Preparing the soil for a new lawn

Installing a new lawn in our yards is a wonderful experience, as we watch our bare soil transform into a lush green lawn, with our many hopes for the future enjoyment the new lawn will bring us.


The importance of preparing the soil for a new lawn cannot be stressed strongly enough. This process creates the foundation for your new lawn and directly affects its ability to take up nutrients and water. If you put the hard work in now then you shouldn’t have to spend the time and effort later trying to correct the flaws that will be later be visible in the lawn if the soil is not prepared correctly. This soil preparation guide is applicable when sowing a lawn from seed and and when laying a lawn from turf.

The time taken to prepare the soil can vary greatly depending on the size of the new lawn, the previous use of the lawn site and the soil type.

The first step in preparing the soil is to remove any large objects that are on the soil surface, this includes old paving stones, bricks, stones, tin cans etc. If there is a layer of concrete or heavy paving stones that need removing you may consider hiring some stone breaking machinery (either machines or hand operated).

After this is complete you should inspect the lawn area for perennial weeds such as the ever common nettles, thistles and dock leaves and other nuisances such a brambles. Depending on your findings you can either dig our the weeds by their tap root or if the ground is covered in them you may want to use a chemical weed killer such as 2-4-D. For more information see lawn weeds and lawn weedkiller. If you do use a weedkiller then make sure to double check the manufacturers instructions regarding amounts to use per x ft square before application.

If not using weedkiller then do not just cut the weeds, dig them out by getting the tap root so they are permanently removed and don’t re-appear after a few months. Once you have removed the weeds add them to a pile and then burn them once all have been dug up.

If your lawn site already contains an old lawn or other vegetation trim the vegetation down so that it is near ground level. Machines can be hired / bought that will remove a thin layer of turf from existing old lawns. Alternatively old grass can be removed by removing turves with a spade. You can then stack these old turfs upside down and the old grass will decompose and form compost.

Now that the lawn site is clear of debris and vegetation is is necessary to get rid of any tree and shrub stumps / major roots that remain in the …


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