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Can I grow grass on top of little stones if I put some soil on them first?

I have just moved into a house with my very own garden (which I have never had before :smile:) I would prefer there to be grass where the little pink stones are. Would I need to lift the stones or can I put some soil straight on top of them? Will it effect the grass if I leave the stones there? My second question is, is it better to use rolls of turf than grass seeds? I know it will be more expensive but it doesn't bother me. And my third and final question is: Is there a way so that I can get all the grass to match? As I think it's going to look very obvious that the grass in the middle and the new grass are very different and I'd prefer it not to be like that, but don't know if there's anything I can do about that. Any advise is appreciated,
Stephanie (New to gardening) 


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,861
    Hello @stephmoranstephcfXyqILI , welcome to the forum and congratulations on your new home  :D

    You'll need to get rid of the stones ... but before you do anything irrevocable, it would be a good idea to find out what's underneath them ... is there a layer of weed control fabric, or hardcore, or whatever ... how far down do  you have to go to find soil and how deep is the soil?

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,348
    Hi @stephmoranstephcfXyqILI - as @Dovefromabove says, have a look first to see what's there, but the short answer to your question is, no, you'd really need to lift the gravel, and work the ground over, then probably add some topsoil before turfing or seeding, so that the grass gets a good start and continues to thrive.  :)

    In heavy clay soil, and a wet climate, the gravel can be used to help drainage by mixing it through the soil, but it would depend on how much is there. I've done that here, but your local conditions/climate are factors in that. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • B3B3 Posts: 26,949
    I would leave the stones and get rid of the grass. Plant some perennials or shrubs in the middle with low -growing plants to soften the edges between soil and stones.  If there's soil under the stones, you could try some suitable planting there too.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,936
    I would also leave the gravel down as that makes it easier to mow the grass in the middle. If you grassed it all over, you'll be forever having to handcut all around the edges to keep it looking neat.
    It looks like there's a stone edging round the grass which might well be concreted in.
    Most people prefer gardening in their back garden to the front one so it's often better just to keep it neat and simple. Mowing that small amount of grass once a week might become a pain.
    It's lovely to have a garden, especially your first, but  my advice would be not to rush into altering anything until you've lived there at least several months., preferably a year.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391
    I agree with all the advice above.  If you do decide to replace the gravel with grass, bear in mind that you will never get it to match the existing grass, so you will always see a 'lawn within a lawn' and it's likely one will grow faster than the other.  The only way to get an even look would be to remove the existing lawn and then seed or turf the whole area.
    If that turns out to be what you want, then I would check for and remove any membrane, strip the top 2 inches of lawn (stack in a corner if you have room as it rots down into good soil in a year) and then rotavate the whole area, mixing-in the gravel with the soil as evenly as you can.  Level, rake, level, rake etc. then add any extra topsoil you may need to raise the overall level if necessary, then get it turfed.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • seacrowsseacrows Posts: 234
    I'm going to disagree slightly. You can grow grass on top of a gravel bed if you really want to, but it's a bad idea. Not only will it be obviously different from the original lawn, but small stones will work their way upwards, so mowing becomes difficult. (BTDT This is why I learnt to swing a scythe).
    I would go with BobTheGardener. Level the whole lot, adding whatever the grass needs (organic matter of grit etc.), seed or turf, and water well.
  • ErgatesErgates Posts: 2,594
    I’d agree that grassing to the edges would make mowing difficult, and that’s assuming that you managed to get the grass to match overall. I’d be more inclined to leave the pink stones, and put some well spaced pretty shrubs along the front and side walls. That would add some interest, and reduce the view of cars and anyone at the bus stop, without blocking that lovely view over the valley. Maybe some pots with bright coloured annuals along the side of the path and in front of the house.  
    Im not keen on big expanses of grass unless they look immaculate, which I’m incapable of achieving! Too much like hard work.
  • tui34tui34 Posts: 3,289
    Hi.  Why don't you put a pond/water feature in the middle of that lawn and then work from there?
    A good hoeing is worth two waterings.

  • madpenguinmadpenguin Posts: 2,527
    edited August 2021
    I think if you really do want grass all over instead of trying to match 2 areas of grass you may be better off taking up gravel and existing lawn and re-doing as a whole thing.
    It is a relatively small area and would probably cost around the same but get a better look!
    Having said that I would be in favour of doing away with the grass altogether!
    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • It looks desperate for some height. A few shrubs will add year round interest. In a larger area a lawn would be great to offset the other plants. But this to me would look fantastic with some different textures and heights.

    Even a gravel garden could be really lovely(since you have the gravel) low maintenance, drought tolerant and more in keeping with contemporary environmental concerns. One famous example is Beth Chatto's gravel garden that used to be a car park, now an oasis of texture and colour.
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
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