Any gardeners out there that can advise on a swamp lawn please?
We have a south facing garden but terrible clay soil. The end result is a lawn that's more mud than grass. We can't afford to returf it.....too big (and we're building an extension that's eating the cash). It's usually soggy through autumn and winter but due to the crazy rain over summer its never dried out fully and is now looking rather brown.
What can we do to improve its condition? DH thinks we should dig drainage channels, fill the channels with pea gravel and then re-lay the mud turf and re seed over the top. Is this a good idea?
Any advice on how we can improve the drainage and sort the grass out......we've been frantically forking it all summer but to no avail at all.
We had a garden that was like that (it didn't help that our neighbours paved over their grass so that we got their rainwater draining onto it too!). In the end we bought several bags of sand, forked the grass, and then emptied the sand onto the grass. Within a few days, the sand had been worked into the ground by the kids and worms, and it did seem to drain better. Might be worth a trying sand a few times before you go to the effort and expense of putting in drainage channels.
I'd spike it over with a hollow-tined fork, then brush in plenty of sharp sand or horticultural grit (NOT lawn sand, which is something different entirely). You could then add an autumn lawn feed for good measure. Then stay off it as much as you can when it's not actively growing.
Forking it over would help make it less compacted, but if the soil is clay then it will need the grit to "open it" out a bit (bigger particles in the soil mean there's more space between them so water is able to move more freely.
Ideally you'd do as your DH suggests, but then sow grass seed (rather than relay the buttercups). But this would be lots work and lots money....
Thanks for the tips, looks like DH will be working hard on it! We've tried some sand in the past but without a huge amount of success but not really with any commitment to it, iyswim. Perhaps we need to try the sand a few times before I start cracking the whip and making him dig, dig and then dig some more.....