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New Lawn laying over where Patio Used to be!

Discussion in 'Lawns' started by Chris Brown, Jun 6, 2018.

  1. Chris Brown

    Chris Brown Apprentice Gardener

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    Hello all,

    I'm looking to lay a lawn (from turf) into my back yard where a patio used to be. The patio was sitting on a hardcore base. I have lifted the patio last year but then other more urgent work came up so have put off the lawn until now. I still need to lift the hardcore.

    What I was wondering was (and I know this is difficult to answer with the information I have provided I'm just looking for a rough nudge int he right direction) what kind of quality soil I have under the hardcore given that what used to be a patio is now covered in patches of a kind of grass like substance, thistles, nettles and a few other weeds which I can't identify. I will admit I have let it get away from me.

    My plan was to clear the space, lift the hardcore, rotavate what soil is under there and then lay some top soil on top of that heel it in and put the turf on top does this seem sensible, and what depth of top soil would people generally recommend for this kind of situation.

    As an additional note I was planning on using rolawn turf - just wondering what opinions people had on this?

    The yard is 48 by 30 foot so if I need to lay 150mm of top soil that is a lot of soil I need and given then it's growing a lot of "Stuff" at the moment I thought I'd as for some advice first.

    Sorry if this has been posted before I'm sure there are similar threads but google didn't really give me much.

    Thanks & Kind Regards,

    Chris
     
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    • JWK

      JWK Gardener

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      Welcome to the forum Chris.

      I think it's impossible to answer what sort of soil may lay underneath the hardcore. It's dependent on so many things, the builder who made the patio may have laid the hardcore directly over the top of the existing soil (unlikely) or scraped off the topsoil down the the subsoil level (more likely). If the site is on a slope maybe the builder graded the existing soil to make it level?

      It's a good sign that nettles are growing there as they like a high fertility soil, so there is likely to be something good underneath.

      You need to dig a couple of holes to see for yourself, take some photos of it so we can help.

      Then you'll be able to estimate the volume of top soil you need to add to get it to whatever proposed level you want.
       
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      • Chris Brown

        Chris Brown Apprentice Gardener

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        Thank you JWK I thought that might be the case what with me painting half a picture.

        I took a couple of pictures last night (please don't judge me I did say I let it get out of control) :)

        This is the various fauna that is growing in there at the moment (there are nettles in there somewhere my legs will attest to that)

        [​IMG]

        [​IMG]

        [​IMG]

        And I dug a little hole too, it looks like hard core, sand and then soil which is fairly rocky

        [​IMG]

        I can dig a bigger hole if need be.

        Kind Regards,

        Chris
         
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        • JWK

          JWK Gardener

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          Hi Chris, I think you need to go down about 18" to see what is there. That looks all hardcore and substrate.

          What level are you going to achieve with the new lawn? It will obviously cost more to remove all the hardcore etc so only remove what you need to.
           
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          • Chris Brown

            Chris Brown Apprentice Gardener

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            Hi John, Thanks for the reply. I will dig to that depth after work and get a picture.

            To be honest (it's probably blindingly obvious) this is my first gardening / landscaping project so am completely new to most of this. In order to lay turf I (think) I need to remove all the Hard core so in order to get it back up to level I would need to replace that with some kind of earth and and then top soil on top of that.

            The lawn isn't by any means going to be a bowling green I just want grass for the kids and dogs - does that make any difference to what I would need to do at all?

            Kind Regards,

            Chris
             
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            • JWK

              JWK Gardener

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              Yes that's good information, and I guess you don't have unlimited budget so you don't want to remove stuff unnecessarily. As long as the biggest rubble chunks are removed you may get away with a few inches of imported topsoil.
               
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              • Gail_68

                Gail_68 Plant a little love, watch a miracle grow.

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                  Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
                • Chris Brown

                  Chris Brown Apprentice Gardener

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                  I dug a bit deeper and took some photos.

                  [​IMG]

                  [​IMG]

                  [​IMG]

                  Kind Regards,

                  Chris
                   
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                  • JWK

                    JWK Gardener

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                    That looks good to me. On top it looks like a couple of inches of sand, underneath that another couple of inches of small stones/hardcore. Underneath that looks like a good rich dark peaty soil.

                    Where is your location Chris? Only asking as that's an unusual soil type and rather than being peat it may be a loamy clay . You can check your soil type here by putting in your postcode:
                    Soilscapes soil types viewer - National Soil Resources Institute. Cranfield University

                    What is probably your main priority is to get rid of any weeds before they produce seeds which will come up later and spoil your new lawn.

                    If you don't mind chemicals then spray with a weedkiller that kills everything it touches, something containing glyphosate (often called Roundup) like this:
                    Roundup Fast Action Weedkiller 1L | Wilko

                    Or pull up by hand anything that has already flowered and is seeding.

                    It doesn't look like a big job to me, I'd be tempted to handpick the worse bigger lumps of hardcore then rotavate as you originally suggested to mix up the sand with some of the soil underneath. Then add some topsoil - I doubt you would need 150mm of topsoil - you could get away with less.
                     
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                    • JWK

                      JWK Gardener

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                      If you do use a weedkiller make sure you choose a still day and keep the spray away from any other plants - and read the label. Sorry if you knew that - I am pointing out the obvious.
                       
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                      • Chris Brown

                        Chris Brown Apprentice Gardener

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                        John,

                        Thank you so much for taking the time to reply with so much detail. I live in Carlisle that map (Awesome resource btw) suggests my soil is "Slowly permeable seasonally wet slightly acid but base-rich loamy and clayey soils" is that bad?

                        Kind Regards,

                        Chris
                         
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                        • JWK

                          JWK Gardener

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                          That is a very good soil especially for grass plus all the rainfall you get in Carlisle will help establish a good lawn. Your soil looks nice and deep so I'm sure you should have no problems in the long run.

                          I have no experience about which turf to use, I guess rolawn will be good as it is a well known brand but probably expensive. There are some folk on here with proper experience @Liz the pot may be able to help with Topsoil and Turf selection.
                           
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                          • Chris Brown

                            Chris Brown Apprentice Gardener

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                            John,

                            You are filling me with a lot of confidence here. Thank you very very much for all your time, effort and help.

                            I will be sure to post some pictures once done!

                            Thank you again!

                            Kind Regards,

                            Chris
                             
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                            • Tetters

                              Tetters Total Gardener

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                              I suppose that`s just the kinda guy he is :love30:.......:heehee:
                               
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                              • Liz the pot

                                Liz the pot Gardener

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                                Pop along to your local landscape merchant and see what they stock.
                                They will have all you need in regards to soil and turfs. Avoid any turf that has wire in it though.
                                Worth noting some years are better than others with turf but generally it’s ok.
                                 
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