Sorry if this has been asked before - I'm new to the forum.

I have just bought a new house with a garden which has artificial turf.  I want to remove the turf and create a garden.

Having taken up the turf there is a later of sand, then clay.

I don't know whether to simply rotavate the sand into the clay, to help with drainage, or should I try and remove as much sand as possible?  My fear is once the sand is dug into the clay it will be impossible to remove.

I will test the PH of the sand to check if it is builders sand.  I'm also going to use well rotted manure to try and build up the soil, then put some topsoil on top.

Any advice on whether to remove the sand or not?



  • thanks smokin donkey, should I take the sand up?


  • Thanks - really helpful.

  • AtillaAtilla Posts: 1,493

    Sand and clay sounds a good prep base for laying turf. I would add compost and feed as SD has said though manure needs to be well rooted as it will make the grass die back otherwise. i would also fork over the whole area to aerate it and stop the lawn from flooding. Should be an easy job.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,612
    blairs wrote (see)

    Sand and clay sounds a good prep base for laying turf. 

    Think you'd have potential drainage problems if it was compacted, as I suspect it was if it was prepared in order to lay artificial turf image

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • The garden has been compacted - my spade hardly touched it!.  The pick axe did manage to break it up OK though.  This was why I was thinking of getting a rotavator, to give the whole lot a good work over.

    I've been here about 2 weeks, and there has been some heavy showers in that time.  There is no water collecting anywhere (on the artificial turf), so I don't think there are drainage problems.

    Verdun - I would normally dig a veg bed over in the autumn to let it winter, but that only goes down about 9 inches or so.  Are you suggesting that the subsoil needs a bit of attention, from compaction?  I'm not sure if the rotavator will dig to 40cm - suppose I'll find out when I get it. 

    Maybe I'll get the rotavator to loosen it up (using a pickaxe on the whole lot will be back breaking).  Then trench and loosen the subsoil.

    I'd like to get this right first time, it'll only be harder once I've started to lay borders end grass, so best do it proper now, so to speak image

    Thanks for all your advice - really really helpful

  • addictaddict Posts: 659

    Best to rotivate heavy clay soils in the winter to let the frost get at it. Once rotavated leave it to the cold to break it up more then just cover in manure/compost etc ready to dig in come the spring. Your back will thank you in the long run image

  • addictaddict Posts: 659

    Smokin I have never double dug in my life. It destroys the soil structure.

    I usually just roughly dig clay soil over and leave it to the weather.A rotovator will be easier than hand digging but same affect...ok probably better than hand digging...but just use over ground the once. The less you mess with the soil the better. Then leave nature to do the rest. The ice gets in and breaks it up but doesn't chop all the worms up. They will then come up through soil to get to manure thereby aerating and dragging it back down. 

  • Just in case your interested....

    The rotavator didn't touch the soil which had been compacted for the artificial turf.  My wife and I have just spent 2 days with a pick axe, breaking it all up.  We were absolutely shattered, so have cheated a bit.  We used the rotavator to break up the big clods of clay.

    We probably went about 9 or 10 inches down.  We've levelled the soil (the clay was still clumpy with bits about 1/2 inch across) with a couple of bulk backs of top soil.  Dressed that with fertilizer.  Then we have laid the new turf on top. 

    It looks amazing, so much better that the artificial stuff.  My wife is very happy.

    Just the borders to do now. image

Sign In or Register to comment.