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Laying a new lawn

I'm redoing my garden layout, new paths, beds and a new lawn. Beds are done and I'm about to start work on paths and lawn. The lawn is going to be extended slightly and its height is going to be raised. I have a horribly unkempt and weed(dandelions mainly)infested lawn already and was just intending to weed kill this, put some top soil on top and lay my new turf on top of this. Can I do this as the alternative of digging up the old lawn wil mean more work and skips having to be hired.


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,520
    Not the best time of year.
    Weedkiller needs weeds that are actively growing for it to be effective, so it's a bit late for that.  You then need to leave it for about five or six weeks before doing anything else. 
    You could do the prep, hope the weedkiller works well enough, add soil, and then cover it and wait till spring. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • I have had patios and a path put in which means I need to raise the lawn areas. I don't want to have to strip out the old lawn. My builder has suggested it would be a good idea to spray the old lawn with a heavy duty weedkiller, then lay a weed barrier or membrane over the old lawn, before putting a layer of topsoil on for the new turf.

    Is this method recommended, and if so, is it true that the new turf can't be laid until the Spring? What do the experts say about this, please?
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,520
    A builder. I don't think I'd be following their tips about laying turf.  :)
    Just wait until spring.
    Weedkiller is unlikely to work properly now, as already explained, and even if it does, you'd be looking at the end of the year at least to lay turf which is hopeless, so it would be much later before you could do that. Meanwhile - you're looking at an expanse of mud. 
    If you don't do the prep properly, you'll get the kind of lawn that builders put down. The forum is filled every year with the inevitable consequences.  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 3,058
    edited November 2020
    I would be wary of putting membrane under a new lawn. It could impede the root run. Effectively you would have turf with a few inches of soil, unable to access the soil underneath with the worms and other soil creatures that are important for healthy soil. If you strip off the old turf you can stack it in a corner and over time it will rot down into loam that you can use to fill beds etc. If you don't want to do that, you could dig in the old turf if the additional depth of new topsoil will be enough to bury it well. Whatever the choice, I think I would leave it until Feb/March now (or later if you're somewhere cold and wet) because even a weedy old lawn will at least be green over the winter. Got to be better than a sea of bare earth, which will sprout a new crop of weeds in any mild-ish spells from seeds left in the soil or blown in.
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 3,058
    PS where are our manners? Welcome to the forum, and I'm sorry that the answers are probably not what you wanted.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 23,539
    Hello @NewYorkie57.  Don't believe your builder.  He's not a plantsman or gardener.

    You need to prepare the soil by removing any obvious perennial weeds such as thistle, dock, plantain by hand.  Weed killers only work on plants in active growth and they also risk leaving residues which will inhibit lawn growth so best avoided.

    Then you need to bring up the level of your soil to the desired level which means shipping in some good quality topsoil and raking it level, tamping it down with your heels to remove air pockets and then raking it again.   Then, in spring, lay your turves.

    The RHS offers this advice which includes soil prep - or you could seed a new lawn in spring which will be a lot cheaper - 

    They have a video too - 

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thanks all, from a newby. You've all confirmed what I thought, and I have already put my builder off until next year. He suggested he leave it to a Gardner. I agreed! So, I will leave it until March. 
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