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Ask Gerry : Lawns : Site

Meadow area

, Dublin Posted On: January 1, 2011

I have an area about half acre I am goin to trun into a Lawn Meadow with wild flowers. I notice some recommendations , before planting with wild flower seeds , to get rid of top soil to make soil less fertile bef. I plan to get a jcb in to move topoil. My qustion is how much should I remove ? 1 inch, 6 inches a foot ?


It is beneficial to have low nutrient levels in soil for wildflower.

And it is sometimes advised to take off the top 10 to 15cm of topsoil, but this is a lot of soil on a half-acre, about 30 truckloads

You can also reduce nutrients by simply taking off the cut grass without fail and the nutrients go with it.

Or if you want to speed up things; you can add ground limestone at about 500grams per square metre, as the lime locks up nutrients. 



Problems with boggy garden

, Athlone Posted On: August 29, 2010

We are in the process of buying a house, that luckily comes with 1.5 acres of garden. The only problem is I have been told by a local that the area is quite boggy(foundations for house had to be pile driven). Apparently the current owner has been stuck with his ride-on mower while mowing the lawn.Is there something we could do to make the garden usable? We have two kids, so play area essential, for football, swings etc, as well as structured garden areas for ourselves. And we are considering a vegetable garden. Being able to use the garden is a big part of buying this house – if making the garden usable most of the year around requires a lot of expense means its out of the question.


A wet garden is of limited value. If drainage to am outfall is not possible, the plants that can be grown are limited to wet ground plants and the garden is less useful and more effort. Even if drainage is possible, damp ground is always a bit of a struggle.

Look over the hedge and see how the neighbouring ground is and see if there are rushes in the area and in the garden and existing lawn. If you are interested in gardening, then having well-drained ground makes a big difference.

lawn drainage

, dublin Posted On: March 20, 2010

I have a small side garden that gets very little breeze and as a result water doesn’t drain from the grass. I am about to rotovate the grass beginning April and sow new seeds(are there coarse grass seeds?).Can you give me advice about subsoil, and how to get a better soakage system for the grass.


Save yourself the trouble and do not re-lay the lawn. The problem is impeded drainage, not the kind of grass.

You have to find a way to get the water to drain down from the surface and you might consider a soak-pit filled with stones, more on this at:


Problem with Lawn Drainage

, Dublin Posted On: August 25, 2009

My garden turns into a swamp in winter. Water doesn’t seem to drain from the gass with the result that there is a lot of moss in the grass. There was plastic around the perifery of the garden which I have recently pulled up. It appears that the soil under the plastic is only muck. Should I rotavate the garden and can you give me any ideas on how to deal with the drainage problem ?

plant for hostile conditions

, Dublin Posted On: August 6, 2009

Outside my house is a lamppost with a rectangular area around its base, roughly 4′ by 2′ & about 6 inches deep with compacted soil. It is a very exposed site & drainage is poor when rain is heavy. Have you any recommendations for a plant(s) that could survive here to make it a more pleasant view?



Strictly speaking, you are not allowed to plant anything on public property, which I assume the lampost is located on.

If there are patches of grass outside other houses that the council maintains, the simplest thing to to is to loosen the soil with a fork, apply some fertilizer, then lightly re-firm the soil and sow some grass seed. It could be expected that they will cut the extra bit too.





Garden Horror

, oldcastle Posted On: April 20, 2009

Basically I’m looking for advice on how to best appraoch my garden. I know nothing about how to manage or maintain a garden.Also Money is very limited.I buit a house 2 years ago. The garden is about 2 thirds of an acre. When the house was finished we had the garden leveled but we never got the chance to take the stones out or put grass seed down.Now the garden is completly over run with grass and weeds, The back of the garden the weeds as high as my hips.Any advise and tips are welcome.


Basically, you want to sow a lawn, which is not that difficult or expensive.

Cut down all existing weeds and grasses with a good brushcutter. If you can hire a walk-behind brushcutter for a day, these are ideal.

Then spray with Roundup to kill the weeds and grass. Have it ploughed and/or rotoavated. 

Pick off stones and allow the soil to settle for that it is firm and do any levelling that needs to be done. If you can get a stone rake for this, it makes it easier.

Then sow grass seed.  

Plants for septic tank percolation zones?

, Kircubbin Posted On: September 21, 2008

What can I safely plant over a septic tank percolation zone (approx 40×25 metres) without interfering with its function? The area is unshaded, exposed to all winds and naturally low lying, always damp and sometimes boggy. There is no opportunity for additional drainage, nor resiting the tank or soakaway. Thankfully the installation works well inspite of its situation!The “garden” of my new-build home is still an exposed, one acre field on the Ards peninsula, one and a half miles from the Irish Sea to the east and Strangford Lough to the west.


You would be wise to grow only grass over such an installation. Roots of trees and shrubs are inclined to block percolation drains.