Turf Preparation

2 May 2007
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United Kingdom
Hi All
I know that this topic has probably been answered somewhere here already but i cant find specifics.

Basically my garden has a hideous slope and to sort this i have made a path/patio which will give me the level. Its out like, 12 inches in parts.

I have sourced some top soil and hope to get this soon. The area is basically soil already and turf.

One of the biggest problems i have is that i will have to do the garden in 3 or 4 parts and my idea was to build a retaining wall to keep the top soil in. I was thinking of making this out of some timber but not sure what the best thing to make a temporary wall out of.

Here is what i intend to do.

1. Turn the existing turf over to 'kill' it
2. Build a retaining wall to keep the soil in at the correct level
3. Dump the top soil on top of it and level it out using my feet (I was going to use a roller but apparently this isnt good).
4. Level the top soil of at about 2 inches from the top of the slabs (this is the level i want the turf to finish at.
5. Get some sandy loam and dump this all over the area and level again. This should give me about half an inch or an inch height left.
6. Source some decent turf and lay this on top.

Does this sound about right?

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about right. have a good search through the topics. ive done some in depth step by step answers on here

dont use your feet though, use a rake!
On the levelling off bit. If I get the soil down, shouldnt i tread on it to compact it or should i just leave it as it is and level it that way? The reason i ask is beacuse in parts it will be quite deep (ie 12 inches or so).
Heres a really quick question

I am raising the levels in the garden and have a path made of slabs down the side at and the top end of the garden. I know that i need to use topsoil to raise the level and then a quantity of sandy loam on top of that but the question is - where to end the soil and the loam?

If i do the soil thing to the bottom of the slabs and then loam on the top of that to the top of the slab that would give me about 1 inch of loam but if i put the turfs on top of that wouldnt it bit a bit too high?

Anyone know where i should end the soil, start the loam and end the loam?

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two choices really. If you take the turf slightly higher , ie bring the sandy loam up to the top of the slab and then turf on top of it, it will drop back down slightly as it compacts over time. This will allow a mower to pass over the edge of slabs without hitting it (hopefully!)

otherwise if you want the slabs proud then bring the loam slightly lower than the top of the slab
Yes, tread on it with your feet to compact the soil, or it will only sink after you have turfed it.

Then go over it with a rake before turfing, to get rid of the high areas and fill any low areas. This also allows the roots from the new turf to get a hold.

Stagger the joints of the turf like brickwork.

Dont walk directly on the new turf or you will male foot print inentations. Lay a plank onto each row as its laid and walk accross it to bed the turf into the soil you have previously raked.

Butt each turf upto the net turf as tightly as you can. When complete, mix some loam, sharp sand and grass seed in a bucket and apply inbetween the joints to fill any gaps.
Due to the massive area (well to me anyway) of my garden, i have had to split it into thirds, the first third is what i am doing at the moment.

My current situation is that i have almost put down all of the dirt/topsoil. Done 7 tonnes so far and i think i will be putting down another one and half this weekend to finish it off. Once this has been done i will be putting down something like a retaining wall (a temporary one) to keep the dirt in the right place and give me an edge.

One question though, once i have levelled it all off, is it really necessary to buy loam? looking at it, it is quite expensive and i am just wondering whether it is totally necessary or whether i can put some fertilizer or something else down which is cheaper or just lay the turfs onto the top soil i have already put down ie direct.

The top soil i have been using is screened to 1cm but it isnt a 'fine tilth', just trying to save some ££

To loam or not to loam?

Just been on the Rolawn site, looks like it will cost £163 for two 1 tonne bags which should be enough.

Must be a cheaper option, could i mix this up myself? i have a cement mixer. Just want a cheaper option if there is one
loam will give a better result. try local turf suppliers. we get it delivered loose for between 45-50 a m3 dependent on how much we have. 163 for two tonnes is a rip off
Thanks for that. I am almost ready to buy some of this stuff but need to investigate other suppliers but i am having troubles trying to find any.
Is this know as 'loam' or 'sandy loam' etc? I think its because i am searching for something that is only stocked/created by Rowlawn.
loam, sandy loam or levelling soil. whoever you buy it from, make sure its been stored dry
Thanks for that Thermo, i am now trying to source some, not the cheapest of stuff this to be honest but i suppose it has to be done.

One quick question, once i have got the loam/soil etc and i have a level, can i put turf on straight away or should it be left for a while. Is this one of those 'do loam + turf in the same couple of days' things or can/should it be left for a week to settle?

when you put the loam down make sure it is delivered dry. wear gloves as it will draw moisture out of your hands badly.

rake it over roughly level, then lightly tread it down to compact it, by heeling it in. Then rake it again. we normally pull a staright edge over it to get it spot on. then lay the turf over it. We normally do it as soon as possible, as if it gets too wet it becomes like mush. Then stay off it for a good few weeks
Turf now laid and watered. Is there anything else i should be doing other than watering it ie rolling etc?
leave it alone and keep watering it. try not to walk on it. Dont let it grow to long as that will weaken it and dont cut it too short on the first cuts

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