Lawn topdressing: Why, When and How To Do It

lawn topdressing

lawn topdressing

Topdressing a lawn is the process of introducing a mixture of materials to a lawn to improve the look, level and add nutrients to a lawn. This gardening method is widely used across gardening services for clients.


The materials used to topdress include sand, soil, loam, and peat which are mixed together to replicate what was already in the existing soil in terms of composition. Introducing these materials would blend in the present soil.


Why should I top dress a lawn?

There are many benefits for topdressing a lawn, below we have specified why you should add it to a low maintenance routine:

  • Topdressing your lawn regularly prevents the buildup of thatch – it helps to dilute the layer of thatch and naturally breaks it down.
  • Topdressing helps keep the lawns surface level and is done by filling smaller holes and bumps in a lawn with the topdressing mix.
  • To improve a lawn’s drainage, sand is a material in the topdressing mix that firms the surface and is very effective when applied during the aerating process – which allows the sand to work its way down deep into the soil layers.
  • The overall lawns resilience is improved.
  • Stimulate the grass growth in your lawn by improving the overall lawn structure and grassroots.
  • Most quality topdressing mixes consist of nutrients to give the grass plants want they need to thrive.

Which top dressing for my lawn?

  • For loam-based lawn – In between the other types of soil you can use a mix that contains three parts loam, one part peat, and three parts sand.
  • For sand-based lawn – Sand-based lawns normally have good drainage so are more likely to suffer from drought during the spring and summer so it’s best to use a more loam and peat-based topdressing.
  • For clay-based lawns – Clay lawns are notorious for suffering from drainage issues and during the wetter seasons, it’s best to work in loam and sand-based topdressing.


When is the best time to topdress your lawn?

The ideal time to consider topdressing your lawn would be during the growing period which is usually between March and October. it is best practice to do topdressing in early spring or late autumn to line up with general lawn maintenance practices.

We would agree that the best time to carry out topdressing is when you would be carrying out other lawn maintenance tasks like aerating, scarifying, and overseeding.

How often?

This all depends on each lawn and the current quality of the soil – we recommend that once a year is minimal and cannot do any harm.


How to apply lawn top dressing?

Mow the lawn on the day preferably on a dry day.

Place your top dressing into a number of small piles and place them evenly around the lawn. This means you will have a pile of soil every few meters across the lawn area.

Spread each pile over the area allocated to it. You can do this by scooping it up with your spade and flinging it into the allocated area or using the back of a rake to push and pull it into position.

Finally, you need to brush or work the top dressing into the grass and dips. You can only get so far with the back of a rake so now you need either a stiff brush or leveling lute to move and agitate the dressing into the turf. It’s slow work but a little care and time will reward you with a much smoother surface. If you don’t work it into the hollows properly you can make the lawn bumpy.

If this is done as part of a quality lawn care program then a ‘top dresser’ or heavy-duty drop spreader is the only way to go plus a lute is essential for evenly working in the top dressing.

Overseeding if required, is best done now.




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