Digging Up And Replanting Lawn: How To Do It Successfully

Digging Up And Replanting Lawn: How To Do It Successfully

Over the years, a lawn can become somewhat unsightly. In addition, sometimes poor maintenance also contributes to this. There are various ways to renew the lawn. One of them we present to you.

Options for lawn renovation


Not only moss, but also bare patches or poor growth of grass plants can make a lawn in the garden look quite unsightly. Sometimes, reseeding or removing areas of moss by dethatching is all that is needed in some cases. However, these measures may not always help to restore the lawn to a lush green. Then the only thing left to do is to create a new lawn.

There are several ways to do this:

  • digging up the area
  • peeling off the lawn or
  • covering


Digging up the lawn proves to be the most effective, even though it requires a lot of muscle power and sweat will flow. The advantage of this method is that all above-ground plant parts and roots remain in the soil. However, the microorganisms in the soil are also disturbed when digging, but not as permanently as when the lawn is completely removed. It is important with this method that all weeds standing on the surface are brought deep into the soil. Otherwise, they can quickly germinate and the area is completely covered with them.

Tip: For larger areas to be worked, the use of a power hoe often proves effective.

Digging up step by step


When creating a new lawn by digging over the old one, there are a few things to keep in mind. Thorough preparation and execution are the be-all and end-all. After all, they determine the later success. You should not just start digging right away. We will show you step by step how to dig up the old lawn and then work on the area to get a beautiful new lawn. However, this also requires some patience. Now before the actual work begins, it is advisable to mow high lawn to a short stalk height. This will make the digging work much easier. After that, you can get started:

  • Soil should be dry
  • Loosen the turf a few centimeters deep with a spade
  • remove horizontally from the ground
  • store on compost heap with roots facing upwards
  • thereby preventing the spread of weeds
  • fill the soil with a layer of sand five centimeters high
  • best suited washed, fine-grained sand
  • grain size between 0 and 2 mm ideal
  • excellent low-calcium quartz sand or simple play sand
  • then dig down to the depth of a spade


Note: Storing the sod with the roots facing upwards on the compost helps to speed up decomposition. Organic materials such as kitchen waste or leaves can be added between the individual layers.

After the soil has been broken up to create a new lawn, the roughest work is already done. However, there is still some work to be done:

  • lightly crumble the soil with a digging fork
  • break apart larger clods of soil
  • remove all stones, roots or other objects
  • clean the soil to a depth of 15 cm
  • add some soil to the soil
  • mix in some sand and larger amounts of mature compost
  • smooth the soil after a few days
  • use a lawn roller
  • if necessary, in case of large unevenness, smooth the soil several times

Tip: A lawn roller must be filled with water to have the appropriate weight. Alternatively, a long wooden board or a wooden pallet can be used for rolling. These are pulled evenly in lanes over the soil surface on a rope.

Best time in autumn


Now, before seeding of turf can take place, the tilled soil must settle. Normally, a time of at least three to four weeks is set aside for this, then the soil is compacted and there are no more cavities. However, it would be advantageous in any case if tillage is done in the fall. During the winter months, the soil can then “stand”, in other words the soil can settle in peace. Other advantages would be:

  • by frost killing of still existing grass plants
  • and also weeds
  • prevention of possible unevenness in future lawns


In early spring it is necessary to level all existing unevenness and level the area repeatedly. Of course, the soil can also be worked in early spring. However, it is then essential to give the soil time to settle.

Tip: It is easy to test whether the soil is ready for sowing by stepping on the corresponding area with one foot. However, shoes with a flat sole should be worn for this purpose. Then, if the shoe print is not deeper than one centimeter, you can start sowing.

Proper sowing


After the soil has been worked to create a new lawn, all that remains is to sow the seeds. Here, too, you need to pay attention to a few things, so that in the end it will be beautifully green.

Digging Up And Replanting Lawn: How To Do It Successfully
  • Selection of a suitable turf mixture such as shade turf, play turf, etc.
  • Prepare seedbed
  • to do this, loosen the surface again a little
  • then lightly roll
  • Soil temperature must be at least 10 °C
  • Temperature important for germination
  • Application of phosphorus fertilizer in longitudinal direction of the area
  • Sowing the seed in the transverse direction
  • promotes better growth
  • it is best to use a spreader
  • spreading must be done without gaps and evenly
  • then lightly work the seed into the soil with a rake
  • not deeper than 0.5 cm
  • turf is a light germinator
  • lightly roll for better soil contact
  • not too firm
  • keep the area moist for the following four weeks
  • possibly use of lawn sprinklers
  • Sprinkling up to five times a day for 10 minutes each time
  • avoid puddles and rivulets
  • After six weeks, apply a slow-release fertilizer.


The first lawn cut after laying out the new lawn should be done at a blade height of eight to ten centimeters. The lawn should not be cut back deeper than five centimeters. Likewise, excessive stress on the lawn should be avoided during the first year.

Tip: Before laying a new lawn, it is advisable to carry out a soil analysis. To do this, soil samples are taken from 10 to 15 different locations and then thoroughly mixed. The analysis is carried out in the laboratory and information is provided regarding soil type, pH, humus and nutrient content, as well as fertilization recommendations.

Use of a motor hoe


Briefly, a few words about the use of a power hoe in soil cultivation. There are different models here in terms of size, weight and also drive. Smaller hoes are powered by electricity and larger ones by gasoline. In principle, there are two types, namely motor hoes with a chipping spur or with a chipping blade. With these, the digging depth can be adjusted individually. Of course, working with a power hoe is not as sweaty as digging by hand. The handling is relatively simple:

  • no removal of the old lawn necessary
  • simply guide the hoe over the appropriate area
  • always in straight rows
  • loosens soil deeply
  • but no turning over of the soil layers
  • lawn plants reach deep into the soil
  • there rotting and supply of new nutrients


However, the disadvantage here is that extraordinarily stubborn weeds such as couch grass, field horsetail or goutweed are not removed, but get deep into the soil and are distributed there. It can happen, if you wait too long with the sowing, that these weeds then spread on the area.

Note: When using a power hoe, there is increased interference with soil health. The necessary micro-organisms in the soil will be deeply buried in the lowest layers of the soil. It takes a longer period of time until the balance is restored.

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