Help with soil preparation for new lawn

RudboJune 10, 2014

I'm needing some help with preparing my soil for a new lawn as I have no idea what I'm doing. So far I've started to kill off the old lawn with glyphosate and it's turned to what I can describe looks like straw. My garden is uneven and full of stones etc so I would like to get it nice and level before either seeding or turfing but I don't know what to do next.

Should I just rotavate the soil and level it out or do I need some top soil? Any advice would be helpful.

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Rudbo

This is my garden

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 4:23PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

First, don't every rototill in preparation for a lawn. It will give you a bumpy lawn after 3 years.

Second, get the obstructions out of the way. Rent a verticutter, dethatcher, or slit seeder. These machines have vertically rotating blades or beaters which can be adjusted to dig slightly into the soil. Set it to go about 1/4 inch deep and run it over the high spots. Sweep the loosened soil into the low spots and walk over them to tamp them down. Continue until you have it pretty level but be sure you don't create new low spots where the high spots were. Also take out any rocks you find in that process. And make sure water drains away from your house. If it drains toward the house you will have puddles which eventually find their way into your basement.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 10:38AM
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Rudbo

Thanks for your reply. Do I need to get any topsoil to lay on top or will the soil be ok for seeding/turfing by itself. I'm also worried about the amount of stones in the soil which made me think some topsoil would cover it.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 8:58PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Well at least you had a reasonable reason to add topsoil. But still don't rototill and don't bring in more soil.

Use the vertical cutter and some stones will pop up. You might want a face mask for safety. Collect all the stones you can and forget about the rest.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 6:14PM
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AgroCoders(6)

You soil looks good. You have topsoil that is good. Wish mine was that good.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 7:37PM
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Rudbo

How flat does the soil need to be? Does the turf disguise some lumps and dips or does it have to be perfect. I've added a pic of my progress so far. I've noticed I've got weeds and bits of grass growing back again. What should I do about these, I've used endless amounts of glyphosate to kill it off but it comes back.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 8:17AM
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morpheuspa

>>How flat does the soil need to be? Does the turf disguise some lumps and dips or does it have to be perfect.

How perfect do you want it to be? Major lumps and dips should be evened out, but very minor ones aren't worth bothering with.

I can't tell if that central dip in your photo is part of your drainage or a dip. If drainage, don't fiddle with it. You need that to get rid of excess rainfall.

>>I've added a pic of my progress so far. I've noticed I've got weeds and bits of grass growing back again. What should I do about these, I've used endless amounts of glyphosate to kill it off but it comes back.

Kill them off. Small amounts, like you have, can be spot-sprayed with glyphosate rather than a complete area spray.

The clearer the soil you start with the better the seeding will go. Even so, expect lots of weeds--that's totally normal.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 1:16PM
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Rudbo

Great thanks for your reply. I'm not sure what you mean about the dip in the middle? I had to dig out some concrete that was for a pole in the middle of the garden if that's what you mean.

Should I worry about the big lumps of soil or will they break down eventually?

I'll get one with another spot spray hehe.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 2:05PM
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