Those living on the Ladder / Gardens:
I'm curious to hear about your experiences with relaying your garden lawn with fresh turf.
Good idea if done properly, with rotovating etc for dealing with the clay?
Or waste of (a lot of) money given the terrain, unreliable suppliers or some such?
All sensible views and advice welcome, whether here or via DM.
We had our lawn relaid by bloom gardening http://www.bloomgardening.co.uk. Billie often posts on HOL. They did an excellent job and lawn is looking lovely, despite all its battles with my 9 year old son.
You will need to loosen and possibly remove some soil and add loads of topsoil to the mix. And give the new lawn a month to bed in before walking on it..
Lawns ultimately require loads of work to keep them looking good.
Its not too hard to do yourself. You'll probably need to spend some time loosening the existing soil and removing rocks and other rubbish. As Ben says, you will also need some top soil and to level everthing out before laying the turf.
I live on the Levels and didn't have much trouble with clay. You can check whether you have a problem by digging a few foot deep holes with a shovel around the garden and filling them with buckets of water. If they drain quickly all is ok. If not you might need to do something about the clay or change your plans.
Laying the turf itself is relatively easy. The biggest problem is getting all the soil/rubbish/turf through your house without making too much mess.
Get some decent turf and make sure its healthy/fresh (ie. Not from Homebase). Its not expensive.
You'll end up with some old soil/rubbish to dispose of.
Thanks both - useful advice!
Re drainage, I guess the foxes have done that testing for us and the holes dry up fairly quickly so that doesn't seem to be an issue...
You can use your unwanted foxes to fill the holes as well. Two birds, one stone etc
We also relaid our turf, following a 3 months of our garden being used as building materials storage during our refurbishment which compacted the surface quite badly and killed off the existing mature lawn. I think we got the grass from Amazon - it was excellent quality. We had a fair bit of clay but we turned it over and evened out its distribution pretty crudely. In the first year it became quite water-logged, and subsequently very patchy, but 2 years on it's looking very good. For me the learnings are:
- don't walk on it for the maximum possible period of time
- put as much topsoil as possible/practical
- give it time it to 'fuse' with the undersoil - that I think can take many months
- expect some patches not to catch on - re-seed regularly and don't over-water which i am told forces the grass to set in deeper roots/become more resilient
We've laid turf in this area successfully.
As other contributors have said, good preparation & aftercare are the key to getting the best results.
Here's a good step by step guide from the RHS which will give you an idea of what's involved if you'd like to DIY:
For our own lawn (we're on the ladder) we just used a patch reseeding technique:
Cutting your lawn very regularly (at least weekly in the growing season) is a good way to thicken up the sward & encourage new shoots from the roots (known as rhizomes & tillers)
There's also some advice here on spring & autumn care for your lawn:
For general lawn advice, including how to introduce wild flowers & trouble shooting:
If you want to save some money, it's easy peasy to sow a lawn from seed