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Converting from a gravel/paved garden to a lawn

Good Afternoon All

I am a first time 'poster' to this forum and a newbie to gardening.

I have just purchased a property and inherited a very neglected rear garden which had a patio and gravel. I have removed the patio slabs but I have found the top soil is very heavily mixed with gravel (from pea to large stones). This mix goes down about eight inches where there is a weed membrane. Below the membrane, the soil is very compacted.

  • As I want to have a lawn, what is my best course of action?
  • Does the weed membrane need to be removed to be able to have a lawn?
  • Do I need to remove as much of the gravel as I can?
  • Is it worth buying more topsoil?
  • Is it worth rotavating the soil?

I haven't as yet, decided whether to seed in Autumn or turf.

Sorry for all of the questions - all help or advice will be greatly received.



  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,955

    If it were me, I'd take the easy route and bring in a load of topsoil and plant grass over that.  Can you afford to raise your yard level a few inches?  Even if the soil below the membrane is compacted.. the fact you have eight inches of gravel/dirt on top of that makes me think you'll be fine and have plenty of good drainage.  Could you do a little drainage test in the hole you dug to locate the membrane?  Fill it to the top with water and see how long it takes to drain.  Then fill it again and time it again.  Or you could do it properly, dig out and remove all the rocks and remove the membrane, bring in a load of manure and straw bedding, rotavate it all in, bring in eight inches of top soil to get your yard back up to level, etc.  Depends on your time, budget, and energy.

    Welcome to the forum.  

    Utah, USA.
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