Topsoil and Turf question

23 Apr 2013
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United Kingdom
Hi everyone,

I have a reasonable sized garden which I am preparing to lay turf. When I moved in the garden was in a bad state and was pretty much mostly overgrown with several unwanted trees etc. These have now been removed and the garden was dug over a little with a mini digger removing most of the grass, leaving a pretty barren ground and lots of Henbit weeds.

I have built a path which is raised up and runs down the centre of the garden - I want to use this to get the levels for the lawn either side so will be filling with topsoil and turfing. It has been estimated I will need around 30 tons or so of topsoil.

What I want to know is how much the topsoil will compact over time? The depth is ranging from 12" to 6" across the length of the lawn area which iis about 13 metres long so in areas can be pretty deep.

What would be the best way of going about this? It has been suggested by some frineds that in the deepest areas I should add some soil to around 5" below the surface and run over it with a wacker plate, compacting it by around an inch then add 6 inches of un-compacted topsoil over the top to bring me up to the turfing level.

I want to know if this is the best approach - I don't want to pay out for nice turf if its going to end up lumpy etc. after a year.

A few people have also suggested laying some weed control fabric under the soil to prevent any weeds growing through, although I'm questioning this after reading a couple of forums.

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That's a decent depth to bring up in one go. Forget about the wacker plate it doesn't drive forward on soil and will just bounce around and bring loads of water to the surface. Ideally you want a good heavy roller. A roller on a mini-tractor or even a vibrating tarmac roller but with the vibrate turned off.

Failing that a normal water/sand filled roller will do but you'd need to do it in 50mm lifts as it won't really compact more than that at one time.

Bring it up 1 inch short of your final level and then lay 25mm of grit sand (also rolled) which is easier to level and will get the turf rooted quicker and better.

At the end of the day a areas will settles differently and you don't want a very over compacted lawn so you just need to do the best you can and then be prepared to top dress it after a year or two.

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