Ask a Question forum: Which soil should use to raise the lawn before putting on new sod

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Toronto
TCMONSTER
Jul 5, 2017 12:48 PM CST
I've digged out all the dead grasses for my backyard after the patio is installed. It leaves about 700 sq ft for new sod. Because of the slope of my backyard I also would like to raise the lawn for couple inch (approx. 4 - 5 inch) to make it more balanced for the lawn. I need about 10 cubic yard soil. There are couple different type of soil to choose from: screened topsoil, 50/50 compost/soil mix, or peat loam. Some sod farm companies recommend 50/50 compost/soil mix, some states that a regular screened topsoil is good enough, or either go for peat loam. It seems that 50/50 compost mix has a lot of benefits (e.g. reduce erosion. breaks up clay soils and so on) but it's cost more than screened topsoil. Which one should I use to build this soil foundation before the new sod put on? Thanks
Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
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robynanne
Jul 5, 2017 12:53 PM CST
I'd do the 50/50, and you'll not have to water it so much. I wouldn't use all peat loam at all... but perhaps mix some of that into the compost to help retain water as well. Grass will grow on just about anything so if you want to save money up front, the plain topsoil is fine - if you want to keep it soft and green and don't want to water it constantly though, go for the richer mix.
Toronto
TCMONSTER
Jul 5, 2017 12:56 PM CST
robynanne said:I'd do the 50/50, and you'll not have to water it so much. I wouldn't use all peat loam at all... but perhaps mix some of that into the compost to help retain water as well. Grass will grow on just about anything so if you want to save money up front, the plain topsoil is fine - if you want to keep it soft and green and don't want to water it constantly though, go for the richer mix.


Thanks. I am fine to go a little bit expensive but I need to choose the right one because it's half of the backyard. After the new sod is installed and I wouldn't dig them up again.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jul 5, 2017 1:06 PM CST
If the primary purpose is to raise the level, I would go with screened topsoil because it will have more mechanical strength and will not continue to decompose to the same extent, causing the lawn or parts of it to potentially sink over time as it shrinks. Also you ideally want the added material to be around the same texture as the native soil so as not to create layers with different textures.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Jul 5, 2017 1:06 PM CST
Compost is generally a type of soil that has not finished decomposing.
It will sink, so if you want to raise your yard it is self-defeating to a degree.

When we used to put in new large lawn areas, for either seed or sod, we would compact the soil, compact not make rock hard, before seeding or sodding to there would be no new sunken areas.
Cavities under sod can leave dead spots which can be fixed but are annoying.
I would go with the topsoil.
One thing that does make sod look a lot better and pretty much eliminates brown spots on seams, we used to have tiny one man powered lawn roller and would used that on the sod after laying.
The difference in appearance between sod merely laid , and that rolled, was huge with the rolled sod looking much better.
Toronto
TCMONSTER
Jul 11, 2017 3:21 PM CST
After I've done some research, by raise 5 inch with only top soil it's going to sink after putting the new sod. I'm planning to put a layer of gravel (about 3 inches) as the bedding first before putting the new sod on top. Which one (3/4 Clear Gravel or 3/4 Crushed) is good for drainage under the new sod?

[Last edited by TCMONSTER - Jul 11, 2017 3:29 PM (+)]
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Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Jul 11, 2017 5:48 PM CST
TCMONSTER said:After I've done some research, by raise 5 inch with only top soil it's going to sink after putting the new sod. I'm planning to put a layer of gravel (about 3 inches) as the bedding first before putting the new sod on top. Which one (3/4 Clear Gravel or 3/4 Crushed) is good for drainage under the new sod?


It will still sink if you do not compact it.
If you put in that much gravel you will either be watering a continually or you will have dead spots continually.
When sod is watered heavily continually , roots do not go down they simply stay shallow
Depending on how thick your sod is, I used to do this for a living and getting good thick sod is expensive and hard to find. I have had sod so thin the rolls broke apart in my hands.
Water will pass through two inches of soil very quickly as there is nothing to stop is from doing so.
Water will not be readily available as it will pass through the gravel while grass roots will not.

You could try class 2 crushed granite but that is not cheap .

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