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I have a 12x12 brick patio that I have removed the brick from and intend on laying sod over. The base soil is sand, it is about 6"-12" deep (depending on area) and sits ontop of plastic weed barrier. I plan on mixing in top soil with the sand to make for a friendly growing environment for the sod.

I live in Denver, CO which is pretty aired. Should I be concerned about the plastic weed barrier that sits 6-12" under the sand or just leave it be and start mixing in the top soil?

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  • Given that you have sand that had been under a patio, that sand will have been compacted when the patio was laid. How are you planning on "uncompacting" it? Twelve inches of sand under a patio is unusual; normally, there would be 3-6 inches of compacted base gravel with one inch of compacted sand on top. I'm assuming that you've confirmed that there really is 12" of sand there. Is this assumption correct?
    – Jurp
    Apr 10 at 23:18
  • @Jurp mostly correct, the deepest area is 12" while some areas are closer to 6", I have updated the question accordingly. I plan to uncompact it when I mix in the topsoil... It will be quite the "fun" day when I do. I just wonder, since I'll be doing all that digging to mix the top soil, should I just rip out that barrier while I'm at it? Apr 10 at 23:37
  • Ill post a picture of the texture Apr 10 at 23:44

2 Answers 2

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If possible, I would rip out the weed barrier so that the topsoil (such as it is) will have some contact with the subsoil. At the same time, I would remove at least have of the sand because it'll do your lawn no favors - during dry spells, you'll most likely wind up with a 12' x 12' area of brown grass. Unless you plan to maintain your lawn like it's a golf course, you'll always have a "bad spot" in the lawn. When you do add the topsoil, mix it thoroughly with the additional sand. Be sure to not add any additional organic matter when you do this! See here for the science behind that; here's a relevant quote from that article:

...the problem with this practice is that within 10 years (conservatively) the organic amendment will have decomposed; one is then left with the original soil, which will have subsided and compacted during this time. You can see evidence of this practice by looking at older residential lawns; the lawns slope away from sidewalks and driveways and are inches below grade of surrounding surfaces. There is no way to incorporate additional amendment into permanent landscapes without damaging root systems.

So, how do you get rid of the sand? Social media works well - a post like "Free sandbox sand!" should be all it takes.

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Ripping it out may add an additional element of "fun" and take a lot of time. While not having it there would be "more ideal" simply poking it full of holes with a garden fork while mixing soils would be a lot less added effort with similar effect.

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  • Or there's leaving the sand base alone and installing fake grass, given the arid location and related need for irrigation to have sod at all, but presumably you've made your decision on that front.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 11 at 13:27

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