Top Dressing 70-30 Mix Sand Soil

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How to top dress your lawn using 70/30 Sand/Soil Mix

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Every now and again, top dressing you lawn is essential for many reasons. But some of the most confusing things are which material is best, what application rate to use when top dressing and how to apply it evenly.

So, in this post I’m walking you through your different options when it comes to top dressing materials and explaining how much, when and why you should top dress the lawn.

What are the different types of top dressing

70/30 sand/soil mix

70/30 sand soil mix is just that. It’s 70% sand and 30% loam soil. The sand will help with drainage, moss control and generally reducing the density of the soil over time. Whereas the loam soil will help with seed-to-soil contact when applied alongside an overseed – meaning a much better/quicker germination rate.

Base Sand

Using base lawn sand as top dressing is exactly what the golf courses do. They apply sand to create the supremely flat playing surface. Some golf courses will look to create around 6 inches of sand on top of the soil. Now I’m not saying you should target anywhere near that but if you want a level base for you lawn, using sand is definitely a good way to go.

One of the draw backs of using just sand is that it won’t necessarily help with seed germination and it won’t add many nutrients to the lawn. Furthermore, if you use too much at once, it may suffocate the soil and therefore hinder the growth of the grass

Compost (just soil)

Be very careful here. Choosing a low quality compost or soil dressing can leave you with a nightmare soil bed that’s full of shingle or even worse plastic rubbish. Some companies are prone to hiding all sorts in their compost just to get the weights up.

That said, high quality compost is a great option if you have sandy soil.

With compost, you’ll get great benefits of improving seed-to-soil contact if you apply it after an overseed. What’s more, compost is often lighter in density than most normal soils. So, you’ll get the benefit of improved drainage too.

Many gardeners who are practicing 100% organic swear by using compost on the lawn regularly. As with any top dressing material, a little at a time is best so that it gives the material enough time to work its way into the soil bed.

Why should you even bother with a top dressing

There are lots of benefits to top dressing your lawn. Of course it will depend how much you use as to how much of a difference it makes but even just a small application can help your grass.

  • Levels out divots and bumps
  • Reduces moss
  • Improves drainage
  • Helps grass seed to germinate by increasing seed to soil contact

Another benefit is that sand can help to break down heavy clay soil. But you need to be careful here. It’s not like you just whack a load of sand on top and the clay soil is sorted. Sometimes sand can sit on top of the clay and suffocate the roots.

So make sure, if you have clay soil that needs improving you really do a small amount at a time and it’s a good idea to do some aeration beforehand too.

That way, the sand really will be working its way down to the soil bed.

How much top dressing to apply by application rate

Apply 70/30 sand/soil mix at an application rate of anywhere between 500g and 4kg per m2. How much you use will depend on budget, time and you own personal desire for a flat lawn.

For example if you’re looking for a golf course style finish, One where the ground is super flat and there’s around 2-6 inches of sandy soil bed, use up to 4kg per m2.

If you’re simply looking to help your grass seed germinate and level out a few bumps, then 500g – 2KG will definitely provide this benefit.

How to apply top dressing

One option for application is to do it straight from the bag – great for small lawns, not necessarily for medium to large ones.

If you have a 25KG bag and are doing 1KG per m2, then you’ll want to separate your lawn into 25m2 sections

There are 3 options when it comes to methods of application for top dressing

Option 1: Apply in small doses (most accurate)

  1. Break the lawn into sections or get the exact amon
  2. Weigh out the amount you need based on your chosen application rate
  3. Sprinkle the dressing within the sectioned of lawn
  4. Brush or use a lawn leveller to spread the mix evenly across the top of the soil

Option 2: Drop in clumps (Quicker option)

Alternatively, if you’ve bought the exact amount from us, then you can simply drop it down on the grass in even sized clumps across the area you need to cover.

  1. Drop the dressing in even-sized clumps across the lawn as evenly spaced as possible
  2. Brush or use a lawn leveller to spread the mix evenly across the top of the soil

Option 3: Use a Landzie Spreader (Best for compost)

I’d recommend using a Landzie spreader to apply compost because it can contain larger bits which you don’t want in your lawn. By using a Landzie Roller, it will only let the smaller particles onto the surface and the bigger bits will be left inside the mesh roller.

Lawn Leveller for Top Dressing

When to apply a top dressing

The best time to apply top dressing is during a renovation in the Spring or Autumn. Usually after sowing grass seed. The reason for doing it after sowing the seed is to improve seed-to-soil contact.

However it’s not absolutely essential that you do it during a renovation. With all the necessary other tasks, you could do it as a singe task later on. My main recommendation is that you do it on a dry day. It’s much much easier to spread the soil when it’s dry rather than when it’s wet. That said, if you’re able to keep the dressing materials dry before application, then you can essentially do it at any time of the year.

Top dressing materials don’t contain any growth enhancers so it really doesn’t matter when in the year you do the job.

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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. pete burney

    Can you recommend the best seed for a dog friendly lawn. I have 2 labradors so the lawn needs to be pretty tough. My soil is heavy clay and this month (Feb 2024) it has been like a bog.

    1. Matt Adams

      Hi Pete, I’d recommend our Hard Wearing seed mix if the dog uses the lawn alot. Cheers, Matt

    2. Paula

      Is a 70/30 top dressing something you can buy pre-mixed? If so do you have a recommendation?

  2. James Moon (Surrey)

    When sand is there any particular type of sand used (as there’s lots out there)..
    I have heavy clay lawn and its only been mine 2 years..and i want to top dress it..(always dreamed of at least one bit of lawn being golf green good)..

    1. Matt Adams

      It needs to be proper base sand for levelling lawns, I usually suggest trying to source locally but definitely don’t use bog standard stuff from garden centres because they’re most likely contaminated. Use this one 100% Organic Base Sand for Levelling & Dressing Lawns

  3. Geoff Rossington

    Many top dressing suppliers advertise their products by the litre. My question is are litres the same as Kg? I’ve got an eye on a 750L bulk bag so will that mean 750Kg? Thanks

    1. Matt Adams

      I don’t know the exact density of 70/30 but sand is very dense so it’s likely that it will be less than one litre per kilo. The best way to test would be to weigh out 1kg of dry sand, then put it in a 1 litre jug. Then multiply by the result.

  4. Ted

    Hello. Last year I overseeded without top dressing and the results were very poor. This year I have changed the seed type (have bought your shady / damp area product) and plan to add top dressing as recommended by your instructions. Before I do this, I have a question… When overseeding my entire lawn and then applying a top dressing, is the application option of brushing the top dressing effective? I am concerned that having spread out the lawn seed properly, that subsequently brushing the top dressing into place will move the seed about too much from where it was initially spread. I may be overthinking this as I am new to this level of lawn care so hope you can offer your experienced advice.

    1. Matt Adams

      Hi Ted,

      Yes the brushing of (or levelling with a lute) the dressing will help get it level – otherwise you’ll likely have thicker parts which will be bad for seed germination.


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