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Water Damaged Lawn


We've had a lot of rain in December and I count myself that only my garden has been damaged compared to what some of my friends have suffered. 

Being the a very new gardener I'm a bit out of my depth as to what to do next with the lawn after so much rain seems to have destroyed it. The picture below shows the situation this morning, with a few pots blown around and a stranded princess car. The green in the top of the picture is moss that has started spreading and the green on the right seems to be whats left of the grass. 

The garden slopes towards the cheery tree in the top left of the picture and soil here is naturally clay like with the ground been compacted by a new build.

Eventually I'd like this to become a lawn again, right now though i just don't know what to do to start me on that path. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.






  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,221

    Hello James and commiserations on your poor lawn. Clay soil is always either waterlogged or baked like a brick so it needs help. I'd abandon your present set up and start again with a hard wearing type of turf. It comes in different grades and yours looks as if it is going to see a fair bit of wear and tear.  Here's a link with some advice from a turf providing company to which I have no connection.



    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 33,979

    Hi James - you won't be alone in having a mud bath for a lawn this year, so don't worry.

    Compacted clay ground is always an issue. You may have to bite the bullet and get a few drains put in if you want a nice lawn. If the aspect is shady it might be difficult to establish grass successfully too - especially if you have children using it a lot. A small area always suffers under those conditions.

    You could also try removing a decent amount of the topsoil and get some gravel mixed with some fresh soil and then re turf in spring. A hard wearing type will help with the heavy traffic image

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

  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 5,801

    Hi James - how disheartening for you but (as Fairy said) you won't be alone with this problem.

    First of all, I second the advice given above.

    Second - I would also suggest that for now (if at all possible) you try to stay off the lawn area. If you can't do that - can you at least confine any traffic to a small area / path?

    I see there is a gate on the back fence. Do you need to use that every day (to get to your car perhaps)?

    If so, I would seriously consider putting in a path as part of your rejigging of the garden. It doesn't need to be expensive - some weed suppressant membrane with shingle on top and some edging to keep the shingle in place will do. That way you won't need to walk on the new lawn when it's wet or frozen in the future.

    Hopefully everything will look a bit bonnier in a few weeks time image

    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • Hi all,


    Thanks for the advice and I agree there will be quite a few people in this situation I think.

    You've definitely given me some food for thought. We are lucky the back of the house doesn't need to be used, and believe it or not nobody has set foot on the lawn since the nice weather earlier in the year. The boarder plants on the left and right of the picture have survived, so far, so that seems to be one less job.

    We do have a shaded area, the garden is south facing,  from the top left the top of the photo to the right hand side of the gate is almost constant shade. If we don't try and establish grass there what could I do instead?

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,221

    It looks like you have some decking. I'd go for another load of grass myself. If you put paving down or some other hard surface your garden could end up looking like a prison exercise yard.image

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 5,801

    If it was my garden I would go along with Tetley's idea of a shingle centre and lots of shrubs / perennials in borders around that. Plants which do well in shade include ferns and hostas and there are plenty of evergreen shrubs for year round structure and colour.

    The fact that you have a princess car in your garden, however, suggests you may have little ones to consider - in which case you might feel you need to have lawn there for a play area. Personally I don't like small lawns - I think they are a lot of work for little reward - but I don't have little ones to worry about.

    Have a think about what you and your family need from the garden and then come back to see if we have some ideas to make life a bit easier for you in the future

    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
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