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new lawn

I posted this on the Homeowner's Forum, but got little help. Would appreciate any info.

Hello all,

I'm new to the site. My brother in law recommended it. Hope you all are well. I'm Adam, from Lexington, KY via Alexandria, KY. I have a question about how to get the most out of my yard. My wife and I are building a home in Lexington, and we would like to know what we have to do in order to have a healthy bed for grass to grow. Topsoil in Lexington is very high in clay, so we are trying to figure out a way to get the clay to become good topsoil. Is that possible? What are your all's suggestions for new lawns. I'm still going to raise hell with the developer and tell them they need to provide better quality topsoil than what is there now. So, if I get that accomplished, I guess I'll just put down a 1/2 inch compost and let them do the sodding. Is that the right way to go?

I guess a way of asking is this: If you were in my shoes, what would you do to give your new lawn the best chance of getting a good start, getting a healthy root system, and a good base from which to grow?

The developer was planning on getting sod in by the end of October. Is that a good time? I want some ammo to take to this guy so I don't get screwed. I REALLY TRULY appreciate any info. Thanks a million.

Adam Eads



LawnSite Member
madison, WI
I live much north of you and I would still sod until the end of October here. I use mostly organic methods so I like that you plan to use compost but you need MUCH more than 1/2". One half inch spread across the surface will have scant effect and do almost nothing to loosen the clay. Something like 4-6" would be better and till that in. Now you are talking about some major work best left to a pro IMHO. If you decide to skip that expense before laying the sod you will probably end up having the lawn aerated annually and then topdressed with 1/4" to 1/2" of compost annually, way more expensive. Or you could resod every couple years. Don't worry that it is late in the season for sod until you've had a couple hard frosts. Be sure to water your new lawn regularly.