Forum home Garden design

Starting afresh

Hi all

First time poster. I've a relatively large garden which has many old tree stumps and very 'up and down' so I want to basically take it back to a blank canvas and start new.

I know it's going to be hard graft but can anyone advise the best way to take the top layer of turf off so I can level and lay new turf?  Any tips on removing the tree stumps too?

Thanks in advance


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,839

    Hello and welcome.

    There are grinding machines that can take out tree stumps.  A local tree surgeon will have one and you may even be able to hire one form a good DIY or tool hire store.   That would be the first thing to do and then you'd need to dig over the whole area and rake it level so you can re-sow a lawn or lay turves.

    However, it is usually advised that for the first year in a new garden you just do basic maintenance so you can see what, if anything, grows.  Many plants are only just emerging after their winter hibernation and you may lose treasures if you dig it all up now.

    You can hire turf cutters to strip off the top layer of grass.  You then roll or stack it grass to grass, soil to soil, in a corner where it will rot down to make lovely soil.   Alternatively, you could spray the grass with a glyphosate based weedkiller - as long as you are careful to read the instructions and keep it away form water - and then you can dig over the grass when it's dead.

    Before laying new turves or sowing new seed, scatter a good dressing of something like pelleted chicken manure or blood fish and bone on the soil and rake it in.  This will improve fertility for your new lawn.   Think also about where you may want to create beds, seating areas, composting areas and storage areas so you can lay those out - mark with dry sand or a hose-pipe or string - so you can get a good estimate of how much seed or turf you will need and thus have less waste.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    Depending on how large the grass bit is, you could hire a turf stripper.

    Tree stumps can be ground down by a stump grinder, courtesy of your local tree surgeons. Don't think you can hire those. 

    That's the easy bit.

    Is this garden new to you? It could have been just neglected and you would be surprised how well the grass could look with a year of THC - cutting, feeding, weedkilling etc all on a regular basis. 

    Again with tree stumps - you may be able to dig them out yourself with a bit of time and effort. 

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Thanks all, yes I've just moved into a new property and it has potential, I'm not very creative though! See the pics attached, will relocate the pear tree which is perceived almost bang centre and taking up room. Any ideas great fully received. Will be having a seating area/patio as havw 2 young children, will be putting in French doors where the bench currently sits so prefer this would be the area I use 

  • Sorry all, it doesn't seem to have posted the pics I just took. Will try again later if I can and see if I can get then to upload.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,839

    You may have to re-size them as there is a size limit.  Anything less than 2mb should be OK.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Attempt 2!imageimage

  • So it's an L shape garden, south facing, sun all day. Quite wet in the south west tip, lots of what I would call Kale looking type weeds in that area. Contemplating even taking those trees out although the large holly tree by the side gives a certain amount of privacy (although will be putting up extra fencing for a more private enclosure)

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,839

    I think you should wait and see what happens this growing season.   Start cutting the grass regularly but not too short.  If you alternate cutting direction between up and down the garden one time and across the garden the next it will help smooth out lumps and bumps.  

    In April, use a weed, feed and moss treatment and scarify once it's done its stuff.

    Wait and see what the trees do.  It may be they give flowers or foliage colour or nuts and are worth keeping.   You can always raise their crown by removing the lower branches to head height.  That way you'll keep your privacy but gain more light.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Some good advice, appreciated. I only have a hover mower so guess I should borrow a roller. Will have a look at it this week, weather isn't particularly great for a while so may have to get in with other bits and bobs. Maybe easier time to take out the stumps if the earth's wet?

Sign In or Register to comment.