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Another New Build Garden Disaster...

NewToThis24NewToThis24 Buckshaw Village, LancashirePosts: 5
Hi Everyone,
Hope you’re all keeping safe and well! 

As the title suggests, we moved into a new build in June last year and have had nothing but problems with the back garden. It was turfed originally, but due to the lack of drainage (clay soil) it killed the grass. The developer installed 2 french drains and It was re-turfed at the end of September. The clay soil however still remains and is now causing problems again. Due to the huge amount of rain we’ve had this year, even though we stayed off the grass, it has died in a lot of places. It is just a mud bath in front of the shed. Knowing that we would never be able to have turf there, we’ve dug up in front of the shed to put gravel down and we have dug out an additional soakaway at the edge of the patio (these are the main problem areas) which we’ve tested with the hosepipe and it works great. That said, our turf near the shed and at the front is completely ruined. To dry the ground out we have forked it and spread sharp sand on there which (fingers crossed) seems to be drying it out. My question now is, what prep do I need to do to re-lay some turf in this area and how difficult is it to do? The clay soil is still underneath but we have no issue digging it up and putting in some decent top soil etc. 

Any ideas/advice/tips etc would be greatly welcome! 

Many Thanks
Viki



Posts

  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 9,638
    Hello and welcome to the forum Viki  :)
    I will tag @glasgowdan , but hopefully other lawn experts will be able to advise you. 
  • madpenguinmadpenguin Isle of WightPosts: 2,422
    Unless you really want it I would do away with grass altogether if it is going to be such a pain.
    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • NewToThis24NewToThis24 Buckshaw Village, LancashirePosts: 5
    Thanks madpenguin, but we do really want it. I'm happy to put the work in to get it right :)
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 9,266
    This spring has been exceptionally wet so hopefully you may well find that your lawn will begin to dry out soon in this sunny dry weather (if you have it!).
  • GreenbirdGreenbird Posts: 237
    I've had two new build houses with the same problem as you.

    In my experience, you have two options:

    - Dig out the clay, add soakaways/sumps, and fill with many tonnes of topsoil. It'll be an expensive job for a small patch of grass.

    - Gradually improve the soil each year with manure/mulching

    I took the second option and by year 3 or 4 my soil was good 
  • NewToThis24NewToThis24 Buckshaw Village, LancashirePosts: 5
    Greenbird said:
    I've had two new build houses with the same problem as you.

    In my experience, you have two options:

    - Dig out the clay, add soakaways/sumps, and fill with many tonnes of topsoil. It'll be an expensive job for a small patch of grass.

    - Gradually improve the soil each year with manure/mulching

    I took the second option and by year 3 or 4 my soil was good 
    Thanks Greenbird. The rest of the grass is growing fine as we have land drains/french drains (don't know the difference but the developer installed them) down teh middle of the garden, it is just the triangle piece that is having some issues, but I think that was because of the lack of drainage which we have now hopefully rectified with an additional soakaway and at the front (that's what the top soil is infront of the fence) 
  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 1,115
    If the drainage the developer has put in has been effective I would extend the work and tap into the drainage they put in. Even better have them do it if they are willing. 
  • NewToThis24NewToThis24 Buckshaw Village, LancashirePosts: 5
    If the drainage the developer has put in has been effective I would extend the work and tap into the drainage they put in. Even better have them do it if they are willing. 
    Sadly they have told us to go forth now, we've had a lot of problems with the house so in contact with the NHBC about it all, that's another story! 

    We dug the additional soakway at the front of the fence in the picture, which links to the land drains they developer installed and we have also dug the patch infront of the shed so it slopes down that way to hopefully start draining there. 

    My next and main concern, is how to prep the triangle area to either re-lay some turf or to sow some grass seed, not sure which is the best option. Happy to put the work in, as the drainage does seem to work in the other areas of the garden. I think part of the issue was my other half walking on it when he was digging up infront of our shed!
  • Dave HumbyDave Humby Posts: 1,115
    Yes a bit of patience is needed  :)

    The basic ground conditions and prep are everything. If you don't get them right you'll be forever chasing your tail. If you are happy you have the drainage in hand as far as is practically possible then you should be good to go. It's a little too early to sow seeds I would suggest. Turf is obviously instant but you still need to keep off it. 

    Look up some articles on ground prep. There are several videos on the main GW website that will tell you all you need to give you the best chance of success. Good luck.
  • NewToThis24NewToThis24 Buckshaw Village, LancashirePosts: 5
    Yes a bit of patience is needed  :)

    The basic ground conditions and prep are everything. If you don't get them right you'll be forever chasing your tail. If you are happy you have the drainage in hand as far as is practically possible then you should be good to go. It's a little too early to sow seeds I would suggest. Turf is obviously instant but you still need to keep off it. 

    Look up some articles on ground prep. There are several videos on the main GW website that will tell you all you need to give you the best chance of success. Good luck.
    That's great, thank you. I will spend some time looking at ground prep and see what I can do. This is our first home and garden, so keen to do as much as I can myself to set us up for future gardens! Thank you for your really helpful advice.

    Thanks
    Viki
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