A lawn is a key part of the garden for many people and laying turf is the quickest way to create an area your family can use.
But how much does turf cost and how expensive is it to have laid?
The average cost for a gardener to supply, prepare and lay turf is £800 – £1,000 for an average 50m² lawn. Depending on the work that needs doing in terms of preparation and laying, you can expect it to take 2-3 days.
In this article, I’ll break down the individual costs so you know what you can personally roughly expect to pay to have the job done for a garden of your size.
However, depending on the job, the cost can escalate so I’ll cover everything you need to consider before hiring a gardener.
I’ll also show you ways you can reduce the cost of having your garden turfed.
For the sake of simplicity, I’ll base my calculations on a lawn of an average-sized lawn of 50m².
How Much Does Turf Cost?
|Type of Turf||Approx. Cost (50m2)|
|Budget||£100 – £150|
|Hard-Wearing||£200 – £250|
|Premium||£200 – £250|
|Shady||£250 – £300|
|Ornamental||£350 – £400|
|Wildflower||£750 – £1,000|
Turf prices are typically calculated by square metre and vary wildly depending on the type you choose, the quality and where you get it from. Understanding which is the best turf for you and your garden will help your gardener figure out the cost more accurately.
Let’s look at the different types of turf individually.
The cheapest turf is a good choice if you’re on a budget, or if you just need a soft surface for the kids to play on.
You can buy it for £2-£3 per square meter.
That said, when it comes to turf, you really do get what you pay for. I personally don’t buy cheap turf.
If you have a busy family that uses the lawn regularly, you’d be better spending a little more on hard-wearing turf.
And just because turf is hard-wearing doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful. Some include grass types which look fantastic.
Expect to pay £4 – £5 per square meter.
An excellent choice for lawns that receive moderate use.
Premium turf generally has a blend of Ryegrass and Fescues which create a superb look while still being able to cope with moderate wear and tear.
Again, expect to pay £4 – £5 per square meter.
Shady Lawn Turf
For lawns that get covered in shade cast by building and/or trees, shady lawn turf is really your only option if you want it to stay looking nice.
This type is often very dense, looks incredible and feels very luxurious.
This can cost between £5 – £6 per square meter.
For experienced lawnwmiths looking for a bowling green of a lawn, ornamental turf is the way to go.
Costing around £7 – £8 per square meter, ornamental turf is expensive and takes much more looking after than other types. Only choose this type if you have the budget, time, knowledge and equipment to look after.
If you want to create something a little different, wildflower turf will grow to create a meadow-like area full of native wildflowers and grasses.
This is a brilliant option if you want to attract wildlife and pollinating insects like bees into your garden.
However, wildflower turf is expensive at around £15 – £20 a square meter.
On top of that, there’s quite a bit of planning involved wildflower turf, which adds to the cost.
What Do Gardeners Charge For Laying Turf?
Labour cost will make up the majority of whatever you spend.
Landscape gardeners typically charge between £150 – £200 a day for their services. Some might work with a labourer so you can add another £100 per day. So labour costs can amount to around £250 – £300 a day.
The amount of work that needs to be carried out in terms of preparation will dictate how many days it’ll take.
- Removing the old turf
- Rotavating the soil
- Removing any stones, roots or rubble
- Digging in organic matter or soil improver if it’s need
- Adding topsoil if it’s needed
- Levelling and firming the soil
- Applying a pre-turfing fertiliser, and finally,
- Laying the turf
Ordinarily, you could expect the whole job to take 2-3 days at a cost of £750 – £900 for the labour.
Other Costs You Need to Consider
It would be ideal if the turf and the labour were the only costs you need to cover. However, there might be times when you’ll incur other costs.
The state of your garden could have a significant impact on the overall cost of labour.
For example, a bumpy, uneven lawn packed full of weeds, nettles and debris will take a lot more work to prepare.
It means strimming the big stuff, clearing the area and applying a weed killer before they can even start to remove the old turf.
This could add another day’s labour to the cost. On top of that, your gardener would need to do this a week or two before starting to remove the existing lawn.
If you have a lot of old turf to dispose of, or if you’re removing paving or decking to make way for your new lawn, you’ll need to dispose of it.
In which case you might need to hire a skip which could add between £150 – £300 to the overall cost.
If the area you plan to cover with turf is very uneven or full of poor quality soil, you might need to add more topsoil.
Additional topsoil can add an extra £1,000 – £1,200 to the job.
If you’re laying wildflower turf, you’ll need to remove the top 20cm of topsoil from the area. This is because wildflowers grow best in nutrient-deficient soil. Ordinary topsoil is often too rich in nutrients.
If this is the case, you’ll need to dispose of it, so refer to the cost of skip hire.
Five Ways to Reduce the Cost of Laying Turf
Let’s face it, paying a gardener to lay turf isn’t cheap. So what can you do to reduce the overall cost?
