Can You Put Topsoil Over Sand?

Perhaps you’re getting rid of an old above-ground pool or fire pit, which you installed on a sand pad in the beginning to create a level surface. While it worked great for what you needed, it won’t harbor grass and allow it to flourish. So, now that you want to extend your lawn into the sandy patch, what are you supposed to do?

Should you coat the sand in a layer of topsoil and call it good? Or will that lead to more trouble down the road? We’re here to take a look at this particular topic, so stick around to learn more!

Do I Need To Remove Sand Before Planting Grass?

Surprisingly enough, you don’t need to remove sand before planting grass. In fact, some grasses prefer sandy soils as opposed to the high-quality soil you’ll find at the store. If you think about it, some beaches and lakes have patchy grass in the sand towards the edge of the sand. 

While there isn’t much sand there, the grass still manages to grow through what is there. Of course, the grass might be patchy and inconsistent, especially if it’s not cared for. On top of that, these grasses are usually native plants that thrive in these conditions. But – our point is you can grow grass in the sand. 

If you want a stunning, lush lawn, you might want to add a few things to the sand, but you can grow grass without going through the trouble of carting the sand elsewhere. 

How Do You Prepare A Sandy Area For Grass?

Now that we know you can grow grass without removing the sand, how do you do it? Well, you can mix high-quality topsoil with the sand by tilling it. In some scenarios, it might be best to throw some compost in there for added organic matter. 

It’s essential to ensure there isn’t a definitive divide between the sand and soil. The problem is that sand doesn’t retain moisture well. It drains far too quickly, leaving it devoid of water and other sources of nourishment. So, if the roots of your new grass extend into the sandy layer, they might not get the moisture and nutrition they need to survive. 

Once you add topsoil to the mixture, you can correct these issues fairly easily. Fertilizer is also a good idea, as tilling it into the ground helps loosen and mix the sand, soil, and fertilizer. This creates plenty of air pockets in the mixture, allowing water and air to penetrate the ground and reach the plant roots. 

Pick The Right Topsoil

Coast of Maine - Organic Top Soil - Monhegan Blend 1 CF

For the best results, choose the ideal topsoil for your lawn. Generally, the best option is a type of quality soil with organic compounds, which promote healthy growth. Most lawn and garden soils have too much clay or sand (mostly sand in this case), so the topsoil with organic matter is a good choice. 

Now, your next question is probably, “How much topsoil do I need to cover the sand with to grow grass?” It’s simple – grass roots usually extend four to six inches beneath the surface, so it should be about the same amount of topsoil. 

If you don’t add enough topsoil, the roots will extend into the sand, which will lead to nutrient deficiency. Plus, the roots won’t be able to get enough oxygen and topsoil because of inadequate drainage and a lack of mineral substances. So, opt for six inches of topsoil if you want to be on the safe side. 

Mix The Sand With The Compact Soil

Layers of Soil

If the sandy pad in your yard is left from a pool you removed, there’s a good chance the soil underneath the sand is compact. If the ground is packed with a layer of sand over the top, you essentially have a hard pan that water and plants can’t easily penetrate. 

When this happens, rainwater will run off the pan, carrying plant nutrients away from where you need them. You need to correct this problem before you add topsoil. Generally, the best approach is by tilling as deep as you can. 

Mix the sand into the compact soil beneath, ensuring the ground is broken up. For extra benefits, you can add some soil conditioner (like wood chips, peat moss, or composted leaves). Once the soil is loose and the sand no longer sits in a layer on the top, you can add your topsoil. 

Add The Soil

After you prep the compact soil and sand beneath the surface, your next step is to add the topsoil. Add your topsoil in a 4- to 6-inch deep layer on the top of the prepared sandy soil mix. Then, rake it to level the surface. 

Plant Your Grass

Lastly, you need to plant your grass. The soil is prepped and ready, so you shouldn’t run into issues with growing a stunning lawn to hide the random sandy patch. Make sure you follow the correct procedures for planting grass, including choosing the proper type of grass seed and watering religiously. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can You Turn Sand Into Healthy Soil?

Jonathan Green Jonathan Green & Sons, 12190 Coverage, Love Your Lawn Soil, 5000 sq. f, 5,000 ft

It’s possible to turn sand into healthy soil, but it can take a while. You can amend the sandy soil by adding well-rotted compost (like grass clippings, leaf mold, wood chips, etc.) or manure. This is usually the best cure for sandy soil, as these materials retain moisture and add nutrients. 

Considering these two areas are the primary sectors where sandy soil is lacking, the combination results in healthy soil. Of course, you can’t just toss the compost on top of the sand and call it good. You need to till it deep into the root zone, mixing it thoroughly. 

For most vegetables, the root zone extends around 12 inches deep. The root zone dips between 4 and 6 inches into the soil for most grasses.