Do I need to rotavate, or just put top soil down?

25 Apr 2010
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United Kingdom
Sorry for all the questions recently :oops:

I have dug up a flower bed and path (as per another post) and am topping them up with around 4 tonnes of top soil ready for seeding. This is going to require around 3 inches of top soil at the shallowest points, and up to 12 inches in other places.

The cost of hiring a rotavator is quite expensive (given all the other costs involved) and it isn't really practical to do it by hand. Someone had suggested just putting the top soil over the top of the existing soil and since it's going to be a 3+ inch covering it should be ok. Is there any good reason to rotavate the existing soil before putting down additional top soil? The flower bed is reasonably loose anyway, however where the path has been the sub-soil is more compact as you can imagine.

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6 inches of top soil will give a decent lawn even if its thrown on rubbish, as long as drainage is ok.

3 inches is dubious but as long as its not going on hardcore but merely hard subsoil it may be ok.

Its a risk i would say so its up to you to decide if its worth saving the 40 quid
Thank you for the advice. The problem I have is that a rotavator is going to cost best part of £80 once you include VAT and delivery.

HSS do have a light-duty tiller here for £30 a day (and it'd probably fit in the car) but I suspect this won't be up to much.
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You need a 7/8hp machine for lawns any less is just for digging over beds/allotments which have already been cultivated

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