Levelling garden for turf

5 Apr 2010
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United Kingdom
I'm renovating a house and now need to think of a plan with the garden. It's about 1/3 of an acre, and mostly just overgrown grass, bushes and trees.

Pic attached. I want to keep the larger trees and put the rest back to turf for now.

The garden is broadly on the level but bumpy in places (the previous owner's kid apparently made himself a BMX track which hasn't helped).

What do people think is the best way to get a level and clean surface to turf onto?

At the moment I'm planning to manually remove the shed and larger plants, and then get a digger to scrape off a few inches to achieve leave flat clean topsoil, but is that the best way?


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I had a similar job, albeit only about 300 m2, not 1/3 acre. What I did was to kill the vegetation with glyphosate, and dig out perennial roots and stumps. then once all was dead I spread 1" sharp sand (I had drainage issues) and rotavated. That removed the compaction. I then used a rake to level the lawn, Unfortunately there were lots of bits of dead turf to pick up, although it seems not to matter. Raking was a pain, and there are other ways. The result is very good. I then spread seed in autumn, and waited. 6 months later, a nice lawn, a bit patchy at first, but nice now. It was hard work, especially spreading 8 bulk bags of sand. Rotavating using a hired tool took a long day. Don't use small units, they are pants. It wasn't too hard to rotavate.

Scraping the top soil off might be a bad idea unless it is deep. It is typically 6", according to the books, although I seem to have deep fertile stony clay soil.

If you don't need to buy sharp sand, then this won't cost all that much. Sharp sand did add a fair whack to the price. Incidentally, you will soon get weeds and weed grasses ... even if you buy turf ...

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