Returfing a lawn

I am considering returfing my lawn. Instead of digging up the entire lawn, what if I cover the existing lawn with new compost, level it and then turf over the raised surface still with the old grass underneath it? Anyone tried that? I'm thinking this will be a quicker way and will help raise the level of the lawn, which has sunk a little over the years. The old grass should die down and decompose into the soil, shouldn't it? Can anyone think of any good reasons why I mustn't do it this way?

I ask because the general advice has always been to dig up the existing grass and start afresh, which is rather labour intensive. Please help...


  • paulk2paulk2 Posts: 184

    How much depth are you thinking of adding? Have you considered top dressing the lawn?

  • Dave2356Dave2356 Posts: 42

    I recently laid new turf in our recently acquired overrun garden. There was a patch that we intended to use for the shed extension do didn't do anything with the rough grass that was growing on it. The rest of the lawn area was properly prepared.

    after I had laid my turfs, I had a few left over, so rather than waste them, I cut the rough grass back as far as I could, raked and levelled it with topsoil, and laid the turfs ( about 3 pieces). 

    That was a month ago. I expected the turf to not take, or the rough grass to make an appearance, but it seems ok. I'd possibly consider an entire lawn this way, although I'm sure many will disagree.


  • THANKS paulk2 about an inch to two.


    Thanks Dave2356. That is very helpful indeed.


  • FirecrackerFirecracker East Lancashire.Posts: 254

    I've done that several times over the years, not  more than 12 rolls at a time, never had any problems, I just didn't have the time then to do a better job.image I usually scarify the old lawn a lot and stick the fork in so grit sand and soil fills the holes.image

  • paulk2paulk2 Posts: 184
    BlueMango Mango wrote (see)

    THANKS paulk2 about an inch to two.


    That's not that deep really then as an annual top dressing might be ~1/2 an inch deep depending on grass type and length. If the grass is in good condition then you could top dress and bring it up to the level you want over the next 2-3 yrs, sorting out the hollows by slitting open the existing turf and infilling to make it flat. Top dressing would benefit the lawn as it aids drainage and would also be much cheaper than a full re-turf.

    If you are going ahead with turf overlaying, I guess the usual method of soil prep would be required: I'd also be tempted to make sure you sort out any drainage/heavily compacted areas/weeds/stones before laying the new turf (would you be aiming to lay this in September?)

  • I want to keep the manual work as low as possible as I have a lot to do in the garden and sadly don't feel that young anymore. On that note I think I'll stick to the gradual top dressing until it rises to my required level.

    Really appreciate your comments on this. Thanks Paulk2

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