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15 messages
11/04/2014 at 02:44

Possibly a very stupid question but friends and family have said it doesn't really matter so i thought i'd ask people that actually have some knowledge in this area!!


I laid turf last year and to cut a long story short a combination of not enough topsoil put down beforehand, a pet dog with a penchant for subterranean activities and a harsh winter have left me taking the easy if more expensive option and deciding to relay turf this year.

My question to you all is this...

Would I be wise to take up the turf and flip it over before adding more topsoil and re-turfing as seems logical if a lot more work,Or as some friends have said just topsoil on top of the old turf and then re-turf on the assumption that the old grass will die and provide further nutrition?


Many thanks for any advice.

11/04/2014 at 06:34

Apart from the help from the dog - do I gather that there may have been drainage problems - if so I'd get that sorted first, we may have more wet winters.  Have you got a clay 'pan' beneath your lawn which needs breaking up?


11/04/2014 at 19:26
11/04/2014 at 19:26
The drainage issue seems much less of an issue than I'd assumed to be honest, just need to see what's the best way to go forward now
12/04/2014 at 07:39

There seems to be mixed opinions online with some saying yes and others no. I'm no expert but would say that I would remove the old grass first and take time to carefully prepare the ground: weeding the area, rotavating the soil, adding a good layer of top soil mixed with sand etc. My concerns with laying new turf on top of old are that any weeds that are present will grow through, any problems of compaction won't be solved by rotavating the soil, and that the old grass will compete with the new grass for nutrients before it dies off. As I say, I'm no expert but would prefer to do a bit more work and give the new grass the best possible start. I would also consider waiting until the autumn before laying new turf as it won't need to be watered as much as will over the summer if laid now.

12/04/2014 at 07:51

That all makes sense to me Scott 

12/04/2014 at 12:04

Whom ever said gardening was easy? well it is not and lawn laying can be heavy work, think about it once laid properly it will last years my front lawn is 30 years old and with careful maintenance as good as any in the area. Last year on a programme about bodged workmanship they showed some gardens where a chap had laid lawn, basically he rotovated the old grass raked it out and laid the rolls of new on top, it was a total failure and when asked said well it should have worked.

A lawn like a dog is for life and worth the effort of correctly laying it down, you can also get grass rolls to suit all purposes Bowling green down to Dogs and Kids, no point in putting down a bowling green for the latter two.

It is a good time to put down a lawn although my side lawn was put down in December and is now nearly eight years old, so apart from a very hard winter it can work.

The old grass can be lifted stacked in a corner for a couple of years and you will have a wonderful potting media. A few bags of top soil or compost raked out and left to settle then choose the correct mix of grass for your purpose and roll it out and  water it well for a week or more depending on the weather. No it is not easy but well worth the effort, my lawns will see me out.


12/04/2014 at 12:16

its not good practice too... proper ground preparation is to be the prefered option if you want a decent lawn.

12/04/2014 at 14:17
I have a similar problem, I will remove the turf and add at least 6 to 10 inches of top soil all over the lawn area. There's only one way, that's the right way.
13/04/2014 at 02:42

Cheers guys, budget will probably stop me from doing it by the book but i think rather than just flipping the turf, I'll try to break it up as much as possible before adding as much soil as my my limited budget will allow before laying new turf. 



Thanks very much for the replies all, much appreciated.

(even if it probably appears that I'm ignoring your good advice) 

13/04/2014 at 06:15

That's fine Kinny - we all have budgets to try to work within - but it's good to know what 'best practice' is then you can make intelligent decisions about priorities.

Good luck with the lawn (and the dog) 

Let us know how you get on.

13/04/2014 at 23:40

Haha thanks, well luckily the dog won't cause problems as he was a temporary foster dog, now e only have a 9 month old baby to worry about


Hence the low budget and urge to perhaps go for quickest result rather than best practice. Will post some picture after I've finished and it's hopefully bedded in in case anyone else comes here with a similar question.


thanks again all.

14/04/2014 at 08:05

The baby will do less damage than the dog - well for a while anyway! 

Not worthwhile spending a fortune on expensive turf either while children are going to be using it. You can still have a nice lawn without spending loads- a feed in spring and keeping it regularly mown will be fine until you reclaim it for yourself and have your velvety green sward 

14/04/2014 at 08:09

If you can bear to be without a lawn for a ittle while, it's much  cheaper to do it with seed - by the time baby is running about you can have a lovely soft green sward.  

But good luck, whichever method you choose and keep us posted - we've all been there! 

21/02/2015 at 12:19


last year we put a lot of effort into our very small lawn,( 40ft x 15 ft ). Well dug over, remains of Tarmac car park dug up, and loads of topsoil. Good quality Rolawn was laid, but soon started to look thin. It was well watered, we are retired so no kids ( or dogs ) using it. It is now as bad or worse than before we started. Husband thinking of sand and fine grit mix on top of remaining lawn, no weeds as Greenthumb look after it, then topsoil and more Rolawn. Do you think this would work .

many thanks

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