Garden Advice

When Is the Best Time to Lay Turf?

Spring is finally here! Many of us are thinking of preparing the garden for all those fun summer activities that are to come. If the thought of an instantly green lawn sounds appealing, laying real turf may just be the ideal option.

But wait! Stop and think before putting on your gardening gloves. Real turf requires certain conditions to settle properly and knowing when to lay turf can be the difference between a lush lawn and a barren garden.

Well then, when should you do it? The short answer is – technically, you can lay sod at any time of year. However, for best results, you should lay turf during autumn or early spring. Want to know why? Read on!

Table of Contents:

So, if you are:

  • Thinking of laying real turf in your garden;
  • Wondering when to lay turf;
  • Curious about what the ideal conditions for laying sod are,

Then this article will answer your questions!

When is the best time of year to lay turf?

Most commonly, gardeners lay new sod in autumn, with spring being the runner-up. This is with good reason, too, as these seasons provide the best conditions for your new lawn to establish its roots. While you can technically lay turf at any time of year, you should avoid summer and winter, as the weather can be too harsh for new grass to comfortably grow.

With that said, let’s start with…

The perfect conditions for laying real turf

Like any other plant, grass needs care and attention to grow and be healthy. For new turf to establish its roots well, you need to provide specific conditions.

The best time to lay turf will depend entirely on where you live. However, there are some rules that apply all around.

To promote strong root growth, the temperatures must be mild. If it’s too cold, the roots can freeze and die before they have time to establish. Too hot, and your new lawn can dry out and you’d have to start all over again. Mild, warm temperatures are the best time to lay new turf, as they encourage root growth and provide the ideal conditions for your grass to comfortably establish itself.

Apart from the weather, the level of soil moisture also plays a major role in how well new turf will grow.

Warm, damp soil promotes root growth. Make sure you water your lawn regularly, but don’t overdo it. Waterlogged soil will prevent the roots from growing in deep enough, making the grass easier to damage and adversely affecting the level of air circulation and nutrients it needs.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a lawn is best turfed at a time when foot traffic is as low as possible, at least for a few weeks. Walking on freshly laid sod too much can severely damage the underdeveloped roots, so you want to avoid it if possible.

To summarise, the three most important conditions your fresh turf needs are:

  • Mild, warm temperatures;
  • Warm, moist soil;
  • Low foot traffic.

Naturally, there are other aspects to consider, too, such as the type of soil you have and if it’s properly prepared. If you want to know more about getting your garden ready for turfing, check out this helpful post on how to level soil.

Now that we’ve covered the necessary conditions, let’s talk about the different seasons and establish the best time of year to lay turf.

Laying turf in spring

Spring is one of the best times to turf a lawn. During this season, plants naturally grow and flowers blossom. The soil in spring is just warming up, making it easy to work with and perfect for roots to grow. The temperature of the air and ground is not too hot or cold, meaning your grass won’t struggle.

If you make sure that the soil is moist enough, turf will easily establish. This should prove easy, as spring brings frequent showers, which means you’ll need less time, effort and money to maintain your lawn.

If you’re asking yourself “when can you walk on new turf”, try to keep off it for the first few weeks, as the roots will still need some time to settle safely.

So, overall, laying turf in spring is your best bet.

Laying turf in summer

While laying new sod in summer is, in fact, possible, the circumstances are far from perfect. The soil is often too hot and dries out a lot quicker. You would basically need to provide the grass with spring conditions for it to settle properly.

This requires frequent watering and using fertiliser to help it grow. If you decide to lay turf during summer, it’s crucial that you prepare the soil before the rolls arrive, as they will dry out fast if you leave them out.

So, it’s safe to say that summer is not the best time of year to lay turf, though you can do it if you really want to.

Keep in mind that plants slow down their root growth in summer. This means no walking on the lawn for the first 3-4 weeks. Give your grass enough time to establish safely so you don’t end up starting all over again.

Enjoy a beautiful lawn!

Entrust the turf laying to the pros.

Learn more

Enjoy a beautiful lawn!

Entrust the turf laying to the pros.

Learn more

Laying turf in autumn

Autumn is undoubtedly the best time to lay turf. All through September and the beginning of October are the recommended months. The conditions are ideal, as during this season plants grow their roots as deep and quick as possible, preparing for the winter months.

This makes for a strong, well-established lawn by spring and summer, allowing for all those fun outdoor activities we all love.

Just like in spring, the soil is just warm enough to help healthy roots settle. The frequent rain in autumn saves you some time and money, too, as you will not need to water the lawn as often. Grass blades also grow slower at this time, meaning you will need to do less mowing.

Overall, you can’t go wrong with laying real turf in autumn.

Can you lay turf in winter?

Winter is perhaps the most difficult time of year to lay turf. This season is way too harsh for the grass, which will grow very slowly. The cold weather makes frozen or waterlogged ground a risk, too, so it’s not ideal.

If you do decide to try and lay sod during winter, make sure this isn’t the case. Cold, wet soil is very difficult to work with and does not provide the conditions your grass needs to settle.

While turf will stay fresh longer in winter due to the cold, rolls that are left outside too long can freeze and get damaged. If you don’t fancy buying a whole new set, make sure the rolls are protected from the frost.

You mustn’t walk on your lawn at this time, as the turf will not have established its roots yet, making it prone to damage. If possible, just wait for early spring before rolling out the sod.

For more advice on when to take on various garden maintenance jobs, check out our UK gardening calendar!

Is your lawn in need of new turf?

Don’t worry! Fantastic Services can do that for you. We offer professional laying of real and artificial turf. The experts can clear your garden and lay the turf rolls neatly, making sure it has everything it needs to grow lush and healthy. We can even provide a maintenance service!

Enjoy the benefits of a fresh, green lawn with just a few clicks. No need to get your hands dirty – the professionals will handle all the hard work instead!

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  • The best time to lay turf is in either autumn or spring;
  • Laying sod in summer and winter is possible, but can be difficult and is not recommended;
  • The perfect conditions for laying real turf are mild, warm temperatures, moist soil, and low foot traffic;
  • With proper aftercare and maintenance, you can enjoy a fresh, green lawn all year.

So, you’ve decided to up your garden game and lay real turf. You’ve worked out all the details and you feel ready. But do you know how much turfing a lawn costs? Find out in our helpful article!


Did we miss anything? Do you have any turf laying tips? Share them with us in the comments below!

Image source: Shutterstock / Alexander Raths

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