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In our back garden now, we have mostly sandy topsoil sitting on an old Victorian sea defence, which is shingle. We trucked in literally tons of topsoil about 5 years ago, laid turf and all was well for a year. Then the lawn became very patchy and we could not recover it. We then had a grass expert in who aerated the soil and sowed seeds. It never really came up.

In my very inexperienced view, we have too much sand in our soil. I suspect the top soil we brought in 5 years ago has drained down through the shingle. I suspect that we cannot grow grass because there isn’t enough water retention due to the large particles of sand and stones to which water cannot adhere. Does this sound feasible to those who are more experienced than I am?

My solution is a bit of a radical one which I am not sure will work. I was thinking I need 1) to keep soil above the stones 2) retain water. Does anyone think it would work if I used a water retention fabric used for garden roofs? I would be able to retain the soil and also a bit of water.

My idea would mean that we dig up the sandy soil and add more organic material trying to achieve the balanced loam. We would lay the membrane down on the shingle then relay the soil, (I’m not sure how much), and then either sow seeds again or lay turf again, but this time with a drought and salt resistant grass.

If anyone have any comments, words of advice or experience in any of this, I would be very grateful to listen.
Thank you very much!

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    what part of the world are you in? – Bamboo Apr 26 '20 at 15:14
  • Can you also please post a picture? – Johannes_B Apr 27 '20 at 3:21
  • do you mean along an actual sea as in salt water? – flowerbug Apr 27 '20 at 3:40
  • how deep is the soil? – kevinsky Apr 27 '20 at 11:53
  • Have you considered using 'alternative' lawn plants, e.g. Thymus serpyllum? If you're willing to consider it and start it from plug plants then it might turn out to be a lower effort solution in the long run. – Izy Apr 27 '20 at 17:30

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