Any keen Hampshire gardener will understand that top soil is the key to a beautiful lawn; novices however might be left wondering what it is, how it should be applied and when to apply it.

What does top soil for garden use contain?

Teeming with nutrients that provide it with its deep brown colour, top soil is vital for ensuring lawns (and indeed most plant life) remain healthy.   Garden top soil is generally made up of a combination of the following ingredients: • Nitrogen • Potassium • Magnesium • Phosphorus Of course, different types of lawn require different mixtures – there are tens of thousands of types of top soil in Europe alone, and what might be ideal for a lawn in the north of the continent might not necessarily be the type of top soil a garden in Hampshire would be suited to. If you’re unsure of what compound is right for your garden, a team of professional lawn landscapers will be able to analyse your garden to recommend the ideal top soil mix.

Spreading top soil in the garden

Top soil should be spread evenly using a flat tool (the back of a garden rake will suffice), ensuring that it is worked evenly into any aeration holes, and covering low spots when necessary. The mixture should be worked in until the depth of the top soil is even and the grass is peeking through.

Common problems solved by spreading top soil

• Uneven lawn areas due to freezing and thawing during the winter months, or as a result of moles, rabbits and other animals • Nutrient deficiencies due to chemical fertiliser use and general neglect • Low spots as a result of rotting tree roots or underground disturbances (for example, gas pipe installation) • Dense, compacted soil due to high traffic volumes and footfall

Advantages of adding top soil to your lawn

Regularly top-dressing will improve the quality of your soil over time. When organic matter breaks down, it essentially filters through your existing soil, thus improving the health and texture of your lawn. This results in improved drought-resistance and drainage and more even terrain. Top soil also reduces the need to use fertilisers, and the end result is that your garden will have healthy, low-maintenance turf which becomes easier to maintain with less effort over time.

When to add top soil to your garden

Early springtime is ideal for top soiling your garden, as it will provide your grass with ample time to grow through (at least three or four mowing’s-worth) before the cold weather takes hold again.