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Advice on laying new lawn, please!

Hi everyone,

Just joined the forum!

I need some advice on new lawns...some context about the area first:
• Previous lawn was destroyed by building work earlier this year and due to my absence with work travel, it's been only now that I can even think about getting it sorted;
• Slightly north-facing with some fairly shady areas, although the whole garden does get periods of sunlight throughout the day;
• Area is around 90-95m2;
• Soil is quite good, but with some clay-based patches and very stony throughout (I've mixed in some sharp sand into the areas with the most clay);
• Very close to a small river and with a high water table;
• Previous lawn had some moss, especially in the shaded area closer to the rear of the property;
• Previous lawn has been just been dug up entirely, the area rotovated, levelled and in the process of being trodden in (by me and someone we've had to help);
• I have children!

We're very keen to have a lawn this summer, if even for a few weeks, and so we want to have done something quite soon. We're also planning a couple of weeks of holiday in a week's time.

Now to the questions:
1. Turf or seed? :smiley: Balancing the need for speed & durability/effectiveness, of course.
2. Topsoil: how deep? what type?
3. What other preparation is required?
4. What care is required once either solution is in place?

For seed, if we are to enjoy a garden at all this summer, then we'll have to start ASAP and water, water, water...I was concocting a plan to install an automated system so that I could sow the seed and have the system water the area automatically while we're away. In fact, the same would apply for turf: does anyone have any experience of this?

Thank you for your help!


  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 28,018
    Hello richard.s.fort and welcome to the forum. It is too early to lay turf as this is best done mid Autumn and this is the more expensive option of the two. Seed can be used now and there are special mixes for shaded areas. As you have cleared and rotavated there is no need to think about adding topsoil. Rake and tread the soil surface as you have already started and sow your seeds. I really think that you would be wiser to wait until your return from holiday before you start this job though. With the vagaries of our climate it could be that we have rain, in which case your automatic system may just wash away or drown your germinating seeds. At least if you are home to keep your eye on things you would be more in control.
    p.s. mix the grass seed with silver sand so that you can see where you have been when sowing the seeds.
    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • Thanks for the advice!
  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 28,018
    @richard.s.fort You are most welcome.
    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
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