How top dressing lawn in 5 steps and when you should do it

Posted By: María González

Tell us something: Do you usually top dress your lawn at least once a year?

We are asking you this because many owners tend to pay little attention to this task. And yes, it’s a mistake.

Because a top dressed lawn grows stronger, recovers better from winter, and is also less prone to compaction and overwatering.

Therefore, in this article we will explain:

  • What is top dressing and when should you do it.
  • How to top dress your lawn in 5 steps.

Ready? Let's go there

What does top dressing mean and why is it necessary?

First of all, let's start by clarifying what this work consists of.

Top dressing means applying a mixture of very fine sand and mulch (organic matter) that spreads like a layer on the lawn.

This mixture infiltrates the soil and contributes to maintaining a good level of drainage, in addition to providing nutrients.

Top dressing at least once a year is essential to maintain the health of your meadow, because:

  • It allows the grass to grow stronger after a period of dormancy or after reseeding.
  • Avoids compacting the roots (the so-called "tatch").
  • It generates a microclimate that isolates the lawn from extreme temperatures (both in winter and summer).

In addition to being a lawn maintenance operation, it is also common to prime bald areas where reseeding is necessary.

In this way, top dressing will protect the seeds and help them germinating..

When should the grass be primed?

Above all, during spring.

The cold, humidity and lack of light, together with the lack of maintenance, can lead to the soil compacting and generating tatch. That is why top dressing is one of the cares that your lawn needs during the spring.

Do it early in the season, before the grass comes out of dormancy and begins to grow at full throttle.

In addition, it is advisable to do a second top dressing in the middle of autumn. This way you will be giving the lawn the necessary protection to endure the winter.

Always avoid doing it during the warmer months, since the high temperatures reached by the sand could burn the lawn.

How to top dress the lawn in 5 steps

Now we are going to see what are the steps to top dress your garden.

1. Set up the lawn for re-priming

The first thing you have to do is prepare the soil in your garden to make sure that the dressing can penetrate the soil.

You just have to follow these steps:

  • Mow: the lawn should be as low as possible to allow you to work comfortably.
  • Aerate and scarify (optional): although not mandatory, it is recommended that you scarify and aerate the ground before re-priming. With this, in addition to eliminating the tatch that may have formed, you will be creating holes in the ground through which the sand can filter, improving drainage.

Before continuing, remove the dirt and cuttings with a rake.

2. Prepare the mixture

There is no single recipe for top dressing, but the amount of sand and mulch you use will depend on the type of soil in your garden.

If you have doubts about the proportions to use, you can take the following as a reference:

  • Sandy soil: 60% sand + 40% compost.
  • Clay soil: 80% sand + 20% compost.
  • Normal soil (balanced mix of clay and sand): 70% sand + 30% compost.

In case you have doubts about the composition of your soil, we recommend you consulting with your gardener or trusted store.

3. Distribute the dressing throughout the garden

The next step is to coat the entire lawn with the mix you've made.

If you have a small garden, a shovel will be enough for you, while in large areas it is necessary to use a top dresser (you can rent one in specialized machinery centers).

Remember that you only have to apply a thin layer, enough to provide the lawn with the nutrients it needs. It is recommended to use 1 m3 of dressing for every 100 m2.

To get you an overall view, with a 50-liter bag of sand you can receive an area of between 5 and 10 square meters of grass (depending on the proportion of sand and compost you apply).

Do not worry if you have uneven piles when applying top dressing with the shovel, because we will fix that now.

4. Spread it until it forms an even layer

First, use the rake to distribute the dressing more evenly. If you have used a mechanical receiver, you can skip this step.

Then finish leveling it off with a metal mat.

This is very important to ensure that the sand penetrates equally into all the recesses of the ground and avoid that some areas of the lawn get higher than others.

5. Water the lawn so that the dressing settles

Finally, with a deep irrigation you will make the sand moisten and penetrate better into the soil.

In a few days you will see how the grass recovers and sprouts healthier again.

Do you already know how to top dress the lawn in your garden?

Now you know what the next step is: put on your gloves, pick up the shovel and start working in your garden.

And if you need materials for top dressing, remember that we can send them to you anywhere in Spain.

And you still have doubts, you can contact us.

And you? How often do you usually re-grass your garden? Did you know well how to do it? Tell us in the comments.


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