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Advice on bare patch

Hello everyone, first post - go easy!
We have a garden with a magnificent magnolia tree at the bottom but a bare patch of land below (where we cleared a huge amount of overgrown rhododendrons away 2 years ago, you can see the remains of this in the border).

I am not sure what used to be there but there is a dip in the bare patch.

To make it look better would be as simple as buying some topsoil to fill in the dip and then lay turf or grass seed over this land to extend the lawn? It's full of stones/small rubble, is that a problem?

We also have a bit of a problem lawn. We can see from old Rightmove photographs that the garden used to be largely paved. We think the developer simply laid turf over large sections of this rather than remove the paving. As a result the lawn is in pretty poor condition across most of it, it is hard and quickly gets covered in moss, I assume this is where the topsoil is very thin. Is there anything we can do beyond taking up the lawn and taking up the paving below?

A good example of the issue we are facing is shown below, where we took up some old overgrown heather and you can see below that there is an old brick border, lots of small rubble, even old blue plastic sheeting and it looks like the surrounding lawn has just been laid on top of this... 

If anyone can help that would be great, we are terrible (and first time) gardeners!


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,133
    Hi @iainjsmith. Unfortunately, it will be tricky to get grass to establish grass under and near your lovely tree, as the tree will take up a lot of the available moisture. It's often difficult to establish much under trees, but it is possible with a little effort. Having said that - you could create a bed round the base of the tree, and fill it with spring bulbs. That's always a good idea and makes a lovely focal point for this time of year, starting with snowdrops and crocus, and continuing with small daffs etc. Those can be planted along with easy perennials like hardy geraniums, which will continue some colour. It's best to have a proper edging of some kind, to form a barrier to the grass. The ground will need a bit of attention first, and plenty of watering to get planting going, but you'll get advice on that should you go down that route.
    The other area might be ok with some topsoil and grass seed. Again- it'll need a bit of attention to prep it, and blend it into the existing grass, and it'll depend how much work you want to put it in. You may want to simply carry on the border from the tree along the fence, and plant climbers, or have another, fuller border, but only you can decide if that's how you want to go. It will need some oomph put back into the soil too, but it's possible with some effort. 
    The grass is a big project. The gravel on that path will have been laid on the plastic, but it probably isn't under most of the grass. I think you may need to look at digging all of that out, and removing the paving, but again - only you can decide whether you want to go down that route. Grass needs decent drainage, and decent sun to do well, and compacted shady areas will have moss. That can be spiked [aerated] but it's a choice between doing a remedial job, and fully renovating. It will depend on your budget and time, as well as obtaining materials at this time, which is difficult.
    Hope that's of some use.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Hi thank you so much for your advice it is really appreciated. Thanks for taking the time. I think we are going to put edging in then where the grass currently ends by the tree and turn the non-grass area into a bed like you have the suggested. We are going to do the best we can with a remedial job on the lawn - definitely don't have the equipment or money to start taking all the lawn up!
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