Having that perfectly flat, bowling green lawn is often the aspiration of many. If you’ve ever attempted to achieve this, you’ll know it’s far from easy. Lawns can quickly get out of control, and once you’ve got weeds and moss amongst the grass, it’s almost impossible to eradicate.
Completely replacing the lawn and having your garden re-turfed is often the best option. It’s relatively easy to do yourself if you don’t mind a bit of mud and hard graft. Alternatively, getting in a professional gardener isn’t as expensive as you might think, especially if your lawn is fairly small.
If you’re working on a tight budget, there are several ways to keep turfing costs down, even when you’re hiring professionals.
1. Keep the Lawn Area Small
This might sound a little obvious, but keep lawns small. If you’re worried about the cost of turfing a lawn, just reduce its size. There are many ways to do this. One of the simplest options is to shrink the overall area by increasing the flowerbeds. Alternatively, if a lawn rolls all the way up to your backdoor, consider putting down an area of gravel, decking or patio.
Having a slightly smaller lawn makes a lot of sense. Not only can you keep your re-turfing costs down, but you won’t have so much mowing either!
2. Avoid Difficult Shapes
If possible, try and keep your lawn’s shape as simple as possible. Squares and rectangles work very well. If you’d like a more organic shape, such as oval or circle, remember you’ll end up with a lot of discarded off-cuts.
But it’s not just the main lawn area you should consider when planning your new lawn. Any grassy side paths, passageways or strangely shaped patches will require extra turf. If you’re hiring a gardener to do the work for you, it’ll take them extra time to prepare and lay these areas, so try and remove them if possible.
3. Measure Carefully
One of the most common mistakes is to order too much grass and end up with a lot of excess turf that has to be thrown away. If you don’t measure correctly, you’ll end up paying for grass that ends up in the bin or on the compost heap. If you’ve decided to opt for a simple shape, such as a square, measuring and calculating the amount of turf you’ll need is relatively simple.
If you have a more organic shape, the process becomes harder. One of the simplest ways to calculate these areas is to add an imaginary box around the shape and use those measurements. However, doing this will result in discarded off-cuts.
If you’re considering hiring someone from a site like Quotatis, get the contractor to come in and measure up for you so any mistake is their responsibility and doesn’t affect your quote.
4. Buy in Bulk
Like most things, buying in bulk can really keep things cheap, so make sure you get all your grass in one go, rather than doing a little at a time. This method really pays off if you’re re-turfing both a backyard and your front garden at the same time, for example.
5. Choose a Standard Grade Turf
Though you might not think it, there are different turf products available. For most gardens, you can get away with a standard grass which costs around £160 to cover 50m². However, if your garden’s in shade, you’ll need a better grass capable of dealing with the lower light levels.
The average price for this, again for a 50m² area, is about £340. Finally, if you’re looking for a golf course or tennis court finish, a premium product will set you back around £370.
Costs are obviously higher if you’re getting someone else to do the work. The average cost to turf a 50m² area is between £700 and £900, and it’s likely to be higher in London. This includes adding a little top soil, levelling out, and laying, but further adjustments may be needed depending on the grade of grass you’re using and whether there’s more extensive groundwork to do.
6. Do it yourself
Finally, one of the easiest ways to keep the costs of a re-turfing project down is to do the work yourself. Laying grass is actually very simple, and is much the same as laying carpet in that all you have to do is roll out the strips of turf, butt them together firmly and then trim off anything that overhangs the desired lawn shape.
The hard part is preparing your lawn to be turfed. Not only do you need to scrape away the existing lawn, but you’ll have to remove all stones and soil clods from the area too. You also have to compact the soil into a perfectly flat and stable foundation, and this often requires a roller which may need to be hired.
For small gardens, it’s perfectly reasonable to do the work yourself, but it can be hard to get a consistent finish in larger areas so hiring professionals is wise unless you’ve got prior experience.