I have 2/3 of my lawn bare and plan to redo it. The soil is compacted and most of the bare area is shaded.

I was thinking of turning the soil over with a rotovator and adding fertilizer before turfing with shade tolerant grass. The area is 32"x16'. I am looking to do the job with the minimum of effort and expenditure. Is it necessary to add fresh topsoil? I am based in London, U.K.

1 Answer 1


No, it's not necessary to add new topsoil, you just need to prepare the area properly by turning it over, removing any weeds by the root and extracting any large pebbles/rocks, level of, walk all over it closely on your heels to get out soft spots, then re rake and re level. Cover the whole area with plenty of Growmmore granules, lightly rake those in, then lay your turf.

There is one caveat though - if the area is shaded most of the day, even shade tolerant grass won't give a thick, lush lawn over time - regular overseeding as time goes on will be necessary, and moss treatments periodically will likely be necessary.

  • a problem with shady areas is not mosses as much as always mowing very low but also removing clippings so that there is no food for the worms.
    – flowerbug
    Apr 25, 2020 at 14:09
  • if you can add some compost during the turning that will help with compaction.
    – flowerbug
    Apr 25, 2020 at 14:10
  • Hi, Thank you for your response. Apr 25, 2020 at 14:32
  • @flowerbug- the OP is in the UK like me ; trust me, there will be moss growth
    – Bamboo
    Apr 25, 2020 at 14:35
  • 1
    @Jean-PierreAubertin - I assume your query is directed at flowerbug, not me... you might want to tag it so flowerbug sees it
    – Bamboo
    Apr 25, 2020 at 16:41

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