How to Use Top Dressing to Fill Out Your Yard


Topdressing a lawn is the method of incorporating a fine layer of organic-quality soil to the surface of the lawn. Topdressing adds to the overall quality of the grass as well as helping the soil over time. For example, topdressing clay soils helps them drain better and enhance their root development, while sandy soils can better retain moisture so that the lawn will be more resilient to drought.

Another key advantage of topdressing a lawn is that it greatly helps even out the bumps and lumps that exist in an unlevelled yard by filling in the tiny hollows that can potentially develop. Also, topdressing stimulates the roots of the grass in order to generate new shoots and therefore results in thicker grass helping defend against the onset of moss and weed infestation.

Best Time to Top-dress the Lawn

Spring is ideally the best time to top-dress the lawn, when the grass cover is actively growing. Don’t attempt to top-dress your grass while it’s in a dormant stage since you could potentially kill it.

How Much Topdressing Should You Use?

In the majority of cases, it’s best to apply a thickness of about 1cm of topdressing, keeping in mind to leave a minimum of one third of the grass blades still showing. Covering your lawn with too much topdressing will kill the grass. But, feel free to use a little extra to fill any deeper hollows since your grass will simply grow back over it. Generally, use 1 cubic meter for every 100 square meters of topdressing. This should ideally be enough to reach a thickness of about 1cm. If you’re dealing with a very uneven surface, you may need a bit more to get it level.

How to Top-dress the Lawn

For starters, choose to top-dress your lawn on a dry, sunny day since rain will literally turn the topdressing into mud and make it virtually impossible to spread, not to mention causing you a great deal of frustration. Here’s how to do it:

1. Use a shovel in order to spread the topdressing evenly across the lawn, paying special attention to rough patches and adequately filling in any holes you notice.

2. Next, work the topdressing gently into the grass so it gets all the way down to the soil instead of just sitting on the top of the grass. Using the flatter side of your rake or perhaps a plank of wood, lightly push it over the lawn, distributing the topdressing in an even manner across the lawn’s surface and working it down to the level of the soil. Be sure you fill in any hollows and dips.

3. Once you’re done spreading the topdressing and levelling out the uneven areas, thoroughly water the topdressing, and you’re finished.

How to Top-dress a Very Bumpy Lawn

Instead of attempting to level out an extremely uneven lawn in just one shot, top-dress the lawn with several smaller applications over the course of a couple of weeks or even a few months to achieve better results. In between applying each coat of topdressing, give your lawn enough time to grow a bit so it’s not “overwhelmed”.

Applying too much topdressing too fast will literally smother your grass and cause an enormous mud pit in your yard. Patience is key for a job like topdressing.  Trey Palmer is the owner of palmersturf.com, a leading provider in Zoysia Sod and other turf grass needs.