeners will usually refer to cost of turf per m2, or the average cost of turf per square metre. This is the best baseline to work out the price of a new lawn and will change based mainly on the quality of the turf you want in your garden, though there are other factors that can affect the final price.
Budget garden turf
The cheapest garden turf can start at around £2 to £3 per m2. This is a good choice if you’re working on a budget and simply want to install a lawn without any frills. If the lawn is not a focal point of the garden, or if you know the lawn will face rough treatment from either pets or football-mad kids, then this can be the best option.
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Mid-range garden turf
Higher grades of turf can cost around £5 per m2. For this, you can expect a better quality of turf, which should provide better, neater coverage and last a long time with good maintenance.
Premium garden turf
At the top end, turf can cost £7 per m2 or more - for this, as you would expect, the turf should be extremely high quality with an excellent, professional finish, worthy of any sports field or bowling green.
How much do gardeners charge to lay turf?
Labour costs are a key factor of installing a new lawn, and can cost as much as the actual lawn itself. A landscape gardener can charge around £150 to £200 a day for their services, which can be enough time to lay a small lawn, but larger projects can take several days. Laying a new lawn can often take a considerable amount of preparation before the new lawn is actually laid.
For a standard turf laying job to a medium sized garden (around 20m square) you can expect to pay between £450 and £540 including the turf and the labour.
Additional costs to consider
Complications that can add to the overall cost of the project include taking up and removing old turf, or even old paving or decking if it is being replaced. This might require skip hire, which can cost between £150 and £300. If the area being covered is uneven or has poor quality soil, you will need to add more top soil for the new turf to bed into - this will cost around £30 per m2.
If access to the garden is poor or significant work needs to be done to level the ground, this will all take longer and include extra costs.
Care and maintenance
There’s nothing quite like a real turf lawn. Natural grass with healthy soil underneath can be a haven for worms and other creepy-crawlies, helping birds, hedgehogs and other wildlife to thrive in your garden, and while you might find mowing it regularly throughout the summer to be a chore, the pleasant smell of freshly cut grass is its own reward. Real turf also allows water to naturally soak into it, protecting your garden from a build-up of standing water which can cause long-term problems for your home.
However, as with many parts of our home, a lawn has to be well-maintained to keep it at its best. Mowing, watering, fertilising or treating your lawn are all things that you’ll likely have to do at some point.
When should I cut my new lawn?
New turf has been collected from where it was previously growing, and is in a fairly sensitive condition after it has been implanted in your garden. It will typically take a few weeks to bed in and form new roots into the topsoil of your garden, after which it becomes properly established and you can begin to treat it normally. A first mowing can usually be done between two to four weeks after it has been laid - check first that the grass had bedded in by pulling at the grass and checking that the turf doesn’t lift up - if it does, keep waiting until it has properly grown in. When you do mow it, use a mower with sharp blades, at the highest setting, to just take the very top off.
How often should I water my new garden?
In the first few weeks, you should water it at least once a day while it beds in. It is important to encourage the roots to grow and keep the turf healthy. However, watch out for over-watering - it should never turn into a bog. If you see standing water collect on top of the lawn, wait a day for it to sink in.
How do I prevent garden turf diseases?
Most people use lawn food before it is laid to help it get established - if so, treat the lawn with a good quality fertiliser after around six weeks. Use a product that is designed for your kind of lawn and soil condition, and for the appropriate time of year.
How long does turf last?
There is no real limit to how long a well-maintained lawn will last. Grass is a naturally hardy plant that has adapted to survive in all sorts of conditions and weather the toughest climates - even the British weather. If you help maintain your lawn with regular moving, watering, and fertiliser, it will last indefinitely without any need to replace the turf.
Combined with a new patio or decking, a new lawn is the perfect way to revitalise a tired garden and add some landscaping flair to your outdoor space. If the idea of lawn maintenance feels like a burden, you can always consider an artificial lawn instead.