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Sowing a New Lawn


I'm in the process of replacing my old lawn that was bumpy, full of moss, thatch and meadow grass. I have also removed a path down the edge of the lawn and was planning to extend it slightly over where the path used to be.


I've removed all the old turf with a turf cutter, then rotivated the soil for a whole day (going across ways several times and then length ways several times).


Because the soil was so firm and quite clayey however, it's only rotivated to a few inches depth. I also now need to level out the low spots on the lawn and also fill the area where the path was removed, which is likely to use quite a bit of the rotivated soil.

This is how it looks at the moment...


I was planning on sowing the new lawn from seed as I thought buying turf would be very expensive and sowing grass seed would be the cheaper option. From what I've been reading however, I will need at least 6" of workable soil to lay the seed on including ideally at least 2" of topsoil.

The old lawn was around 130 square metres but the new area will be around 160 square metres, so to give just 2" of top soil coverage over the whole area I've calculated that I would need to buy 11 tons of top soil!

If I need to purchase this much top soil (as well as the seed) then it may end up being just as economical to fork out for 160 square metres of turf (which I was trying to avoid as I thought it would be too expensive).

At the moment my options appear to be: -

1) Level the area then purchase 11 tons of top soil which would give me 2" of topsoil on top of the few inches of rotivated soil (not even sure if this would be enough?)

2) Level the area then hire a rotivator again to see if I can get up to 6" of depth in the existing soil (clay soil) and plant the seed directly in the existing soil

3) Level the area then purchase rolls of turf (this would also be very expensive and I'm still not sure if I would also need to put top soil down before laying the turf?)

I'd just like to know the most cost effective way of acheiving a nice flat, weed free lawn that's going to last. Any advice anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated :-)



  • Even with turf you would need to add topsoil so it would definitely be more expensive, I'd have another go with the rotovater to try and get down an extra couple of inches, if the soils good quality and well tilled then that should be as good as topsoil, maybe add an extra inch which at your calculations would be about 5 tonnes, which is still about £200 but hopefully more affordable? 

  • Many thanks for the advice. I may try hiring the rotivator again and seeing if I can get it any deeper. Could do without it raining for a few days really! I'll then see what depth I've got and judge how much top soil I'd need to get.

    One other problem I have is that now I've removed the turf and rotivated, I've found that the soil is full of couch grass roots. I'm worried that the couch grass is now going to grow back in any lawn I grow. There's so many roots and they go so deep I could never get rid of them all. I have looked at weed killers such as glyphosate, but from what I understand this requires the grass to be actively growing (ideally 6-8cm long) so I think I should have put this on the lawn weeks before I removed it, so maybe now it's too late. 

    Dors anyone know any other weed killers or methods that would kill off the couch grass roots but then still allow me to plant grass seed within the next few weeks?

    I'm aiming to get the grass seed sown by mid-October at the latest hoping to get the new lawn established for next spring/summer 

  • Bumping up so this query isn't missed ...

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

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