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I have an area of 28m2 by 8m2 which i have cleared of grass, weeds and moss. The soil is quite heavy in clay and to prep it i was going to hollow tine quite heavily and then lay down new screened topsoil with compost and leave it for  a few weeks to see if any final weeds emerge and deal with them before laying my new seed in April. Any advice welcome.



Hi ,well done on all your work. keep on doing what you are it sounds like you are on top of things



Not sure about hollow tining. I would add compost and sieved soil but would simply rake and rake and rake to get as fine a tilth as possible on your clay. Keep off if when wet and work it when dry. However, I'm not an expert on gardening on soil is light. Hoe or rake any weeds and April is good time for sowing but weather conditions are biggest factor on timing.
If lawn is in reasonable light and sun I would use a heavy duty dwarf rye grass seed. Good luck martin

I would have thought hollow tining a good idea  and add some horticultural sand into the mix if it's heavy clay as the clay will cause water to stand on the top 


I think tining is good in established lawns but I would rather incorporate sieved soil, compost, etc at the preparation stage. It's easier, covers whole surface and saves time. Just what I would do.

Thanks for the adviceso far. My thought on hollow tining now was to allow the new soil/compost mixture to fill the holes left behing and enhance the ability to drain?

In my head it just seems you would be making lots of sumps in your lawn. I would never hollow tine during preparation., time better spent getting whole surface level and of fine tilth. I use a fork with its tines bent at 45 degrees to "scratch" compost, fertiliser, etc into my top soil and then firm n rake. I'm no expert on dealing with clay though so maybe someone who is will advise. I will watch this space

Thanks for that sotongeoff but i need some more advice if you can. Given size of the area i am dealing with and the hard work ive done so far and that it is a heavy clay soil i have decided i will till the existing soil and then add grit, sand, compost and screened topsoil...i want to get this as right as i can and leave the rest to mother nature! Does anyone have any idea how much of each of the above elements i should add and in what order? I intend to rototill the existing soil several times then add the sand and rototill again and then add the other three elements and again rototill. I would then level and rake before i seed. Another question...i live on the east coast of Scotland so should i wait until May to sow?

Martin I think that's the way to go, viz., getting existing soil right. Guesstimating but equal parts? Not sure it's too critical. I'm at other end of the country and in the west so complete opposite to you but conditions rather than dates are most important when sowing. Usually late march and April for most of us..May can get hot and dry ??? Maybe aim for April?

Thanks for that Verdun and you too SWiss Sue...that cheered me up!!

Yes thanks for the cartoon Sue! Does anyone else find it hard to relax in the garden? I find that I sit down to read a book, or have a drink, and then I see a weed or something that needs pruning and 2 hours later .... Do I need help? 


Quercis_rubur, I'm exactly the same. Take a cuppa, some food, the radio and a newspaper to sit in the garden. My dog settles at my feet ....then I see something to do. We both may need help !


Jess is in the Garden

This won't help you, but we have heavy clay and gave up on grass after 2 years of battling the rising water! Not fun. we had also done everything you plan to do Martin, but the clay won  Now opting for plum slate!



Quercis_rubur and Verdun, it's called Gardeners Disease and there's no known cure for it!

Ecky thump! I'm doomed

Me too, but it's the best kind of disease 

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