Removing years of neglected to lay a lawn

Hi everyone,

I have just bought my first home and have been presented with a wood chip covered back yard, all sat on weed proof matting. There is a concrete pad, 1.5x1m in size to one side that used to house a concrete coal shed that I have smashed up.

I have started to bag up the wood chip and remove the matting, only to reveal, this layer was hiding a layer of small stone on yet another layer of weed matting. To complete the mess, under the layer of stones, it seems there is an old concrete path running up through the middle then across the top.

I am looking for some advice on what is the minimum I can do to lay turf without it requiring a huge amount of care.

To complicate things, access to the garden is only by 2 sets of stairs, 1 up and 1 down. I am young(ish) and pretty fit, so up for the challenge.




A picture of the whole space. You can see the concrete pad to the left and the back half where I pulled back the wood chips to unveil the stone layer.



 A close up of the wood chip pulled back to show the stone layer.



 A close up of the concrete path that hides below the stone layer and covering about 20% of the garden area. It is about 4cm thick and I was able to smash with a few strikes with my lump hammer and cold chisel.



 The old coal shed concrete plinth/pad, about 15cm deep, and was not effected at all by my 20 mins hammering with a lump hammer and cold chisel.

So here goes with some specific questions:

  1. Can I lay the turf without removing the stone layer? If so will I need an inch or so of top soil?
  2. How about when the stone and weed matting is sat directly on the concrete path?
  3. I want rid of the coal shed concrete pad/plinth, how can I get it into small enough chunks to get it in bags and to the tip?

All advice would be much appreciated!


Thanks in advance,



  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    Hi Steven, sorry, but if you take a shortcut now you will regret it, i speak from bitter experience! Im probably going to be thrown off the site for this, are you hellbent on real grass? Some of the fake stuff looks amazing, you will still need to prepare the ground, but not as thoroughly. It makes me wonder why the previous owner didnt have a lawn either, it may be that your garden isnt best situated for grass, is it shady? You dont want to go to all of that trouble then find that grass wont thrive image
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  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    Thanks Chrissie, was a little worried i would be disowned! image
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 58,699

    You may be absolutely right - it may be the sort of space where  a lawn is nigh on impossible - my last garden was a small and very shady north facing inner city space - no way would a lawn have worked there - but a paved circle and some beds around it with trellis and climbers and a tiny water feature ,gave us a lovely place to sit out and have a drink or three on a summer evening after a hard day at the salt mine!!!

    And we even grew a few veg there too image

    I think it would be a good idea to have a real appraisal of the garden - the direction it faces, how much sun it gets, type of soil in the area and possible drainage problems.

    Then look at the types of garden that would work in those conditions and see which/if any appeal to Steven .......... at least  that would give us something to work on ....


    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    Sounds lovely Dove image
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