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Clay soil lawn replacement

I've always struggled with getting a quality lawn growing with clay soil. Correct me if this would not work but would it be as simple as:

- Dig out a foot deep of the clay soil
- Replace with decent soil
- Lay new lawn

Or is there any additional steps I should take?

Thanks

Posts

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,907
    Hi @robertzdifranco0dxtR9TJ - it's always a problem getting a lawn to thrive on clay, especially if there's shade and lots of wet stuff. 
    However, it isn't always worth removing it. Unless it's a tiny area, that's a lot of clay to get rid of. Replacing it isn't always worthwhile unless you also amend the drainage, as that's the most common reason for grass not doing well. 
    Ideally, you would add loads of organic matter which improves the soil structure, but you may not want to wait for that to happen. You can also spike the lawn deeply, using the kind of aerator that has hollow times, which  removes plugs of compacted soil, and then filling them with coarse grit, but that also might be a bridge too far, depending on how much time and energy you want to spend on it. It isn't ideal at this time of year either, because if the ground is soggy, you're compounding the problem by walking on the grass for a long period. Frozen ground is equally difficult as again, you're damaging the ground walking on it, and it's pretty tricky to make those holes!  
    Sorry if that's a bit negative, but it's always a tricky solution. The easiest method is to create a raised area and adding the new soil, plus gravel and organic matter, before laying new turf. It would need to be left for a few months to settle first too, and would need a bit of topping up before turfing/seeding. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • I've always struggled with getting a quality lawn growing with clay soil. Correct me if this would not work but would it be as simple as:

    - Dig out a foot deep of the clay soil
    - Replace with decent soil
    - Lay new lawn

    Or is there any additional steps I should take?

    Thanks
    Yes, don't bother. All that work, all that muck to shift, the expense etc etc...and still no guarantees of a lawn you'll be happy with. 
    Just my opinion of course but I've seen it many times - lawns laid on poor draining soil - that have been a disappointment.
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,961
    If you dig a hole in clay soil it will fill with water when it rains and only drain away slowly. If you fill that hole with free draining soil, it will still drain away just as slowly - unless you add some kind of drain you've basically made a pond. 

    If you lay the soil on top, water will drain away more easily and won't sit there saturated. Also saves you doing all that digging... you just need to find a raised edging if you want a flat lawn (the edging should allow water to drain through). 






  • bédébédé Surrey Hills, acid greensand.Posts: 1,263
    edited 24 January
    For perfection find out what golf lawn creators do.  Or perhaps any sports turf.  But it's hard work.  

    I would suggest building up the surface gradually with sharp grit and compost.  Spike, preferrably hollow tine.  Mow frquently to reduce the amount of fast-growing coarser grasses.  Weed and moss kill optional.
    "Have nothing in your garden that you don't know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
  • Thanks all for the information, a lot to think about , very much appreciated
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