Top Dressing Your Lawn

Top dressing your lawn can have great benefits for lawns that are uneven or unhealthy.

However, a healthy lawn that is regularly fertilised, may never need top dressing.

While this lawn care practice can improve your lawn, it’s important to get it right.

If you add too much soil or do it at the wrong time of year, you may be causing more issues for your lawn instead.

You should only top dress your lawn if it is uneven or needs additional nutrients.

Remember, if your lawn is healthy and well-fertilised, you won’t need to top dress your lawn.

Why Is Top Dressing Your Lawn Important?

Top dressing has many benefits for poorly lawns, these include:

  • Reducing the thatch layer
  • Increasing nutrient retention
  • Improving soil drainage
  • Increasing disease resistance

Top dressing can also help to even out unlevel lawns or correct poor soil to invigorate new growth.

See image below of before and after shots of a lawn that has been top dressed.

Topdressing A Lawn

When Is The Best Time For Top Dressing Lawns?

The only time of year that you should be top dressing a lawn is in Spring, during peak growing season.

While many would consider top dressing to be part of their seasonal lawn care routine, it should only be done when needed and on established lawns.

How To Top Dress Your Lawn

Whether you are trying to level out an uneven lawn or if you are top dressing to add nutrients, top dressing your lawn will be rather straight forward.

Video Guide – How to Top Dress Your Lawn

Whether you are trying to level out an uneven lawn or if you are top dressing to add nutrients, top dressing your lawn will be rather straight forward.

Check out the Lawn Solutions Australia video, or follow our step-by-step instructions below:

Step-by-step Instructions

Step 1

Firstly, you will need to mow your lawn to the optimum height for its lawn variety.

However, remember to always stick to the 1/3 rule for mowing.

You should also make sure to catch any grass clippings before top dressing.

Step 2

Spread the top dressing mixture evenly across your lawn.

Depending on how big the area is, you may wish to do this by hand, with a shovel or a professional spreader.

Rather than add soil on top, you may need to add soil underneath instead.

Step 3

Once you have spread the soil across your lawn, you should rake it out until it is as evenly dispersed as possible.

However, the top dressing soil should be no deeper than 10mm and you need to ensure that at least the tips of the grass blades are showing.

Step 4

The final step is to water your lawn.

If the uneven spots in your lawn are too deep, you may find that top dressing will simply bury and kill the existing lawn in those spots.

Rather than add soil on top, you may need to add soil underneath instead.

Choosing Soil For Top Dressing Lawns

The most common options for top dressing are

  • Sand
  • Topsoil
  • Organic, high-quality compost

Typically, however, the best choice will be a mixture of all 3.

Sand is quite commonly used for top dressing golf courses but is also a great choice to improve drainage with heavy clay soils.

Using topsoil similar to your existing soil will help to level out your lawn but often won’t help provide much-needed nutrients to your lawn.

Using an organic soil mixture or high-quality compost will give your lawn the nutrients it needs to thrive.

While these each have their benefits individually, a blend will not only be more cost-effective but will help your lawn in more than one way.

Typically, a blend of organic soil or compost is recommended with either sand or topsoil.

Where To Buy Top Dressing Soil

You can purchase top dressing soil from local garden centres or nurseries.

They’ll also be able to help you choose the best blend for your lawn but you’ll need to know how much to order.

How To Calculate How Much You’ll Need

You should calculate how much top dressing mixture you will need before you go to purchase it.

To work this out, you will need to multiply the length of your lawn, by the width and then by the required depth (between 0.005m to 0.01m).

Area length x area width x soil depth = required top dressing soil

With everything you need to know about top dressing lawns under your belt, will you be including it in your lawn care routine next Spring?

For more information about top dressing and other lawn care advice,

Buy Turf Online is here to help.

Amira Bird - Writer



From devouring books as a child, writing diaries as a teen and now exploring content creation as an adult, Amira has always had a passion for the written word. When she’s not curled up with a book or a pen and paper, she can be found in the local coffee shop, park or bush trail. However, if you can’t find her, you can be sure she is out exploring the wonders that the world has to offer.

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