When you are investing in a new lawn from turf, you want to protect your investment by making sure that it’s laid on the best possible soil. Remember, turf isn’t like a pot plant. You can’t refresh the soil every spring or put it into a bigger pot. The soil you install it onto is the soil it stays on. Forever.


What sort of soil do lawn grasses like?

When it comes to soil, all plants have their own preferences. Some like acidic soil, some prefer alkaline. The ideal pH for grass is 5.5 so very slightly acidic. But in all honesty – grass isn’t all that fussy. It will cope with pretty much anything.

Drainage is more important to turf grasses than pH will ever be. If your garden soil is boggy and wet, the plants will effectively drown. If it’s very sandy, the plants will struggle to get enough water and nutrients.

The very best soil for growing a utility lawn has a good mixture of sand for drainage and loam for water retention. It will have plenty of organic matter in it – this is important for nurturing the soil microbes and minibeasts that will actually help your lawn to grow.

Golf greens and bowling greens are different, they need specialist rootzones to get the playing surface just right….they’re also high maintenance and needs lots of feeding, watering and disease control to keep the grass alive. That’s not really what you need in a family lawn.


Is my garden soil suitable for turfing?

Ask yourself these questions? Does rainwater drain away very quickly?

If yes, you probably have sandy soil. You’d be wise to dig in lots of loamy soil before laying your turf.

Does the soil stick to your boots when it’s damp?

Yes? You probably have quite a lot of clay in your soil. Clay is super at holding water and plant nutrients but it can bake hard in the summer and it can hold too much water in the winter. Adding organic matter will help

Can you squish a handful of the soil into a ball that is easily crumbled up again?

Congratulations! Your soil is a great texture for turfing.

Are there lots of earthworms in your garden?

Congratulations again! Your garden soil is in good heart.

Can you dig down at least 15 cm (preferably more) before you reach subsoil?

No? You need deeper soil that that for turfing. Best to top it up with some good topsoil from a reputable supplier.


Where can I buy good turfing topsoil?

Harrowden Turf Ltd are the biggest turf supplier in the UK. Their Sales Manager, Chris Carr has been working for the Company for over 20 years and he’s seen a lot of different lawns.

“In my opinion, the very best soil for turfing is this organic loam available from soilonline.co.uk” says Chris. “It’s virtually stone-free, is ram-packed with organic matter, has just the right water-holding properties and is nutrient rich. It’s got the lot!”

To order turfing topsoil click HERE


Further reading

Know your soil type

The pros and cons of sandy soil

Clay soil