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New turf problems

Hi, I'm hoping someone could offer some advice as I'm a complete novice when it comes to gardening.  Following the build of a rear extension our once lovely garden (the people we bought out house from were keen gardeners) looks, as expected, like a building site.  We employed a firm to lay a new path and turf.  Much of the old grass was dead or appeared to be dying.  The firm came and laid a good 5 inches of top soil and about 1000 sq ft of turf and told me to water it every day to prevent it from dying.  I did this and within a few days we had very heavy rain.  The next day (about 4 days after it had been laid) I stepped on the turf and nearly fell over. I must of sunk 2 inches. Its appeared the turf was trying to eat my foot by wrapping up around it! I lifted the turf up and the top soil underneath was like mud, totally saturated.  I contacted the company that laid it they said I should not walk on it yet and it will settle but we've had so much rain its not helping.  Draining was never a problem before. The old grass never got like this no matter how wet it got, even though we are on a lot of clay, that's starts about 6 inches below the old grass level, prior to an extra 5 inches of top soil being put on.

I've been told the firm who put the turf down should have used a whacker on the top soil to compact it but I think they just used scaffold boards and jumped up and down to level it off.  I also been told that to cure it, I need to stick a fork in every 6 inches and pour sharp sand down the holes.  A long and back breaking process by the sounds of it that will leave my garden looking a mess until grass grows back over the holes that I've made.

Any advice muchly appreciated. I have small children who cant wait to get out and play in our new garden and its heartbreaking saying they cant!


  • darren636darren636 Posts: 666
    Sounds like a rush job.

    I'd leave it alone for another week.
  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    They didn't leave time before putting the topsoil down and laying turf. They should have let it settle for 2 weeks before turfing. If the soil under the topsoil was compacted after the building work then that should have been broken up first. If there is compaction you'll have a permanent barrier under the new topsoil.

  • Mark82Mark82 Posts: 2
    You're correct they did do it very quick and threw a lot of bodies at it to get it done. Do you think it will settle or do I need to do something to prevent ongoing problems? The soil under the top soil was compact in places but not all over. I would say about a third maybe as much as half the total area. Any suggestions on how to resolve the problem? The turf hasn't taken root quite yet but is not far off. I can still lift it up. Would trying to put sand under it help at all? The turf it's self is full of worms and bugs when I lift it up and I've been told that's a good thing as they can help move any sand around and help mix it in with the soil, should I put any down. Thanks for your advice.
  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    I'd be patient for a while in that case Mark. It won't be too long before we're begging for rain. Let it drain and keep off it. I wouldn't put any sand down. See of the worms can open up the soil below. You're better off waiting for now. It will settle.

  • M33R4M33R4 Posts: 276
    Did we ever get an update on this post ?
    I wish I could garden all year round!
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