warning about landscaper?


Old 04-21-08, 11:40 AM
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warning about landscaper?

We've had some estimates for installing a new lawn in our backyard. Half of the existing backyard is covered with 1/2" gravel, ranging from 1/2" to 4" thick. Our plan was to remove all the gravel, to the topsoil, add loam, then seed or sod from there.

One of the landscapers, who otherwise seemed great, suggested that one way to save money on the whole job was just to put loam right over the existing gravel, and then seed/sod on top.

Would this suggestion set off any warning bells for the work this landscaper can do as a whole? I don't claim to know anything about installing a new lawn, but all the other landscapers agreed to remove the gravel first, and I question what this shortcut might indicate later.

Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old 04-21-08, 12:18 PM
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Thank you for being wise enough to question a landscaping method. Gravel should be removed. New topsoil can be added an tilled in. You need at least 6-8" of freshly turned soil. A soil test would tell you what amendments need to be added. Tilling in at the time of lawn renovation is best. Your Cooperative Extension Agent can help you with that, make the recommendations for amendments, as well as the best grass variety for your area.

This is also a good time to address any slope issues. Soil should slope away from structure in order to carry away runoff. It's also a good time to attach downspouts to French drains and direct water to dry wells at least 10' out. Splash blocks to not direct water far enough away from foundation.

Back to the issue of the gravel. Healthy grass roots will extend 6" or longer into soil in search of moisture and nutrients. When roots reach gravel, then what?

There once was a poster who could not get grass to grow in a rectangular area in the backyard. It turns out previous owner dumped 4" of soil on top of an asphalt pad. Of course, grass would not grow there. Not to mention the heat issues associated with the asphalt.

Your Cooperative Extension agent can provide you with a wealth of information on lawn renovation and provide you with a lawn maintenance schedule for your area, such as keeping seeds or new sod moist is important to getting lawn established.
Old 04-21-08, 03:24 PM
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I would also add that stones and gravel will to rise to the surface and it will be a constant battle to get rid of them once you have added the topsoil and grass.

Old 04-21-08, 05:28 PM
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I would not worry about the stone it sounds like pea stone, the best thing for grass is well drained soils, and the roots will easily go through the pea stone to the next layer of top soil, do you have a sprinkler system? you would be amazed at the types of soil I have grown grass on, I will not do it unless I can guarantee, will he? ever had grass grow on your gravel driveway? ever had grass grow over your walkway? the truth is grass will grow anywhere there is moisture and fertilizer, I believe it will be just fine, ask him to guarantee it and save $$$$$.
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