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Help to get a better lawn for my kids to play



  • For that size area it might be more effort than worth to get a digger in - if you're not afraid of a little digging then definitely get in there with a fork (or spade if you can get it in). Dig out all the rubble as far down as you can be bothered, 6 inches will be fine if there is actually soil underneath, if it's just rubble all the way down you'll need to keep going. A few stones wont hurt as long as they're well distributed.  Just note that the more you dig out the more expensive it will be to replace - you might be ok with a lower level though, depends on the edges.

    Backfill with the best quality topsoil you can afford, I'd say you don't want too many organics (like compost or manure) at this stage as they can lead to uneven settlement - others might have a different opinion.  Fertilizing is better done afterwards during regular maintenance. You can mix in sand if you like but it might be a waste of time as you'll never add enough to really affect the drainage and hopefully you'll encourage worms underneath anyway.

    When you've spread the topsoil to appropriate level make sure to compact it fairly well - you don't want it like concrete but it needs to be evenly firm and as level as you can possibly.

    At that stage if you're good to go with either turf or a good quality seed (seed will be cheaper and in my opinion more fun to see it go from nothing to a lush lawn).

    It's going to be hard work in the current weather and I'd definitely advise against laying turf or seeding just yet unless you're really willing to keep up with the watering - otherwise as has been said you're just wasting money and time.  You can still get the prep done though and it'll be very rewarding next year when you've got a lush lawn for the kids to play on, which you've put in yourself and know it inside and out. 

    Any tips on how to improve the soil? I really don’t mind a bit of hard graft if the end result will be good.

    If I had to dig down about a foot to rid the old soil, stones and weeds. do I just fill it in with a foot of topsoil followed by the turf on the top. Or, do I put sand or anything else to improve the quality of the soil to nourish the lawn?

    To get on with it I could absolutely soak the garden over the next day! I’m off on holiday over the next 2 weeks

    why would I be best to take the fabric out if the reason it’s in is to suppress the weeds.

    Would a mini digger be expensive to hire?

  • s30avos30avo Posts: 31
    Thank you for a detailed reply I really really appreciate it.

    ”backfill with topsoil”? Do u mean? Dig down, get rid of most of the stones down to the muck, then put a bottom layer of top soil, a layer of minure, then more topsoil and press it down to get rid of the bumps and level it then turf it?

  • It really depends on what the ground is like underneath the rubble, you won't really know until you get digging.  I had an area like that and dug out lot lots of blocks, bricks and bits of concrete, they take up lots of volume unfortunately so to replace them you'll need lots of topsoil. 

    The problem with putting organics like manure or compost in at this stage is that as they rot down they'll collapse, leading to dips and hollows - at least in my opinion (as I said, others might think differently) - if you wanted to add manure probably better to mix it with the top most layer of topsoil you put down. 

    Really though I don't think grass really needs too fertile a soil to begin, you'll be fertilizing over time anyway (presumably). More important is getting the drainage right and getting (and keeping) the ground level to make mowing easy.
  • s30avos30avo Posts: 31
    Mate, I salute you! Thanks for spending the time to explain. I’ll burst my ass and dig it out! Try and get all the rocks and stuff out and fill it with soil!

    One last question! How do you know wither your buying good soil or duff stuff?
  • jamiec7919jamiec7919 Posts: 5
    edited July 2018
    That's a trick I'm still learning, maybe someone else can help out :)   Buy from a reputable source if you can, it really depends how much you need and how much you're willing to spend.  As long as it's not full of rubbish, bits of stick and big stones it'll probably be ok.

    Good luck and fingers crossed you won't find 3ft of rubble :) 

    Just as an edit, I just looked at a calculator and 5mx5mx30cm is a hell of a lot of topsoil needed, I'd suggest carefully planning before throwing away any soil that is there, you might find that it's more a case of loosening it, getting rid of the bigger stones and weeds and working the rest into an even layer (mixed with some fresh topsoil).  You'll never get rid of 100% of the weeds but you should be able to control any that come up (either spot spraying with glyphosphate or a weed-n-feed product) as long as you can get strong grass growth.
  • s30avos30avo Posts: 31
    Cheers for your help
  • s30avos30avo Posts: 31
    So I’ve started doing a small bit of digging today! It looks like a bottom layer of slabs, then gravel with stones through it and on top about a half inch of soil where the grass and weeds used to be! 

    Surely I can’t just dig it all out the old soil and stones till I hit the slabs then put topsoil over the slabs to get it level? Would that even work? Or will I have to get up all the old slabs underneath? That will be a bit of a nightmare!
  • s30avos30avo Posts: 31

  • s30avos30avo Posts: 31

  • s30avos30avo Posts: 31
    Panic over it’s only monoblock 
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