HELP! Need advice on lawn change

We have a sall "lawn" (actually a lumpy bumpy muddy area with grass on it!) about 3m X 3m. Next year we'd like to quarter it, and have 2 quarters wildflower-meadowy, and the other 2 as clover lawn. I've asked people I know for advice, and I'm getting mixed reports. Some are saying I should dig the area up now, turning the grass upside-down and let it rot under a mat to enrich the soil, and others are saying that I should throw the grass away as the last thing I need is rich soil. Can anyone help?


  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892

    In well-fertilised soil, grass grows more vigourously than wildflowers, and consequently the grass will smother the flowers. Because of that, it is easier to grow wildflowers in poor soil. You certainly don't want to 'enrich' the soil.

    Whether you want to go to the trouble of removing the top few inches of soil altogether is another matter.

    If the area has just been grass, and has not had any fertiliser added to it for some years, then the soil may already be quite poor.

  • Thank you. Is there a way I can check? I really am new to this!

  •  I wouldn't assume that the topsoil will already be poor, although sandy soils will be less so. Loamy and clay topsoil will be richer in minerals and nutrients.

    Much of the topsoil should be removed where you intend growing wildflowers.  (On a larger scale, stack any turf upside-down in a corner somewhere to rot and provide useful loam for the garden).  Dig over the wildfllower plot to mix the remaining topsoil with subsoil (as this provides a poorer growing medium).  Try to establish which type of soil you have, and sow wildflowers that grow naturally in those specific conditions for the best results.  Contact your local councils' environmental or ecology sections for local information.....or a nearby horticultural or agricultural college.   

  • I've seen some wildflower turf available that has all sorts in it - what flowers depends on the underlying soil.  This would be a more expensive option, but you do have a small lawn.

    Otherwise, have a look at your soil and pick a seed mix to match - mixes available on many websites/ garden centres.


    Durham Gardener

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