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How to prepare ground for a new lawn


March and early April are the ideal time of year to make a new lawn. The method is the same for sowing seed and laying turf.

Opt for seed if you're happy to wait a few weeks for it to grow, if you've got a 'trouble spot' such as shade or poor soil or if you're after a bowling green-perfect sward.

Laying turf is a good choice if speed matters more to you than cost; quality turf can cost 10 times as much as the equivalent amount of seed. Turf works well if you're on a slope, and if you want a lawn that's very tough and durable.

Whichever method you decide on, prepare the ground in dry weather, but when the soil is moist.

How to do it


Dig the area thoroughly to the depth of a spade to invert and bury weeds. Remove the roots of perennial weeds.


Break down large lumps of soil, then use a fork to roughly level the area. On heavy clay, add 1-2cm of coarse sand.


Shuffle back and forth across the surface, using your heels to firm the soil. Use a rake to break it down to a finer tilth. Check it's level.


Repeat step 3, shuffling at right angles to the original firming. Rake again, holding the rake low to the ground to make it easier to create a level surface.

Discuss this project

Talkback: How to prepare ground for a new lawn
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Angela 53 03/04/2014 at 19:45

Am preparing ground for a new lawn. It will be bricked edged. What level should the ground be in relation to the bricks to make it easy for maintaining good neat lawn edges?
What is the best method for getting and keeping edges neat? I don't get on well with strimmers - I seem to use endless amounts of flex with poor results!

Dave Morgan 03/04/2014 at 20:41

Brick edged lawns are generally level with the lawn so that you can mow straight over the edge without damaging the lawn mower blade. If the lawn edge is tight up against the brick you only get a little bit of grass over the edge of it. Use shears to tidy any stray blade of grass. The tighter the lawn edge to the brick the better.

fairy54 17/10/2014 at 08:47

Hi, my garden is very flinty not level and solid. Lots of weeds looks awful. Should I rotivate, put topsoil on and re seed? If so where is best place to get topsoil please.

Chris Jory 28/08/2015 at 10:48


fairy54 17/10/2015 at 09:49

Hi my garden is flinty, hard and not level. Weedy too....HELP