Plants, Turf, and Irrigation

Once the ground surface materials have been installed, it’s time for softscaping! Also known as…time to put down the topsoil and install plants and turf, along with a proper irrigation system to keep them happy and healthy.

Finish Grading and Irrigation

The topsoil is taken from its pile and spread evenly over all the areas that will be covered with turf or planted areas. Finish grading, or fine grading, happens after the topsoil is laid, smoothing out uneven areas and achieving the final grades according to the construction drawings.


Former gravel field at Laura Secord Elementary School, Vancouver (Image: Jonathan Losee Ltd. Landscape Architecture)


The field is regraded, irrigation structures are added, and topsoil is laid down (Image: Jonathan Losee Ltd. Landscape Architecture)

The valves, boxes, and heads for the irrigation system can be installed at this point, or you can wait until after the turf is installed. If irrigation is installed first, there is a risk of damaging it during turf installation, but it can be used to irrigate the turf immediately as you lay it. If you install the irrigation system after the turf, prepare to use a sprinkler system so the turf doesn’t dry out.


The new grass field and adjacent planting is irrigated by embedded sprinkler heads (Image: Jonathan Losee Ltd. Landscape Architecture)


Plants are saved until the end of construction. This way, you can be sure they won’t be trampled or damaged by construction activity. Plant installation should begin with trees, shrubs, and other large plants in areas that are hard to access, followed by smaller trees and shrubs, and finally ground cover and edge plantings.

Young trees benefit from being stabilized by tying them to stakes. They will become more stable after they are established and their roots have spread. Planted areas should be watered and mulched after each group is planted.

If plants or turf will not be installed right away after arriving at the construction site, they should be stored in an environment they can tolerate. If it’s hot and sunny, it’s best to keep them in the shade so they won’t be scorched or dry out.

Trees are planted at Folly Forest (Image: ADD NAME)

Trees are planted at Folly Forest (Image: Straub Thurmayr Landscape Architects and Urban Designers )