Biofilms are sessile communities of microbes that are spatially structured by an embedding matrix. Biofilm infections are notoriously intractable. This arises, in part, from changes in the bacterial phenotype that result from spatial structure. Understanding these interactions requires methods to control the spatial structure of biofilms. We present a method for growing biofilms from initiating cells whose positions are controlled with single-cell precision using laser trapping. The native growth, motility, and surface adhesion of positioned microbes are preserved, as we show for model organisms Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. We demonstrate that laser-trapping and placing bacteria on surfaces can reveal the effects of spatial structure on bacterial growth in early biofilm development.