Garden Advice

How to Topdress a Lawn

Is there anything that your lawn is missing? You do your best to take care of it, but it never turns out exactly how you’d like it to be? Luckily, you are in the right place to learn how to enrich your green spot by topdressing.

If you:

  • Want to fix patchy areas in your garden;
  • Have lifeless grass;
  • Deal with uneven surface in your lawn,

Then keep on reading, this is the post you’re looking for!

Table of Contents:

What is topdressing?

Topdressing is a procedure of applying a layer of sand, compost or rich soil mixture to your lawn or a certain area of it. This is done in order to add fresh organic matter, mainly to improve soil biology. 

The process is occasionally performed in conjunction with other crucial lawn care jobs such as scarification, aeration and overseeding. Such procedures go well with the new layer of topsoil since it acts as a natural fertilizer and helps the healthy development of the garden.

Benefits of topdressing

  • Level your lawn – you will be able to smooth up the surface and improve the overall look.
  • Renew worn & patchy areas – the bare spots will be repaired significantly (especially if you perform overseeding).
  • Healthier soil – the new layer will bring more life to the soil and improve its quality
  • Promote grass growth – refreshing the surface will stimulate the growth of your garden.
  • Minimise thatch formation – thatch will decrease as the grass will feed off the fresh soil.

When to topdress lawn in the UK?

It is best performed in spring or autumn. This is mainly due to the natural moisture during those two seasons, which predisposes efficient growth. Do not perform it under drought conditions. If you plan to apply dressing during the summer, do it before upcoming rain and be ready to frequently water the garden.

How to prepare for topdressing

There are a few things you should consider before indulging in this activity.

Choose your dressing material

If you plan to make your own lawn top dressing mix, know that it should closely match the composition of the existing soil. Generally, the materials you can use are sand, soil and compost. Ideally – it should be a mixture of them.

When to use lawn sand

Topdressing your lawn with sand can be incredibly useful if you experience drainage problems. It will definitely help you fight the issue by improving the soil’s texture. Ideally, you would want to apply it during late spring or early autumn. The soil must be moist and the grass relatively dry. The sand you use should not contain any lime.

When to use compost

If you’d like to nourish your garden – use organic compost. It will greatly increase the beneficial microorganisms in the soil. The grass will feed off vital nutrients which will help it grow abundant and weed-free.

All materials need to be completely dry and sifted so that any large chunks are removed.

Calculate how much you will need

A common question is – how much topsoil do I need? It really depends on the condition of your lawn and what you seek as an outcome. However, on average you should use 2 – 4 kgs of dressing per m2. A light dressing would be around 2kgs, but if you’re dealing with an uneven surface you can use up to 4 kilos.

Get the tools ready

Assuming you don’t have an available topdressing machine, you will need a few tools:

Wheelbarrow – using it will make the topsoil distribution a lot easier.

Shovel – it will be used to scatter the mixture around the garden.

Rake – the back of the rake will be used to roughly spread the dressing around the lawn.

Lute – this tool will help you level the mixture evenly and cover the lumps efficiently. This can also be done with the back of a rake, however, it might not show the best possible results and will certainly be more time-consuming.

Need help with your topdressing?

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How to perform topdressing

As we’ve mentioned earlier, indulging in this activity goes really well with different lawn care operations. Combine a few of them, and you will not only save time, but also achieve the best results possible in the long run.

  1. Start with a light mowDon’t overdo it. You should definitely leave a good amount of grass. It must be 5 – 10 cm long at least. The soil and sand particles should drop down between the turf itself.
  2. Scarify if necessaryIf you can see thatch or moss around your lawn, it would be a good idea to get rid of them. That way, the dressing and the seeds will have an easier time connecting with the soil. You can use a rake to collect the unwanted overlays.
  3. Aerate your lawnThis is not a mandatory step, but a recommended one. Aerating before applying topsoil is one of the best ways to bring new life to your lawn. The process is quite simple – you will only need a garden fork. Make small holes by poking the surface, not more than 10 – 15 cm deep and around 7 – 10 cm apart from each other. This will allow fresh air to get into the soil and also assist the dressing to easily find its way in. 
  4. Apply the topdressing – Distribute small piles over the crucial areas in your garden. Use a wheelbarrow and a shovel. Do not add too much – you can always add more later, if you find it necessary. 
  5. Spread it around – The back of the rake will help you roughly spread the topsoil around your garden. Next, if you have a lute – it’s time to use it. If not – continue to use the back of the rake. Level the mixture. Apply more topsoil to areas of your lawn, where you need to cover indentations and make it even. 
    Remember to let the grass stick out above the dressing. It needs sunlight in order to survive and grow healthy.
  6. Overseed your lawn – Topdressing and overseeding a lawn is arguably the best way to cover bare spots in your garden. Sowing new grass in the freshly added soil will provide a nutrient-full bed for the seed, and help it take root and grow as quickly as possible. It is not mandatory to perform them all together, but if you have a few patches to cover, why not make the best out of it? Just sprinkle some seeds over the bare area and use the back of the rake to lightly bury them inside the soil.
  7. Water your garden – Once you have a nice layer of topdressing it’s time to water it. This will settle down the topsoil nicely. Follow this up with a consistent watering schedule and within 2 to 3 weeks you will be impressed with the results.
Do not mow the grass a few days after the procedure. Otherwise, this may result in malfunctioning of your mower, due to the remaining dressing.

Get a professional to renew your lawn

If you want to achieve the best results possible, topdressing can be quite a time-consuming process. If you lack the free time, you can rely on Fantastic Services to assist you with the task! Hiring a lawn care specialist, ready to provide top-notch service has never been easier. Book your professional topdressing service today!


  • If you seek optimal results, perform topdressing in conjunction with other lawn care practices.
  • Spring and early autumn is the best time of the year to apply topsoil.
  • Let the grass poke through the topsoil, so it can feed off the sunlight.
  • Do not mow your garden a few days after the procedure.
  • Water your lawn after the process. It will help the dressing settle down.

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