Improving lawn soil quality

My lawn soil is mostly clay which is soggy by winter and dry by summer.

I aerate the soil by forking, spiking and have holes 30 mm dia x 300mm deep filled with grit approx 300mm apart to try improve its quality and drainage etc. In the dry periods I use a sprinkler in the evening for an hour or so on the rear lawn. The rear lawn is a play area for the grandchildren and front lawns are not.

I have used chicken pellets sprinkled over the lawn after spiking etc to try help its quality in the Autumn and now.

Are the pellets the best option for the soil I have, not wanting to dig-in/re-lay etc the lawns.


  • Rik56Rik56 WiganPosts: 280
    Unless you do something fairly drastic your lawn will always be boggy in winter and dry in summer.
    The grit will help - but long term it wont fix it IMO - especially with kids trampling all over it.

    Chicken pellets on grass wont do much really - clay is quite fertile without them.

    Fixing it will require raising it (the whole lawn) or installing a drainage system.

    I've always been of the opinion that manicured lawns in domestic gardens are way too much work to even make them remotely healthy & attractive - take up far too much space in the garden - the tools (inc a mower) you need for 'em take up too much room in the tool shed and the labour they require could be better utilised elsewhere in the garden- they're not even great for wildlife.
    Gardening forums are full of cries for help to fix a poorly lawn - I'm sorry I just don't get it - grass is great for sports fields & parks.
    I appreciate this is not an opinion held by everyone and hopefully somebody may have better advice than me - suffice to say I have poor draining heavy soil similar to you - a lawn in my garden would be a total waste of time.
  • glasgowdanglasgowdan Posts: 630
    I'd consider a sump drain to minimise the worst of the puddling, then a few carefully-planned treatments through spring/summer.
  • fab_io18fab_io18 Posts: 1
    edited 15 February
    I’ve tried sump drains, spent thousands and they didn’t touch My heavy clay lawn. Two years ago I purchased agricultural gypsum and it has been i different story since.... on a lawn approx 140msquare I spread 5 x 25kg bags twice a year and brush it through the canopy... my neighbours even think it’s taking the water away from their lawns!!!!
  • Thanks all,
    fab_io18, I've read something of this some time ago and not seen alot of mention of it.

    At what time of the year do you apply your gypsum. ?
  • Greg4Greg4 Posts: 79
    I feel for you, my previous garden had same/similar problems. Thankfully I moved house and now have a free drawing soil.

    like you I tried much but it never really helped.

    i now have two lovely manicured lawns, and I don’t agree with previous comment, they are great for the wild like and ecology, they help to soak up lots of water, there’s plenty of life in a manicured lawn and they really set of the borders in a garden.

    The temperature on a lawn on a hot day is a good few degrees cooler than paved areas too.

    Yes lawns are hard work to keep well but it’s second nature for me and a labour of love.
  • Rik56Rik56 WiganPosts: 280
    Of course we can all have whatever we like in our own gardens - and long may that be the case..but the one aspect of horticulture I'll never grasp is that of a lawn..

  • I've read conflicting things on the forum of using 'Gypsum'.

    Some say only 'Agriculture Gypsum' must be used in the garden/lawn.
    And some say it OK to use 'Builders Gypsum'. ??  
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