You don't need topsoil to grow a lawn. Most professional sports venues
have zero topsoil, the sod grows on a blend that is at least 90% sand.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards had to completely redo their field last year
because the organic matter had built up on its own from <1% to >17% in
Topsoil does, however, generally make it easier for the average
homeowner to grow grass because it holds moisture longer than sand, but
topsoil is not a requirement.
Bob Smith wrote:
Six inches of good top soil should be enough for an excellent lawn.
You can get by with less, say 4 inches, but the tradeoff is it will
likely need to be watered more frequently during dry spells to keep it
green, unless whatever is underneath retains moisture well. If your
doing it from scratch, some extra bucks to make sure you have six
inches of good top soil, rich in organic material, ie compost, peat
moss, etc. is well worth it. It's easy to do it right and impossible
to fix later.
email@example.com wrote in message
firstname.lastname@example.org (Chet Hayes) wrote in message
What I have is a 10' x 10' area that I have removed
some 'decorative' broken brick gravelly stuff from (the kids were
throwing it in the grass, trying to assasinate my lawnmower).
I removed the brick stuff, and still have 3-4" deep of broken rocks
broken down tarmac, then clay soil. I was going to buy 2-3" worth of
topsoil to replace the 2-3" of brick stuff, when I found this picture
some grass roots:
I may add a few sacks of compost, perhaps some of that moisture
retaining gel or formiculite. Am I right in thinking the clay will
keep the water from draining away?
That sounds like the right approach, adjust your topsoil to make
a decent grade. I'd be more concerned with the broken rock or
stuff, than I would be with the clay.
The broken rock may inhibit root growth and increase the soil
temperature in that area, resulting in a blighted look during
hot weather. Can you remove the rest of the rock before adding
I was hoping not to do that. The amount of 'decorative' rubble I
removed (2-3") is sitting in a massive pile next to my front gate. It
is the same material as my driveway, so I may do a "Great Escape" and
spread it around there.
The other tarmac (US=ashphalt?) and hardcore I removed equals some
20-30 bags. Hard work to remove, and then I have to dispose of it.
I would estimate at least this amount remaining, and was hoping to
save some effort by just putting topsoil on top.
Since I live in England, hot temperatures do not worry me! Although a
piece of lawn adjacent to my rocky area does look a little hay
coloured at times, I had put it down to a sensitive ornamental grass
that colonised / took over that area. It is a fine grass, and seems
to green up if I douse it. Maybe it also has the tarmac/hardcore
The clay does hold water. I have dug deeper for a flower bed, down to
the clay. When it rained, puddles remained in my trench.
For those of you who you are stuck with an existing lawn that has less than
ideal soil, a useful technique is to topdress annually with a rich organic
material (compost). It isn't much work if you can find a company that has a
blower truck. They'll drive up in a big truck and blow compost over your
lawn to the depth you specify.
(Please Note: My email address has changed; see headers).
"Chet Hayes" < email@example.com> wrote in message
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