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In this article

  • How to prepare your soil before installing new lawn
  • Different types of lawn varieties
  • How to lay your turf

Planning to install new lawn on your property? Before laying down turf, follow these helpful tips to reduce the amount of water your lawn needs. This will save you essential time and money each year.

It all starts with good preparation

Preparation is the key to establishing a strong and healthy foundation for your lawn. Always prepare and amend the soil before planting, to ensure a healthy base for growth and keep it water efficient.

7 steps for successful turf planting

The best time of the year to lay lawn is in late autumn and early spring. The ground temperature is still warm but cooler nights create more moisture in the air.

Follow these 7 simple steps to get your lawn off to the best start. If you need help choosing the right lawn, take a look at our lawn recommendations further below.

1. Prepare your lawn area

The first step is to clear your site by removing weeds, grass, rocks, sticks and tree roots. Level the area with the back of a rake or levelling board to create a smooth and consistent surface approximately 30-50mm below the level of paths and driveways.

2. Understand your soil

WA soils can be very sandy. Lawn failures are often caused by poor soil conditions under the roots. Once you’ve cleared the area, there are three simple options for soil improvement depending on the sand covering the area:

  • For grey sands, remove the top 100–150mm and replace with a quality 70% red or yellow sand and 30% organic blend.
  • If already on yellow sands in new development areas, simply incorporate organics (such as animal manures, and biowaste products) through the top 100–150mm of the sand.
  • For the Swan Coastal plain in an older area, cultivate the soil by incorporating a loam soil mixture, which is made up of organic matter, sand, silt and clay. Work this into a depth of at least 100–150mm and up to 300mm.

3. Test your soil

The pH level affects how easily minerals and nutrients can be absorbed into the soil. These minerals and nutrients support plant growth, so a pH test is essential prior to laying your lawn. The ideal soil pH for most grasses is fairly neutral at 6 - 7.5 pH.

You can correct your pH for acidic soils by applying dolomite, which contains magnesium, an essential mineral deficient in WA soils. If your soil is too alkaline, you can correct this by applying plain elemental sulphur.

4. Choose a quality irrigation system

Install the most appropriate irrigation design to ensure efficiency. It’s important your watering efforts are reaching the right part of your lawn. A waterwise irrigation specialist can provide expert advice and help with design and install a system for you.

5. Lay your grass

Roll out your turf along the longest straight edge, for example a driveway, butting the edges tightly together without stretching the turf or overlapping. Stagger the joints like brickwork and use a sharp knife to cut the turf where required.

If you’re installing turf on a sloped surface, place the turf along the slope, not down the slope and peg or stake the turf where required to keep it in place.

Once laid, use a roller to encourage soil to turf contact, apply a slow release fertiliser and water thoroughly. Reapply a light feed of organic fertiliser 14 days after installation.

Female landscaper holding turf for new lawn

6. Watering

Your turf will start to have shallow roots in about two weeks, so it’s important your grass is watered three times a day for the first week, with a gradual reduction of water application over a period of weeks.

There are strict watering restrictions in place across WA to ensure we use water wisely. You'll need an approved exemption in order to water your new lawn.

7. Mowing

Lightly mow your new lawn once you’re certain the roots have taken hold. In summer this is usually within 10-14 days of laying your grass. In winter it may take 14–21 days.


Lawn options

When choosing lawn, look for a warm season grass to save time on watering and maintenance. The following lawn varieties are drought tolerant and suitable for WA's warm conditions:

Buffalo Couch Kikuyu Queensland Blue Zoysia
Leaf type Soft,
broad leaf
 Soft Soft  Soft Soft
Low to


to high 
Moderate  Low to
Direct sunlight
per day
Min 4 hours Min 4-5 hours  Min 5-6 hours  Min 5-6 hours Min 5-6 hours
Invasiveness Low to
Moderate  High  Low  Low to
Irritant level Non-irritant  Non-irritant Low   Non-irritant Non-irritant
Yes Yes  Yes  No  No
Yes Yes  Yes  Yes  Yes 

Mow every 7-10 days
at a height of 15-20mm

Mow every 10-14 days
at a height of 10-12mm 
Mow every 10-14 days
at a height of 12-16mm 
Mow every 10-14 days
at a height of 10-13mm
Mow every 14-21 days
at a height of 15-20mm 


Mow every 3-5 weeks
at a height of 15-20mm 

Mow every 3-5 weeks
at a height of 12-16mm
Mow every 3-5 weeks
at a height of 16-20mm
Mow every 4-5 weeks
at a height of 14-16mm
Mow every 3-5 weeks
at a height of 15-20mm

Need further advice?

For a little helping hand on establishing your new lawn, visit the Turf Growers of WA website

Waterwise product advice

Preparing your soil with wetting agents and slow release fertiliser prior to establishing your lawn will help you use water efficiently. Together with Australia’s water conservation label, Smart Approved WaterMark, our Waterwise Product endorsement program makes it easy for you to identify water saving products.

Look out for the Waterwise logo when shopping for Waterwise Products at your local garden centre, or browse recommended products on the Smart Approved WaterMark website.