Top Dressing Lawn: Benefits and Tips

Are you wondering why you need to put the sand and compost over your grass? Are specks of dirt not supposed to be under the grass? Lets learn more about top dressing

Well, let me take you to the answer. This process is named top Dressing. And your lawn might love it. As you have already heard, the full-dressing lawn is a process where you spread a thin layer of sand and compost over your lawn’s grass.

 This was introduced during the era of golf playing. In Scotland, every household practiced this process. It also gained popularity with certain homeowners who look for organic lawn care strategies.

With a cry of rising in the popularity of organic lawn care, homeowners are developing a romantic corner for top Dressing lawn.

Basics of Top Dressing lawn

Moreover, you can put the mixture of sand and compost over the whole lawn for lawn top dressing. However, this layer should be about one-fourth inches and not wider than that. The grass which is existing below the layer will grow through the layer.

 Besides, the thin layer is essential so that the grass of your lawn does not suffocate.

To improve the lawn soil condition, this happens to be one of the best methods. It will provide a good opportunity for the new seeds to germinate in your lawn, as well as a suitable environment for the grass to grow healthy.

Benefits of Top Dressing lawn –

  • Soil Improvement

The process of top-dressing your lawn can improve the quality of your soil. This happens due to the presence of nutrients in the mixture of top Dressing. The organic factors that come with the mixture can enhance your lawn soil’s overall health, improving the lawn’s drainage.

  • Breaks down of Thatch

The material of top Dressing can help in breaking down the layer of thatch present in your lawn. The process reduces every stress of the lawn. Having the thatch under control, top Dressing provides natural fertilizers for a longer period.

  • Leveling the lawn

If your lawn consists of a bumpy area, don’t worry about it. You can get a smooth and plain lawn with the process of top Dressing. It will smoothen out the bumpy areas leaving you with a lush green plain lawn.

  • Helps in the germination of seeds

Even after you seed your lawn, the seeds do not germinate. But with top Dressing, you can provide necessary nutrients to your soil. This will enhance the seeds to germinate faster as they will have direct contact with the soil.

  • Renovating the distressed lawn

Life is hectic nowadays. You may not have time to take care of your lawn. This may be the reason for the growth of weeds in your lawn. Top Dressing is the best option that you may opt for to clear out the weeds and incorporate new seeds. It will also help you to renovate the bare spots present on your lawn.

Best time to Top Dress Lawn

Top Dressing the lawn depends on the kind of flora and fauna that are present on your lawn. When your lawn is actively growing and is heading towards the prime time of growing, you can opt for lawn top dressing.

Grasses tend to grow best during the early fall or summer. Thus, you can top dress your lawn just before the seeds start to germinate. You may have heard numerous times that fall is the best season to seed your lawn. But one must be careful while seeding their lawn during the fall. The soil temperature in some regions is cooler. Cold is the reason that causes a delay in the germination of the seeds.

Therefore, only if you have the cold season grasses, you must opt for top dressing your lawn during the fall. But for the warm grasses, the best time you could top dress your lawn in the early summer period. That is when the warm grass begins to grow.

Tips to Top Dress Lawn

If you have a beautiful lawn, you must be wondering how to top-dress it to maintain the lawn’s quality. Here are some tips for your lush green lawn.

  • Soil testing

Sometimes when you top-dress, you learn that your lawn might face specific lawn issues. In that case, it is recommended that before you go for top Dressing, you must do a soil test.

A soil test is nothing but to check your lawn soil’s pH level to see whether it is maintained or not. If the soil needs tweaking in the pH level, it is suggested that you provide necessary nutrition to the soil to maintain a perfect pH level of the soil.

  • Weeds killing

A good herbicide is needed while you top-dress your lawn. This is nothing tedious. Before you top-dress your lawn, you should go around the lawn area and spot down the weeds in your lawn. Once you spot the weeds, use the herbicides to treat them without killing or affecting your lawn.

  • Bad section digging

Every lawn contains a section that can be labeled as the bad section of the lawn. Or if your lawn has bentgrass or poa, you can use the edging shovel and check out this nuisance manually. Using the herbicide could be an option. But these clump-forming bad grasses are tougher to control with a good herbicide.