Well, there are five things you can do;
1. Get Multiple Quotes
Different tradesmen can charge wildly different prices. As such, you should definitely get more than one quote.
I’ve seen people save as much as 40% by getting multiple quotes.
On this page, you’ll see a red button which says, ‘Post Your Job’. Click on that and fill in the form to get multiple quotes.
It’s quick and easy to do;
- You post your job and explain what you need doing
- Up to three landscape gardeners will provide you with a quote
- Review their prices and feedback before choosing the gardener you like best
It’s as simple as that!
2. Negotiate on Price
Negotiating on price sometimes works, sometimes not.
It very much depends on your skill as a negotiator but it’s definitely worth trying, especially if you’ve got a big job.
Again, I’ve seen people save 5% – 10% by negotiating.
3. Do the ‘Unskilled Labour’ Yourself
If the area where you want your new lawn to be needs clearing, you can do that yourself.
For example, you could;
- Lift and remove old paving
- Dismantle old decking
- Kill and clear any weeds
- Dig up any old turf
- Clear any debris
None of these jobs requires any real skill, it’s just labour. This could save you at least a day’s labour costs.
4. Source the Materials Yourself
Some gardeners might add a bit extra onto the cost of the materials for dealing with the sourcing of them on your behalf.
By sourcing the materials yourself, you remove that cost.
Also, by shopping around for the materials yourself, you’ll get the chance to compare products and their prices. This means you buy the exact turf you want instead of getting what you’re given by your gardener.
5. Avoid Intricately Shaped Lawns
Intricately shaped lawns add to the cost, both in terms of material wastage and the extra time it takes a gardener to lay the turf.
By keeping the shape of your lawn simple, you’ll reduce these costs.
Frequently Asked Questions
When’s the Best Time of Year to Lay Turf?
You can lay turf (or have a landscape gardener do it for you) at any time of the year. That said, some seasons are better than others;
Autumn – The best time of year for laying turf. The soil is warm, and there’s plenty of sun and rain so conditions for growth are at their best.
Winter – You can lay turf in winter as rainy conditions will help it bed in. However, heavy rain can quickly turn your prepared ground into a muddy bog. So try and time it well and have the job done when it’s dry. Avoid frosty conditions too as the stress could kill the grass.
Spring – Another good time for turfing. There’s plenty of sun and rain to encourage growth. The ground will still be cold from winter so expect it to take a little longer for the roots to establish. Be careful to make sure the kids don’t run around on it too soon.
Summer – If you can water your new lawn regularly enough then technically, you can lay turf in the summer.
That said, the chances of it drying out in the hot sun are high so it’s best to avoid summer and hang on until autumn.
For more information, have a read of read our article, The Best Time to Lay Turf.
How Often Should I Water a Newly Turfed Lawn?
It’s incredibly important to water new turf regularly, at least once a day. Depending on the weather, you might need to water 2, even 3 times a day.
The idea is to get the grass to root deeply so water enough to get the top 10cm of the soil underneath the turf wet. You can lift a corner of turf to check.
Don’t just rely on rain to do this, always check the soil underneath.
It’s OK to have puddles on top of the turf, it’ll soon soak in. That said, try not to have it constantly waterlogged.
It’s best to water in the mornings and/or the evenings as there’s less chance of it evaporating in the heat of the day. This means it’ll go into the ground where it’s needed instead of up in the air.
You’ll get a feel for how much you need to water within a few days.
For more information on watering your new lawn, Turf Online has some good advice.
Why Are There Mushrooms in My New Lawn?
Many people freak out when they see mushrooms growing in their newly laid lawns, especially after watering.
However, they’re a sign of healthy turf so you shouldn’t worry. All healthy turf has fungi in it, some of which produce mushrooms.
The harvesting, transporting and relaying of turf can cause the fungi to flower i.e. grow mushrooms.
You can deal with them in one of two ways;
- You can leave them – They usually disappear in a few days, or
- Pick them out – just make sure you wear gloves as mushrooms can be poisonous.
For more information, read this article from Rolawn.
When Should I Cut the Grass For the First Time?
You should leave your lawn for at least 3 weeks to develop new roots and establish itself on the soil.
Give the grass the ‘tug test’ first. If it lifts up from the soil then wait another week and try again.
If the turf stays firmly in place, go ahead and mow it.
Make sure your blades are sharp and keep your mower on a high setting. Don’t cut off too much as you’ll stress the grass.
How Soon Can I Use My New Lawn?
Generally, the longer you leave it, the better.
Try to leave it at least 4 (ideally 6) weeks and cut the grass a few times before letting the kids loose on it. This will encourage deeper rooting and stronger grass.
When Should I Feed My New Lawn?
Ideally, your gardener will have applied a pre-turfing fertiliser to the soil before laying the turf. In which case, wait for at least six weeks.
If not, your new grass will be grateful of the nutrients. Wait for 10 days and apply a seasonal lawn feed.
Get a Quote
Fill in the form below to get quotes from local gardeners to turf your new lawn;