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Laying turf over hardcore


I'm helping a friend out with his garden and he's recently had it pretty substantially relevelled with a mixture of topsoil, rubble and relatively large stones. Most of the lawn area is the original turf (which is actually going to be removed and relaid with new turf) but about 30m squared is the rubbley area. The ground is pretty compacted and I was wondering about the following:

How much topsoil should we add over the stoney ground?? I was thinking about 100mm but he wants to go for less (topsoil being quite expensive).

Should we lay any kind of sheeting over the stoney stuff (I'm concerned about it being quite porous)?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,199

    Hi nomoreluke. I'd reckon if the ground's quite well consolidated you wouldn't need any membrane but you'd probably want a decent layer of soil to give the turf the best chance. I think if you're getting soil in bulk it won't be too expensive. As you're removing the old turf from the existing lawn could you maybe use that as a 'bottom layer' for the new soil?

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Hiya, that's not a bad idea, although perhaps calling the existing mess "turf" might be a little generous, seeing as the majority of the green colour comes from dandelion leaves!! Haha.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,199

    Maybe treat it first then to get rid of the weeds before you put it down! Turn it up the other way too image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thanks!!

  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 3,267

    I would advise he hired a skip to get rid of the rubble and large stones, then re-leveled the ground before laying new turf.

    I'm happy to be wrong but the section of new lawn where the rubble is will never  look the same in terms of growth and greenness as the area where the old lawn was, due to the drainage being different.    

    I was advised before removing a concrete garage base, a lawn would grow in 6'  of soil on top of the concrete or 3' of soil on top of rubble. 

    It's hard work but I opted to remove both concrete and rubble before laying new turf and it was well worth the effort.       

  • We have just purchased a house which had a massive patio for the whole garden! Having hired a mini digger for the weekend it appears that underneath is hardcore and even digging down 2ft there is no soil! I want to put a lawn down as the garden is huge. Removing all of the hardcore after 11 hours of the digger going is impossible. What can i do?!
  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    nomoreluke, if the ground is compacted you'll have drainage problems and laying turf on top of compacted ground means you'll end up with more moss than grass, and waste a fortune on both turf and top soil. Up to your friend but you'll be creating more problems than you'll solve.

    Trish, if you've gone down 2ft, you'll be hitting sub soil anyway so don't be too concerned. You can put top soil on top and lay a lawn without too much trouble. Most gardens have 8- 12 inches of top soil at best. Remove the foundation for the patio and go for about a foot of topsoil then you can sow/lay a lawn.

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