How To Level Soil Before Laying Turf

Hi I’m Luke and I have been laying lawns for almost 20 years. I have seen the good, the bad and the downright ugly in this time and have written this blog to help you plan to have a successful lawn installation. I understand the importance of proper soil preparation before laying turf. Whether you’re establishing a new lawn or renovating an existing one, levelling the soil is a crucial step for achieving the best results. In this blog, I will guide you through the process of levelling soil before laying turf, ensuring a perfect foundation for your new lawn.

1. Asses the Existing Soil

Before you begin, it’s essential to assess the existing soil and determine if it provides a firm foundation for your lawn to grow in? Is it good quality soil? In most cases, especially in sandy regions like Perth, Western Australia, incorporating soil conditioner is recommended to improve the soil quality. One excellent soil conditioner is Lawn Concentrate from The Green Life Soil Co, well known for its exceptional quality and nutrient-rich composition. Incorporating around 100 -300 millimetres or more of this soil conditioner through tilling or rotary hoeing will enhance the soil’s structure and provide essential minerals and trace elements necessary for optimal lawn growth.

Asses the Existing Soil

They also have a pre mixed version called ‘Lawn Mix’ which you can just pour in without rotary hoeing. I have been using this soil for many years and it has always been of exceptional quality and given me good long term results far and above any other soil I have tried.

Set Up String Lines

2. Set Up String Lines

To level the soil, start by establishing string lines and setting your desired level, typically around 100 to 150 millimetres below the final desired height. Dig the soil to match the level of the string lines, ensuring uniformity across the lawn area. Keep in mind that the turf will typically be 20 to 40 millimetres thick, so adjust the depth of soil removal accordingly. Aim to have 20 to 40 millimetres free to accommodate the turf’s thickness. This means once all the soil is in you have left the levels down slightly to make room for the lawn. There is nothing worse than a very high lawn!

As you excavate and add soil, pay attention to the aesthetics of the lawn area. Take time to observe the lawn from different angles and ensure that it blends seamlessly with the surroundings. String lines can help you maintain accuracy and create a level surface for the turf installation. While working, check the level of the sprinklers and make sure they align with the final desired height of the lawn. Adjusting the sprinklers to the correct level ensures efficient watering once the turf is laid. Do the sprinkler levels just before you lay the lawn. It’s much harder to do afterwards! Aim to have them just slightly lower than the lawn once laid so that the lawn mower does not hit them but so they have enough room to pop up still and clear the lawn. Otherwise the sprays will get blocked. 

3. Secure Your Sprinkler System

Before installing the turf, it’s crucial to have a reliable irrigation system in place. Ensure that your sprinklers provide even coverage and that their height aligns with the level of the new lawn. Adequate irrigation is essential for the establishment and health of the turf. Water the area thoroughly before laying the turf, and consider applying a suitable lawn fertiliser according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

In addition to levelling the soil, consider factors like shade and sunlight exposure. Ensure that the lawn area receives enough sunlight based on the turf variety you’ve chosen. Trim any overhanging branches or adjust the layout to avoid shaded areas that could negatively impact the lawn’s health.

Secure Your Sprinkler System

Pay attention to the lawn edges and ensure they are properly prepared and cleared. Using a levelling tool or a board, make sure the edges are even and ready for the turf to be laid. Having clean and level edges will result in a professional finish and prevent tripping hazards.

Finally, a well-designed irrigation system is essential for maintaining the health and longevity of your lawn. Make sure your sprinklers provide head-to-head coverage, meaning that each sprinkler’s spray pattern overlaps with the adjacent sprinkler’s coverage. Use high-quality piping and ensure that components like solenoid boxes are at the correct level.

Install with Retic Renovation

Install with Retic Renovation

By following these steps and considering the important factors discussed, you’ll be on your way to creating a level surface and a perfect foundation for your new turf. Remember to use high-quality soil, pay attention to the irrigation system, and aim for an aesthetically pleasing result. Enjoy the satisfaction of a beautiful and thriving lawn, courtesy of Retic Renovation.

For reliable irrigation system repair, overhaul, or installation services, contact Retic Renovation today. Although we don’t offer free quotes, we provide consultations to assess your specific needs. Visit our website to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve the lawn of your dreams.

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Luke Porter | Install Sprinkler Heads

Luke Porter

The Director of Retic Renovation is passionate about beautiful healthy lawns and gardens.

I have over 17 years hands-on experience in both landscaping and reticulation service and I’m extremely competent in problem solving, repairs, installation, and product knowledge.