When you have a house in a residential neighborhood, it’s hard not to compare your lawn to the ones around you. And, yours can certainly “stand out” if it isn’t as well maintained as the other lawns on your block. Using a combination of topsoil and mulch together, you can improve your lawn either by helping it to grow in the bare patches or by regrowing it from scratch. Soil and mulch calculators make attaining that beautiful green lawn even easier.
Remove Your Original Lawn
If you have a yard that’s struggling, it may be best to simply replace your lawn. The first step when doing so is removing what’s currently there. One option is to cover or smother the lawn with wet cardboard, newspaper, or black plastic. This covering blocks out the light that the grass needs to survive. The best time to do this is in the summer, when the heat helps speed up the process of killing what’s already there.
Before putting down the covering, make sure to mow the grass. After placing the covering down, top it with some mulch, grass clippings, or compost. Leave your lawn covered for around at least two months so there’s enough time for the grass to die. Once it has, remember to remove any plastic that you put out.
Another way you can get rid of your original lawn is to use herbicides. Just follow the instructions on the product’s label in order to kill off the grass. If you have sod, rent a sod cutter or use a flat shovel to cut and roll up the sod.
With your original lawn gone, you’ll be ready for a fresh start!
Using Topsoil for Your New Lawn
The foundation of a healthy lawn is healthy soil. If you don’t have enough high-quality soil in your lawn already, then you can use topsoil to grow grass better. Topsoil is a nutrient-rich layer of soil that’s on the top layer of earth (generally found 5-10 inches deep), but you can also buy some at any garden or home improvement store.
It’s a good idea to get topsoil that matches the texture of the soil in your lawn, so it’s important to do a soil test and check what’s in the topsoil product you’re buying. You can get a topsoil test done professionally by sending off a sample to a testing laboratory, or you can do a pH test yourself with a home kit.
Determine the Amount of Topsoil You Need
The general rule is that you want to have a topsoil depth of 4-6 inches all across your lawn to ensure there’s enough room for the grass roots to grow. Note that this depth should be the measurement after the topsoil has firmed.
To find out how many tons or cubic yards of topsoil you need, you can plug in the measurement of your lawn along with the depth of topsoil you want into a topsoil calculator. That way, you’ll be able to know exactly how much to buy at your local home and garden store.
Lay the Topsoil and Lawn
Once you have your topsoil, you can go ahead and evenly spread it across your lawn with a rake. Then, use a tiller to mix the topsoil into the existing soil beneath it. Next, grab the rake again to smooth out the surface of the lawn.
It’s up to you if you want to use grass seeds to grow your lawn or if you’d rather use sod. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, for instance, while sod is more expensive, it works immediately, and while grass seed is less expensive, it takes time to grow. But, with either option, you’ll know that you did your part to make sure your lawn has the healthiest foundation possible for growth.
Use Mulch to Help Lawn Growth
Using mulch for your lawn can further promote its health. Mulch helps the soil retain moisture, prevents weeds from sprouting up, and regulates the soil temperature. When growing grass with seeds, simply scatter a thin layer of mulch on top.
You can calculate the amount of mulch needed by hand – find out the volume of the space you need to fill with mulch, and then figure out how many pounds or bags of mulch you’d need by knowing its density, it can be a cumbersome task especially if math is not your strength. Just like how a topsoil calculator can give you the amount of topsoil you need, a mulch calculator can tell you how much mulch to get in either bags or in bulk depending on the measurements of the area you’re working with.
Take Care of Your Lawn
After all that effort you put in to fix your lawn, you’ll want to make sure you look after your hard work. Here are some general guidelines for proper lawn maintenance:
- Remember to water your lawn as needed, depending on the weather.
- Mow your lawn when the grass is dry.
- When mowing, only take off the top third of the grass blades and never cut the grass shorter than 2 inches in height.
- Leave the grass clippings on your lawn since they’ll provide some extra nutrients.
- Get rid of weeds, pulling them from the roots or using an appropriate herbicide.
Using topsoil and mulch are great ways to improve your lawn, and with a topsoil calculator and a mulch calculator, it’s easy to figure out how much of both you need. Get ready to have the best-looking lawn on the block!
Cindy is a freelance writer and editor with previous experience in marketing as well as book publishing. Along with her content writing for a diverse portfolio of clients, Cindy’s work has been featured in Thrillist, The Points Guy, Forbes, and more.