Updated:April 11, 2022, by
3 Ways To Help You Remove Your Turf


When making the decision to replace your grass or turf with artificial grass, there are several steps that you need to consider before the process of laying your new grass installation can start. 

The first step you must take is to remove the current grass or turf that is established in the areas you are wanting your artificial grass installation. Although this sounds a simple enough task, in order to protect the ground underneath and any turf you are taking out, you need to ensure that removing your turf is done correctly. 

Here at Grass Direct, we want your new artificial grass to look the best it can be, so in this article, we have given you the best 3 ways for removing your turf, so you can make the process as easy and as smooth as possible and ensure your new lawn will look picture perfect!



Dig it out manually

The cheapest and most common way of removing turf from an outdoor space is to manually remove it using a spade and some hard work! As most households will already have a spade, this method is cost-effective and can be done immediately or at your leisure. But how do you do it?

  1. Firstly, if it has been relatively dry weather, you may want to water your lawn a day or two in advance of your planned digging. This will make it easier to cut and remove your turf.
  2. Line out the edges of your lawn using garden cane and string. This will help keep you from cutting into any grassy areas you are wanting to keep.
  3. Using the edge of the spade, cut out a square measuring approx. 10 x 10 inches. Insert your spade at a shallow angle and cut through the soil at about 1 inch deep until you reach the heel of the spade. You should aim to keep the spade as flat as possible, as this will ensure you remove the grass roots without cutting too deeply into the sod.
  4. Lift your piece of turf using the spade of your hands and depending on what you plan to do with it, place it grass side down out of the way.
  5. Repeat the process until you have removed all your desired turf.


It is important to remember that although this is a fairly quick and efficient way of removing a lawn or patch of turf, it can be labour intensive, so if you think you may struggle, try using one of our other methods below.


Smothering Method

One of the simplest and easiest ways to get your space prepared for the installation of artificial grass and remove your turf or grass is to “smother” it. This method is relatively 

cheap, requires minimal effort, but will take a long time to take effect. If you plan to use this technique, then you need to plan it at least two months in advance. 

Smothering is a time consuming process but can yield great results if you are worried about the depth of your lawn. You simply use a material to cover the required area. The materials can range from a light-excluding sheet and tarpaulin to newspaper or cardboard. 

If you choose to use a plastic sheet or tarpaulin, then make sure that you anchor the edges securely to avoid it getting blown away in the wind. 

If you are wanting to use more environmentally friendly materials such as cardboard, then you can cover it using compost, mulch, or grass clippings to keep it in place. 

This method works by depriving the turf of light and increasing the temperature underneath the material layer. This ultimately kills off the grass beneath it, leaving you with just the sod and a solid layer for your artificial grass installation.


Use a turf cutter

If you do not have the energy or resources to manually dig out your old grass and turf and do not have the time to wait for the grass to die using the smothering method, then you can always hire a turf cutter. 

This is a piece of equipment available from all good garden or tool equipment hire stores and can make removing your turf a quick and efficient process. 

It is designed to remove just the top surface layer of your lawn in strips, giving you a consistent depth that is ideal for the installation of artificial turf. All you must do is make sure that your grass has been cut short and all foreign objects have been removed. You can then adjust your cutting depth on the machine and move the turf cutter across the lawn to cut away your desired section. 

Although this is probably the best way to remove your turf, there are several things to bear in mind before hiring a turf cutter. This method will cost money and if you are already paying for artificial turf, finances may be an issue. The depth of your lawn must be at least 25mm deep for the turf cutter to work and it will not work if the ground is hard. So if you want to replace your lawn with artificial grass during Winter, then you may have to do it the old fashioned way! 


Artificial grass from Grass Direct

Here at Grass Direct, we pride ourselves on making your gardening simple. This includes finding the right product for you and being there when you need help.

As well as our DIY instructions on our website for installing your new artificial grass, we provide customer service via Facebook messenger, email, or phone, to make sure the installation process runs as efficiently and as quickly as possible, and to answer any questions you may have. Helping you to enjoy the benefits of your new garden with the minimum amount of fuss!

For all your artificial grass needs and enquiries, please contact us today by using our contact form on our website or call us on 03308 182 500 to speak to one of our friendly, expert advisors!