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Planting Lawn From Seed


In the next week or two i'll be sowing a lawn from seed.

I've never done this before, so could do with some advice.

So far, i've completely cleared the area of weeds and stones. It's now down to mud- mostly quite hard packed.

The soil doesn't look like rich, fertile 'growing' kind of soil and i expect it will need topsoil. I read that soil needs to be tested for PH before sowing a lawn from seed., so once i know the PH level i'll update.

I've looked on and seen that they sell a Turf and Lawn Seeding Topsoil. It's very expensive at £117 for 0.73m³, and my lawn area is around 25 metres squared.

So, assuming that the PH level is no good, i expect that i'll need topsoil:

If so, then how much will i need for an area of 25 metres squared- how deep does the layer of topsoil need to be?

Do I need to buy the expensive stuff such as what's sold by Or can anyone suggest a cheaper alternative?

How deep would be topsoil layer need to be?

I've ordered a rotavator for this weekend, i was planning on tilling 4 inches or so of the existing soil with the rotavator and then adding topsoil on top before treading down and sowing grass seed. Does this sound about right, or would it be better to lay the topsoil and then rotavate the two soils together to mix them?


I have read a lot about how important proper soil preparation is before sowing a lawn, so could really do with some advice.

Thanks in advance..


  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    You could do with digging a test hole to see how compacted the soil is before adding top soil.

    If it's badly compacted dumping topsoil on top will leave you with a solid pan underneath which will just hold water and you will be throwing money down the drain.

    I don't know whats caused the compacting but in my opinion you'll need to go down at least a foot to break the top layer up. If you do rotavate  to that depth you won't need topsoil.

    Breaking the top layer up and leaving the sun and wind to dry it for a week will leave you with an almost perfect base to sow seed and after the seed has taken you can top dress to level any bumps or holes.

    It just seems an expensive way to do it. 

  • Thanks, so if i till the soil to about a foot deep then you don't think i'll need topsoil?

    I live outside Brighton, very close to the sea, so South Downs where it's quite chalky. I don't know if that means anything in terms of soil quality...

    Is it actually necessary to test the PH level of the soil?

    How about fertiliser, manure, etc.?





  • BluebaronBluebaron Posts: 226
    Check out he has a good FAQ section
  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Dig the testhole first, see how deep the compaction is. It may be shallow only a few inches or so or maybe more. You''ll feel with the fork how easy the soil is to move the easier it moves the less compaction. When you hit free moving soil rotavate to that depth, then leave it open to the elements for a week or two. The sun rain and worms will do the rest very quickly.

    Ph is likely to be alkaline but grass will grow anywhere, and if you've broken up the top layer you'll be moving all the nutrients in the soil anyway. Don't put down fertilizer till the lawn is well established, 3 to six months and don't mow too closely till you have a good thatch. 

    If you do it properly in the first place and don't rush things the better result you will get.

    I sowed my lawn last August, it had it's first cut only a few days ago and only now am I thinking of putting down a weed and feed and I won't do that for another 2 weeks.

    Patience is the name of the game with gardening, even more so with lawns. 

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