How To Topdress Your Lawn

Want to keep your lawn green and healthy but avoid chemical fertilizers? There’s a simple solution.

Just as you can layer compost on to your garden beds to increase the soil quality, you can do the same with your lawn. It’s called topdressing.

And just as applying compost to the garden beds builds soil structure and health, the same holds true for your lawn.

You can either topdress your entire lawn, or save yourself some time and effort by just boosting areas that are struggling. Here’s how to do it.

When to Topdress Your Lawn

For cool season lawns, the kind common in the Pacific Northwest, it’s best to topdress in the fall. Wait until the ground is nice and soft, say after a rain, for the best results.

How to Prepare Your Lawn for Topdressing

The first step is opening up your lawn so that the compost can permeate it. You can do this by aerating your lawn.

Aerating involves creating small holes in your lawn so that air and nutrients can pass through the thick root layer of grass known as thatch and enter the soil. While it’s possible to do this with a smaller tool that pokes holes, you’ll be better off using a dedicated aerator that pulls out plugs from the ground. You can usually rent a manual or motorized one from your local garden supply store or equipment rental business.

Next, rake the lawn clear of debris from the aeration and then mow it short.

How to Apply Topdressing To Your Lawn

Once your lawn is aerated and ready to go, you can spread the topdressing material over it. You want it to be about a quarter inch thick on the areas you are topdressing. If the lawn is sparse, apply grass seed before topdressing.

Once you’ve spread the compost, rake it in to the lawn. Then, give the lawn a good water.

What to Do After Topdressing

It’s important to stay off the areas of your lawn you topdressed for a week or so and wait a couple of weeks before mowing.

It may take time to see results, but just know your lawn now rests on healthier soil underneath,

What Are Some Lawn Alternatives

If all this sounds like a lot of work, give us a call at 206-551-9872 for a free consultation on replacing your lawn with other outdoor spaces!