Top soil on top of gravel??

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Nick R, Jul 12, 2003.

  1. Nick R

    Nick R LawnSite Member
    from wv
    Posts: 11

    I have a old parking lot in which I like to plant grass. Can I had 3 inches of top soil on top of the gravel and then add grass seed?? Also, this area is lower than my black top, so I could add more soil if needed. Thanks
  2. kickin sum grass

    kickin sum grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 628

    it is not the best situation for growing grass. You will most likely limit the root system to the depth of topsoil. It would grow but probably burn out at first signs of hot and dry. The more soil the better.
  3. GraZZmaZter

    GraZZmaZter LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 740

    The best solution would be to remove the gravel. Than put down topsoil.

    Can you till the gravel?

    The next best solution, if possible would be to till some topsoil into the gravel, than add a nice layer of pure topsoil. This would eliminate the root debth problem.
  4. CMerLand

    CMerLand LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 393

    Im with KSG on this one. Even if you put 6 inches of topsoil down (you dont give dimenenisions but thats alot of soil) your not solving the underlying compaction problem. And considering its a parking lot, I think Im safe in guessing its veryyyy compacted. There will be no way for those roots to penetrate deep enough to keep from drying out in periods without rain.

    Your best bet would be to remove the stone, excavate the area to remove the compaction layer, add your soil, till the area and then do your grading work.

    Its up to you as you know the end results your looking for. You can do it fast or you can do it right, but either way it isnt going to be cheap.

    Good luck

  5. Russ

    Russ LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 539

    If your going to maintain the site do it right. If your not going to maintain it still do it right for the other guy. If you don't somebody is going to have their hands full of compaction and drought stress.
  6. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,944

    I can see where proper install could be a nightmare for time and expence if the lot is big. You did not say.

    No - not soil on top.

    The rototill would be nice, but likely harsh on a tiller.

    But the compaction is probably so severe, that you need to break it first.

    At a golf course I was at, we had a metal box for the back of the John Deere tractor with about 5 giant chisel teeth. We used it to break the gravel paths for re-smoothing them.

    Can you rent something like that to break the compaction and open up the surface?
  7. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    I agree with the guys above. Ever notice the first grass to brown out when we get high temps is the grass adjacent to a driveway of paved area? Reason is, the stone base for the driveway extends beyond the actual blacktop. You will have the same problem here if you dont get the stone out of there.
  8. Nick R

    Nick R LawnSite Member
    from wv
    Posts: 11

    Hi again, This area is at my place and runs next to my blacktopped road. It is about 60' long and is shape like a banana, the widest part is 10' and the nearest part 2'. I'm just a DIY home owner trying to make things look better. I could remove all gravel and rent a tiller. I can keep this area watered in the dry hot periods, I live in West Virginia and it doesn't't get as hot as other parts of the country. Is there any thing I can do to hide this area, like ground cover, shrubs, bushes?? Also my main water line to my house runs under this area, so I don't know about real heavy equipment. My goal is to go from having the worst looking yard on the block to the prettiest. I have done several planting projects this summer, and the neighbors are driving my and commenting how good it is looking. Thanks
  9. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,944

    Sounds a bit like what I grew up with.

    One idea, would be to topdress it with more gravel, like a 1/4 - 10 clean clean crushed rock. About 2" deep.

    If you kept it raked once every 2 months, and sprayed for weeds, it could look decorative.

    It may need a border.

    That would probably require a few hundred dollars for material.

    Have you seen the way that Japanese style gardens look in areas where gravel is put. Its quite nice, but needs to be the smaller crushed stuff, not pea, nor minus with the dirt.

    The clean compacts, but has enough looseness to rake and groom.

    It can also leave additional guest parking.

    It can retain with 2x4 & rebar, or 4x4 or 4x6, or small rocks laid in a row, although I prefer the wood edging.
  10. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    good point MD...reminded me of a job we did at a sloped entrance to an office building...they wanted white crushed stone. For the border, and to hold it, we used larger rounded tan/brown river rock(I think thats what its called) about the size of a cantelope. It really looks nice and after a year looks as good as the day we did it..(we keep it sprayed for weeds of course)

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