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Sowing a new Lawn

Sven416Sven416 Posts: 6
Hi guys,

I've joined for a specific question; I moved into a new house a couple of years ago which the back garden was covered in a weed suppressant blanket and gravel/shale. I have since removed this and rotorvated and mixed in possibly 1/2 tonne of topsoil already to ensure that the soil wasn't compacted from however many years the previous owner had the garden like this.(I have approx 300 sq feet of space).

This year I plan on raising a pair of goslings and so I won't be sowing traditional lawn grass but rather a meadow grass including a mixture of red and white clovers and fescue. (traditional lawn grass wouldn't include the nutrients they will need)

I am entirely inexperienced gardening but I do need something for them to graze on as I really don't want to have to bring them up on pellets alone but I am confused about details I have read regarding the depth of topsoil necessary to establish a lawn.

Many articles I have read say that I will require approximately 1 inch depth of topsoil to have a lawn establish well and my question is, does this depth include the ground that I have already prepared? or would this be the depth required by buying new topsoil and spreading it from bags? I know i'm cutting it close with regards to sowing seed in time this year but I feel the ground is ALMOST prepared and I want to make sure I get it right.

Because i'm sowing an A-Typical seed many of the articles aren't taking that into account and presume i'm sowing something to look nice rather than be utilitarian - I wasn't sure if that would change how I needed to do things or if this "hardier" grass would still grow just as well in a thinner layer or poorer soil?

Advice appreciated.


  • Sven416Sven416 Posts: 6
    So here's the most recent state of the lawn I have but everything now has been dug over and raked of pebbles etc and covered in topsoil like the top third shows here
  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286
    I've done both ornamental lawns and wildlife gardens.

    For an ornamental lawn it takes some time after breaking and preparing the soil for it all to settle down and make it possible to level, usually several months, though one can roll it, ideally it is left to settle for quite a time before final leveling.

    The flip side, for your purpose I don't see you need to really follow the advice for making a lawn just now. It is much more like planting a wildlife meadow and one does not need a huge amount of topsoil. It may be better to go for low nutrient to discourage weeds.

    I would go ahead as you are for utility purposes, I think it will work out fine. If in the future you were to want a perfect lawn, some of the preparation has been done and the ground will have settled over time.
  • Sven416Sven416 Posts: 6
    Thanks Gemma, i've never sown a lawn before and all the stories i've heard that it's much easier to do with turf had me wondering if I would even be successful; My goslings/Geese will probably eat any weeds too so I haven't been quite as fastidious about removing weeds or accidentally introducing them as I would if I were looking for an ornamental lawn. How long approximately would you say I have left to get the seed down? 1-2 weeks?
  • GemmaJFGemmaJF Posts: 2,286
    I'm not too fussy with timing to be honest. Traditionally there are two distinct windows for sowing lawn grass. These days the mixes are not all that sensitive to sowing time.

    In your case I would not rush. Wait until after the last frosts and allow the soil to warm a little. This will give you good germination of the seeds. Warm soil, plenty of watering is the way I would go.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,129
    I don't want to rain on your parade @Sven416, but do you have permission to keep goslings?
    It doesn't look like you're in the middle of nowhere, so I hope you've checked the rules and regs with your local council.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Sven416Sven416 Posts: 6
    DEFRA only needs you to register them if you keep a flock of 50 or more; Also, plenty of people with chickens around our estate too.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,129
    That's fair enough @Sven416 :)
    It's just that I've seen this sort of thing happen before, and I would hate for you to get them, only to find out you can't then keep them.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Sven416Sven416 Posts: 6
    Nah, thanks for the heads up; I can imagine some people wouldn't have thought about it but i've been doing my research for the past 2 years.
  • Sven416Sven416 Posts: 6
    My grass seems to be growing well approximately a week after sowing but it still looks a little patchy in places; Should I wait for more to grow out or should I throw down some extra seed in the less dense areas?

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