  • Purchasing the right material

If you don’t provide a good quality of compost to your lawn, all your hard work will be in vain. The quality compost provides necessary nutrients to your lush green lawn. If you prefer better drainage for your lawn, you can add coarse sand too. One can mix the sand and the compost to receive the dual benefit.

The screened sand with more refined grains can make your drainage worse. So, make sure that you buy only the coarse sand. If you skip this step to save your money, you will do the top dressing work with no benefit. Therefore, while amending your lawn soil, you should be careful about the materials and their quality.

  • Making small piles

While you start making a thin layer of the mixed composition and spread it over your lawn, make sure you have a wheelbarrow to make your work easier. You can take the help of your wheelbarrow to put small piles of composition over your lawn. Dumping in this method will ease up the process of thin layer creation on your lawn. It also makes the racking out of the composition process easier.

  • Raking in piles

While spreading the composition over to your lawn, you can use any rake. But the best would be the aluminum landscape rake. It does its job well. Thus, you can achieve a smooth layer of composition over your lawn. Especially if you want to smoothen your lawn’s bumpy region, this rake will help you obtain the desired effect.

But make sure to break the clumps of the composition evenly with the aluminum landscape rake to provide a thin layer of one-fourth thickness and not more than that. The best way to understand this would be the visibility of the grasses of your lawn. Once you rack in the composition material, you should be able to look for the grasses.

  • Application of fertilizer

Fertilizing the soil is an essential step in this top-dressing process. After the racking process, you should apply the starter fertilizer. The starter fertilizer is rich in phosphorus, helping in the early development of the grass and the plants. It also benefits the growth of the root.

Just an added tip, one should use the correct amount of fertilizer to the composition during the top-dressing process.

  • Seeding

Applying seeds to your lawn is like a meditation. Once you’re done with the fertilizing, at the time of seeding use any broadcast spreader to apply the seeds in opposite directions twice.

You should research the kind of plant that you want to grow on your lawn. There are varieties of options from the cheapest to the expensive ones. Furthermore, it would be best if you always went for the seeds of good quality.

  • Irrigation needed

After seeding, your lawn will need plenty of water supply for the seeds to germinate faster. Therefore, irrigation setup becomes necessary. If you don’t have irrigation, you can always go for the battery-operated controller. They are available in a wide variety in the market.

Besides, you can also set up sprinklers that would sprinkle all day. New seeds require constant damp weather to germinate faster. Be careful during the summertime when the weather gets unpredictably hot. During that time, provide the necessary amount of water to your lawn.

Precautions while top-dressing lawn

These are some pieces of advice you should keep in mind during that top-dressing process of your lawn. However, certain precautions come with it. It would help if you were careful with these points to achieve a long-lasting, lush green top dressing lawn.

  • Avoid younger lawn

It is best to top-dress your lawn after 3 to 4 years. One should never top dress a lawn that he or she has recently renovated. The best thing that the lawn owners can do is provide nutritious material while preparing the new lawn. This will help to achieve a long-lasting, lush green lawn.

  • Smoothen out

Putting too much of something can destroy the consistency of that thing. When you top-dress, you should never top dress your lawn frequently. Checking for the clumps and breaking them will help you to avoid lawn holes. For best results, the lawn owners should use a dry mix for top Dressing.

  • Wrong amendments

The content of your top Dressing might be different from the original soil content. In that case, the mixture won’t mix well with the existing soil. Hence, you should first analyze your lawn’s soil and prepare the top dress mix.

If you see the formation of layers while you top-dress, make sure to smoothen it out, or else there will be e formation of thatch and growth of moss.

  • Occurrence of weeds

The top Dressing might contain weed seeds which can weed out the lawn. Thus, one must always sterilize the top Dressing to remove dandelion weeds or clover weeds. Lawn owners can also do manual weeding to protect their lawn from the outgrowth of weeds.

  • Gravel in top Dressing

Lastly, while top-dressing, you should use the best kind of grit or gravel to provide a thin layer of the mixture to your lawn.


In this world of chemical fertilizers, top Dressing can be a brilliant alternative to provide health and nutrition to your lawn. Managing a healthy lawn can come with a lot of tedious work. But with top Dressing, things become much more transparent and fruitful.

Previously it was introduced for the golf courses but now, trying on the Organic Mantra, every household consisting of lawn fancies the idea of top dressing lawn.

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