How much top soil for new lawn?

I just had a new basment put in under my house. I now have a large area of nothing but pure clay in the front yard. I'd like to have fresh black dirt brought in and have the yard topped off. The guy at the local landscaping shop said the go with about 2". Is this enough dirt to grow good grass? Anything special I should do before I plant the new lawn? What type of grass grows good in the Northern U.S. ? The lawn will have partal shade, and some foot traffic.
Thanks,
Steve
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A bluegrass lawn is best. About 6 inches of topsoil is about right. You may have to remove some of the clay and regrade the subsoil to get an even distribution of topsoil.
Derryl snipped-for-privacy@shaw.ca

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I doubt very much that 2" will give you a healthy root system.
Six inches may be enough, but I used up to about a foot, to level out a bowl-shaped lawn. That was 40 years ago. I have found that I do not need to water my lawn,even during our Pennsylvania droughts, (deep roots) and I haven't fertilized it for at least ten years, maybe twenty. I just mow it high, 3", with a mulching mower and let the clippings lie.
vince norris
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Two inches of topsoil is probably enough; but, six to twelve would be better. However, you then get into issues of grading and economics. Go with a mixed grass lawn that's been blended for your locale. [I would recommend purchasing it from a reputable local garden center rather than a hardware store; it might be a tad more expensive there, but you are far more likely to get a local blend rather than whatever major distributor the hardware store has contracted with this year.] Not every grass does as well in every set of microconditions. Even small variations in sun/shade, nutrients, and moisture can affect growth. With a mixed seed, you'll maximize the probability that all parts of your lawn will be colonized by an appropriate grass. If you really want to go for high-quality soil prep, get a couple of inches of topsoil spread, till it in, and then spread a couple more inches on top of that. Remember to tamp the seed into place, protect against erosion, and water lightly daily until new growth is well-established. If there are places that will have DAILY foot-traffic, you might as well figure out something else for them than lawn -- stepping stones, a path, etc. Grass simply will not thrive with daily wear.
Chris Owens
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