Friday, 1 May 2009

To turf or not to turf.

We're sprucing up the house we've just moved from, so we can put it on the market, one of the jobs that we had designated to a pro was the garden.

Since the grass hadn't been cut since last October, it had grown long, bent over and made clumps all over the lawn. Unfortunately, the areas underneath the clumps had been starved of light, and the grass had died away, leaving random lumps and bumps...

...not to mention the size of the ant hills - which stood like mini volcanoes amongst the grass!

We decided to get some quotes for re turfing the lawn - that is, to take up all the old grass and top layer of soil, and replace it all with lovely new turf. After we had spoken to a few people, we received a quote to do 140m2, which we felt was way over what we expected, so we took the decision for me to do it myself. In the meanwhile, I cut the grass to see how bad the problem was.

The problem was, I found a turf website that could deliver all the turf for the job for 1/10 of the quote - and the machine to do the job was only cheap for 2 days - so onto the phone I went to organise the machine to be delivered.

After the turfing machine had been delivered, it took me a little while to figure out how to use it, adjust it and make it work for me, but luckily it didn't take very long at all! (I seem to have an affinity with anything with a petrol engine!)

I decided to do only the main part of the lawn, as the bank was too difficult to get the machine on, and anyway - it's not a well used area of grass.

It took me two afternoons (6 hours) to take the turf off the areas I wanted to, which I was very pleased about, as I had never used one of these machines before.

After all the turf was taken up, I had to order a skip, then another afternoon was spent moving all the old stuff into the skip.

Once everything had been cleared and raked to get the nasty stones and lumps out the way, I went round with my weed sprayer and attacked any weeds I could find.

The two tons of topsoil came the next day, and I set about wheelbarrowing the soil to the back garden.

The quote we received was for a group of men to work for about 3 days to re turf our garden...

...had I been able to work full days at the house I would have been able to do the job - on my own - in just 3 days!

I still have a small area to put top soil on before I order the actual turf, which I'll do today, but the really back breaking work is done now - so I'm happy!

While I was working, I found quite a few slow-worms. Most were small, but one was quite large.

I love snakes (never felt like owning one though!), and although I would never expect to actually see a snake in the wild over here in the UK, it was nice to at least be able to hold a slow-worm, and see it's little tongue darting in and out - tasting the air around it...

...I wonder what it thought of me!

(Jo caught me resting and having a drink after figuring out the turf machine)


Babycakes said...

Great slow worm pics! Get a little lizard, they're lvoely pets ;)

Stiggy said...


Nice idea BC, but we're not really ones for pets...

...and it would probably be me that ends up looking after it after the kids get bored of it.


Lottie said...

What a lovely home - would suit me right down to the ground - especially with an artist living up the road - who might need an allotment lady.

Looks like you have done a brilliant job on the lawn - you'll have to keep it watered though!

I reckon the grass would have grown once it got some light to it and a bit of food. But your new lawn will be gorgeous

Oh, and my sons used to keep snakes - garter snakes - which used to escape - and an Indian Rock Python - which grew and grew and grew - and I have some funny tales to tell about them!

Stiggy said...

Thanks Lottie - haven't seen you for a while - I tried to post on your blog but the comments have been stopped. :(

It's been a good learning experience with this lawn - I always thought of turfing as some mysterious skill that you had to learn from a hobbit in a cave - but it's actually quite simple!

Snakes - love em - but nice to hand them back!

You'll have to post them on your blog Lottie! (the stories)

stiggyblog said...

Wow, looks like a big job mate, I don't envy you!

However, there is nothing more satisfactory than getting a quote and then doing the job yourself knowing that you've saved quite an expense and learnt a new skill.

I'm forever hiring skips and getting stuck in :-)

Keep it up!!

Kind regards


Stiggy said...

Thanks Steve!

Yeah I enjoy learning new skills too - I want to learn welding soon, so I can make some mad vehicles for my boys!


thegardensmallholder said...

I do like slow worm, not seen one here yet though :(

Stiggy said...

Want me to send you one?