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View Full Version : New lawn installation.. How much good topsoil?


mrusk
03-16-2006, 03:56 PM
Well i am slowly working my way up from the bottom! I did a couple lawn installations last year for contractors that just wanted a quick, cheap job. Well now i have some customers that want a top notch lawn so i figure i'd ask you guys for advice.

This lot seems to have crumpy soil. I figure once i get all the neccesary grading done, i will harley rack all the rocks out of it. It will take two passes to get it good. Then i figured i'd spread 2'' of topsoil over the area. Last i figured i'd hit it up again with the harley rake down enough to mix the top soil in with the native soil.

Is 2'' of top soil enough or do i need more?

sheshovel
03-16-2006, 04:54 PM
You should add compost or amendment as well..what do you mean by "crumpy?

Ollie3
03-16-2006, 05:14 PM
I'll have to agree with Sheshovel.

Ollie.

olderthandirt
03-16-2006, 05:41 PM
No topsoil. Work up the existing soil deep. and plant with a god mixture of seed. By adding topsoil your training the roots to stay shallow where the "good" soil is. and thats makes for a bad lawn.

freddyc
03-16-2006, 06:08 PM
No topsoil. Work up the existing soil deep. and plant with a god mixture of seed. By adding topsoil your training the roots to stay shallow where the "good" soil is. and thats makes for a bad lawn.



He indicated that he would be mixing up the top soil with the existing soil.

The stuff already there might be as good as the new stuff.

Ammendments would be a good idea as needed.

olderthandirt
03-16-2006, 06:14 PM
He indicated that he would be mixing up the top soil with the existing soil.

The stuff already there might be as good as the new stuff.

Ammendments would be a good idea as needed.

Waste of time and money, grass will grow in pretty much any soil with a neutral PH

And he's gonna be mixing the top with a Harley rake so he's still only gonna be mixing the top couple inches

hole in one lco
03-16-2006, 06:33 PM
Waste of time and money, grass will grow in pretty much any soil with a neutral PH

And he's gonna be mixing the top with a Harley rake so he's still only gonna be mixing the top couple inches
bingo bring in soil only if you need to bring it up to grade ............... test the soil and see what it needs or doesn't.

mrusk
03-16-2006, 07:47 PM
Ok. So how do i test the soil to see what amenedments it will need? Adding amendments is way better than adding an extra 3k in topsoil and $1200 in labor onto the estimate!

Matt

olderthandirt
03-16-2006, 08:36 PM
Ok. So how do i test the soil to see what amenedments it will need? Adding amendments is way better than adding an extra 3k in topsoil and $1200 in labor onto the estimate!

Matt

PH Meter measures the acidity in soil to see how much lime to add if needed
Cost $15

sheshovel
03-16-2006, 09:14 PM
To get top notch results..requires top notch work and top notch soil..you sure can't hurt by adding organic matter to any soil.Most likely the soil that you have to start with is NOT top soil because that wast scraped off when the builder put in the pad for the home.SO I highly recommend improving soil structure and organic matter content by adding well aged weedless compost for new seeding.

mrusk
03-16-2006, 09:39 PM
sheshovel- Elaborate on the compost. What kind should it be? How much should i use? I want to do a top notch job. This is a 35 house sub divison, and this customer is the first one moving in. I want to make sure he has a great lawn buy the time other people move in.

BTW the lawn in between 17000-20000 sq ft. Not having to bring in top soil will help me try and stick to customers budget some what.

godzilla
03-16-2006, 10:03 PM
If I was you I'd see about getting composted leaves, some dehydrated horse / cow manure, maybe some aged grass clippings, etc. Mix all that into the existing soil with the harley rake and you should be doing well. Plus it will be cheap to get less the trucking.

olderthandirt
03-16-2006, 11:30 PM
sheshovel- Elaborate on the compost. What kind should it be? How much should i use? I want to do a top notch job. This is a 35 house sub divison, and this customer is the first one moving in. I want to make sure he has a great lawn buy the time other people move in.

BTW the lawn in between 17000-20000 sq ft. Not having to bring in top soil will help me try and stick to customers budget some what.

After doing over 1500 new lawn installs over the yrs all 10,000 sq. ft and larger I can assure you that you don't need to add amendments. It won't hurt but its not necessary to get a great looking lawn. Use the money that you save to install irrigation. The benefits will far out weigh any amendments you put down.

mrusk
03-16-2006, 11:50 PM
In my area only 1% of the homes have irrigation. Only the richy richy have them here! So thats pretty much out of the question. I am going to have to use some major selling skills to close the deal on this job. The customers budget was only 15k. Thats for a 17-20k sq lawn installation, 500sq of paver walkways, and a 3x75 retainingwall. I think i can make it work for $20,000 but its going to be close.


I'm going to do the soil test and see how it goes. What do you guys use to seed the lawns? Broadcast spreader or some kind of slit seeder? After you guys blow straw on the lawn do you roll it or anything?

Matt

sheshovel
03-17-2006, 12:37 AM
Well don't use grass clippings or manure..they have weeds in them..I would throw on a few yards of mushroom compost.I f you don't have any supplier for tgood weedfree compost then don't worry about it..make sure you get really good top of the line seed though..I use a broadcast seeder..I don't know that much about slit seeding at all.And I dont cover with straw I use a seed topper by Kellogg..but that would not be cost effective on this job for you.

east sooke man
03-17-2006, 12:47 AM
also depending on the soil structure you may want to add some sand, especially if the soil has a lot of clay content. Mixing in a half inch of sand in the top two inches will improve drainage, discourage some weeds, and make the final grading easier.

Grassmechanic
03-17-2006, 10:01 AM
also depending on the soil structure you may want to add some sand, especially if the soil has a lot of clay content. Mixing in a half inch of sand in the top two inches will improve drainage, discourage some weeds, and make the final grading easier.
Never, EVER, EVER add sand to a clay soil. Sand (large particle) + Clay (small particle) = Cement! Organic matter will loosen clay soils and improve drainage better than sand without the unnecessary compaction.

Dstosh
03-17-2006, 07:16 PM
^ Exactly, Good Info