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I'm looking at becoming a homeowner and with it have a garden for the first time ever (I currently live in a flat), one of the properties I am looking at has amazing potential for a lovely lawned, south-facing garden but I am unsure how much work it would take as there is no turf in position at present. Instead there is a gravel/soil/dirt mixture, with a variety of trees, weeds and shrubs growing around the edges of the garden.  

The tree has a seperate membrane seperating it. 

The paving slabs (top left) are not concreted in so I would remove these and replace them with some beautiful green turf. 

 I don't expect it to be a quick, or easy process but would be extremely grateful to hear any feedback/thoughts that those with more experience may have... 

Thank you! 

hi then munroar exciting stuff getting a garden for the first time that you can make truly yours.. the only problem may be the tree depending how large the canopy is and how far them roots would have spread as cant see properly from the picture.. but it also depends on how much money you wish to spend as turfing can be costly but is instant where as seeding is the cheaper alternative but may take a while to get that perfect lawn as weeds can set aswell.. if i was turfing i would remove the majority if not all of the larger stones give the space a good raking then apply a thin layer of topsoil,dependant on what your soil is like, and water well then lay your turf on top of that but be sure to top up any rutts or holows you may have already or you end up with a dippy wavy lawn which believe me is not pleasant to cut and can almosty certain scalp certain areas when mowing. hope that has helped a bitbut i have before now laid turf on worse areas then u have there. oh and some of the smaller gravel makes good drainage 


I'd check on what's going on under the gravel - you might find there's a membrane laid there. 


Hi munroar - I take it you're keeping the tree? As Darren says turfing can be expensive and  if it was me I think I'd prepare the area as well as possible by removing weeds, large stones etc, put a layer of topsoil on, level it as best you can and firm it, then lightly rake and sow grass seed. If you have problem later on at least you've not spent a fortune on turf. The drainage is important so check that it's reasonable before you start and improve it with extra grit and compost if it isn't. Grass is shallow rooting so doesn't need a great depth of soil but it doesn't do well if it's compacted or in deep shade.

Dove is right too- check what's underneath the gravel. It sometimes hides a multitude of sins 

I agree, you need to find out what's under the gravel. If it's soil then as Darren says I'd rake off all the large stones, add in lots of top soil. Turf or seed depends on your bank balance. If you seed or turf at this time of year you might have to keep watering if we get a dry summer (yeah right!).  Aslo if you seed you'll need to keep off it, I would keep off till next spring. It looks pretty flat so that's a plus.

Hope you enjoy your garden as much as I do mine munroar



Don't think that tree needs a stake now, and the ties are much too tight and will damage the tree - take them off and remove the stake as soon as poss 

Hi Everyone, 

That's great advice - thank you. 

I think seeding will be the way forward, this will give me plenty of time to prepare the lawn for seeding in autumn and then I could leave it throughout the winter (to thoroughly enjoy it next summer). In the meantime there is plenty of decorating required that will keep me inside the house!

One of the neighbours has a lawn and the front of the house is laid to lawn as well, so hopefully there is usable soil not too far down in the back garden. In the meantime I'll get preparing and turn to the online guides. 

Thank you once again for the advice... Joe 

Hi Guys I have a large area outside my new home that is gravelled and I'm planning on removing the large stones and membrane to then re-distribute it and mix with topsoil before laying turf. Does this sound as though it will take okay?

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