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Planting grass on subbase / gravel


I have a garden that’s partially tarmac, partially gravel and partially earth, it was an old farmers yard.

I’d like to take up the tarmac but leave the subbase then put on 30cm of topsoil and plant grass will this work?

The soil part is 1m lower than the rest so I’d then like to spread the gravel on the soil, maybe a 5cm layer, then build up the rest with some earth my builders left then add 30cm of top soil will this work?

The earth is good but has a fair amount of hard core and other stones in it. The whole site slopes gently and runs off into a field so I’m hoping the drainage will be good.

Thanks for any advice.



  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,160
    Unless it's a small area you intend sowing @jonfree75 , that could be very expensive to do. A foot of new soil will be pricey.  :)
    However, yes, you can certainly do that, although I'd mix the gravel in with the soil rather than doing a layer. You'd need to do it quite soon so that you can let the soil/ground settle, and then you'll probably need to rake and level and add more to get a good base for sowing the seed. It's surprising how uneven a plot can look after a month or two, no matter how well you think  you've prepped it  :)

    The slope won't help with drainage much, it's the structure of the soil you have the grass on that makes the difference- ie how well draining you make the ground to start with.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,453
    We had a farm yard and we did that, at least contractors did. It was a big lawn, terraced on 2 levels. We had a lorry load of earth on each half but it wasn't enough. It looked lovely to start with for a few  years but the grass in patches just didn't thrive and when I pushed a fork in it was only about 4 inches. The deeper bits were fine.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • Thanks - it’s next to an area of “farm lawn” so it’s never going to look great without a load of expensive landscaping. 

    It is a big area and the money is running out so just trying to cover the wasteland with grass cheaply then at least the kids can play on it and it will look less like a building site! 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,160
    It'll be ideal for doing that @jonfree75. The kids will ruin anything decent anyway!  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • bédébédé Surrey Hills, acid greensand.Posts: 1,374
    Don't use grass seed or turf.  Level it and mow, but just let whatever comes come.  You will end up with a wild flower meadow.
    "Have nothing in your garden that you don't know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
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