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Soil Prep For Your New Lawn

Category: Lawn Grading

So you have decided to redo your Richmond lawn. There is nothing more important to your new lawn as how well you prepare your soil. This one part of the whole process can negate any future efforts if not done properly. In this article I will try to help you through these steps to aid you in having a luscious green lawn.

The benefits to preparing your soil properly will pay you back tenfold with good uniformity and density to less use of fertilizer and water. Let’s not forget the most important part, less maintenance. There is a bit of a balancing act involved with growing a beautiful full lawn that you need to know in order to prepare your soil properly. The four factors in this balancing act are; air, water, nutrients, and sunlight. The sun typically will take care of its self so all you need to worry about is the air, water, and nutrients. These three factors all come from the soil which you are responsible for. Too much or too little of any of these and you will have problems sustaining a nice green lawn. Unless brown is more your color.

Now let’s start to work. The first thing in soil prep for your new grass will be removing the existing overburden on the land. Weather it is rocks, weeds, or an existing (albeit frustrating) lawn, you have to remove it in order to get the ground right for planting. This is where most people get cheap. I cannot stress this enough, if you do not want all your hard work and efforts in planting your new lawn to be in vain then you have to prep your soil properly.

For a new lawn the recommended depth of new soil should be between 4-6 inches. So to start you need to remove all existing sod and any material in the soil that is 2 inches or bigger (ex. Stumps, rocks, debris). If you are doing a small plot then you could accomplish this step with nothing more than a spade shovel and a rake. But for a full large lawn you may want to go down to your local rental shop and ask to rent a few things. First you will need a sod cutter to remove all existing sod and roots. This will help prevent old grass and weeds from growing through your new lawn.

Once you have all the overburden striped off the land then you will need to have your soils ph tested. You can usually have this done at a local nursery or garden center in your area. While you are there you should ask them what type of soil you have as well. This bit of information will help you in deciding what amendments (fertilizer, lime, sulphur) you will need to put in your soil in order for your roots to grow into it well. Most likely you will need to add something to your soil in order to have an ideal bed to plant your grass on. Due to differences from place to place when it comes to soil type, temperature, and precipitation, I will not get into the different types of soils and amendments in this article since you can get all this info from an expert in your area.

Now it is time to go back to the rental store to rent a tiller and water/lawn roller. First you should start by tilling all the compacted soil in the area you stripped earlier, remembering to pull out any rocks or debris that are over 2 inches in size. After tilling is done you should rough grade the land so there are no low spots that will collect water. When Richmond rough grading you need to take into account the slope of the land. Make sure your lawn is not going to drain water to your house and if it does you need to fix this problem. If substantial grading is required you may need to consult with a local landscaping company so you get this part right. In some municipalities it is illegal to divert water runoff onto someone else’s property so you may need to put in a retaining wall and/ or drain tile to deal with excess water runoff/build up.

Next step is to start spreading out a starter fertilizer and soil conditioner. Once again your garden supply store or nursery will best suited to tell you how much you will need for your climate and soil conditions. On a side note, if you have enough, compost can be used for a really good soil conditioned and it will save you money at the same time.

Once all soil amendments have been added you will have to go back to the till and till the amendments into the soil. Now that your amendments have been added, a little more rough grading will fill in any of the low spots your may have missed on the first pass. With that part done the last step is to roll the area with the water roller to compact the soil to a light firmness.

Your nursery or garden supply center may suggest to you that you will need to add topsoil to your yard in order to get the proper soil conditions. If that is the case you may be able to just till the ground and add your soil. This method should get rid of the need for amendments in your lawn. Like before, your nursery or garden supply center will know best for the area and you should listen to their recommendations over any other.

Thank you for taking the time to read through my article and I am sure with a little hard work and determination you too can have a lawn your Richmond neighbors will envy.


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