Laying turf over old turf?

Possibly a very stupid question but friends and family have said it doesn't really matter so i thought i'd ask people that actually have some knowledge in this area!!


I laid turf last year and to cut a long story short a combination of not enough topsoil put down beforehand, a pet dog with a penchant for subterranean activities and a harsh winter have left me taking the easy if more expensive option and deciding to relay turf this year.

My question to you all is this...

Would I be wise to take up the turf and flip it over before adding more topsoil and re-turfing as seems logical if a lot more work,Or as some friends have said just topsoil on top of the old turf and then re-turf on the assumption that the old grass will die and provide further nutrition?


Many thanks for any advice.



  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,785

    Apart from the help from the dog - do I gather that there may have been drainage problems - if so I'd get that sorted first, we may have more wet winters.  Have you got a clay 'pan' beneath your lawn which needs breaking up?


    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • Kinny999Kinny999 Posts: 12
    The drainage issue seems much less of an issue than I'd assumed to be honest, just need to see what's the best way to go forward now
  • There seems to be mixed opinions online with some saying yes and others no. I'm no expert but would say that I would remove the old grass first and take time to carefully prepare the ground: weeding the area, rotavating the soil, adding a good layer of top soil mixed with sand etc. My concerns with laying new turf on top of old are that any weeds that are present will grow through, any problems of compaction won't be solved by rotavating the soil, and that the old grass will compete with the new grass for nutrients before it dies off. As I say, I'm no expert but would prefer to do a bit more work and give the new grass the best possible start. I would also consider waiting until the autumn before laying new turf as it won't need to be watered as much as will over the summer if laid now.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,785

    That all makes sense to me Scott image

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,181

    Whom ever said gardening was easy? well it is not and lawn laying can be heavy work, think about it once laid properly it will last years my front lawn is 30 years old and with careful maintenance as good as any in the area. Last year on a programme about bodged workmanship they showed some gardens where a chap had laid lawn, basically he rotovated the old grass raked it out and laid the rolls of new on top, it was a total failure and when asked said well it should have worked.

    A lawn like a dog is for life and worth the effort of correctly laying it down, you can also get grass rolls to suit all purposes Bowling green down to Dogs and Kids, no point in putting down a bowling green for the latter two.

    It is a good time to put down a lawn although my side lawn was put down in December and is now nearly eight years old, so apart from a very hard winter it can work.

    The old grass can be lifted stacked in a corner for a couple of years and you will have a wonderful potting media. A few bags of top soil or compost raked out and left to settle then choose the correct mix of grass for your purpose and roll it out and  water it well for a week or more depending on the weather. No it is not easy but well worth the effort, my lawns will see me out.


  • its not good practice too... proper ground preparation is to be the prefered option if you want a decent lawn.

  • Greg4Greg4 Posts: 48
    I have a similar problem, I will remove the turf and add at least 6 to 10 inches of top soil all over the lawn area. There's only one way, that's the right way.
  • Kinny999Kinny999 Posts: 12

    Cheers guys, budget will probably stop me from doing it by the book but i think rather than just flipping the turf, I'll try to break it up as much as possible before adding as much soil as my my limited budget will allow before laying new turf. 



    Thanks very much for the replies all, much appreciated.

    (even if it probably appears that I'm ignoring your good advice) 

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 43,785

    That's fine Kinny - we all have budgets to try to work within - but it's good to know what 'best practice' is then you can make intelligent decisions about priorities.

    Good luck with the lawn (and the dog) 

    Let us know how you get on.image

    No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
  • Kinny999Kinny999 Posts: 12

    Haha thanks, well luckily the dog won't cause problems as he was a temporary foster dog, now e only have a 9 month old baby to worry aboutimage


    Hence the low budget and urge to perhaps go for quickest result rather than best practice. Will post some picture after I've finished and it's hopefully bedded in in case anyone else comes here with a similar question.


    thanks again all.

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