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Filling Hollows

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 20 Feb 2017 | comments*Discuss
Filling Hollows Top-dressing Hollows

Filling hollows is something that a gardener will undoubtedly find themselves doing during the lifetime of their lawn. Hollows can come about through a variety of different reasons but mostly they are caused by soil compaction, which can be the result of excess water in your soil or bad weather conditions. More often than not soil compaction is the result of heavy wear and tear by means of human traffic.

These hollows are also sometimes caused by the introduction of moles into your garden. Moles will dig furiously under your lawn until they find the right spot to surface and in doing so they create what are called runs. These runs, narrow tunnels underneath the soil's surface, can then fall into holes and create the hollows.

Filling Hollows

If you have an existing lawn then filling out hollows can be something of a tricky procedure. You first need to cut a sod of grass - or turf - from another area of the lawn, which you will use to fill in where the hollows have formed.

It is important when doing this to take care to mark out the area and cut just short of its size when removing the sod of grass to replace it, that way it can be easily slotted in and top-dressed and reseeded to blend in once it starts to grow in its new position.

Hollows are of course not necessarily always large in size, they can be sometimes nothing more than small holes that have been made by human traffic on the lawn or by perhaps too vigorous a period of scarifying.

If this is the case then a light dusting with some new top soil should serve the purpose well and will involve you lighting spreading it over the affected areas and brushing away the excess with a hard brush.


When it comes to top-dressing it is best to use a soil that is made up of loam, sand and peat. It is recommended to go for one part loam, one part sand and one part pear thus having equal amounts of the required nutrients that new grass or relocated grass needs to embed itself in a new location. It might also be a good idea to steer clear of using garden compost as garden compost will possibly contain weed seeds that could germinate.

Also when top dressing your lawn it is advisable to aerate it a few days in advance so as to soften up heavy compacted soil that has suffered the test of time under the weight of human traffic. Watering your lawn and allowing it to soak is a good way of freeing up compacted soil and allowing it to release any nutrients back into the root systems of the grass leaves.

If you are intending to top dress your lawn and fill in hollows it is best to do this in the autumn. Scarify the lawn in the month of September, the best month to do this, before carrying out any maintenance work, which involves filling in hollows. This is a good time to carry out the work as during the autumn and winter months the lawn is less likely to suffer under the wear and tear of human traffic.

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I live in the North West where a lot of clay appears after digging down about a foot. I recently levelled my garden by adding a considerable amount of high level topsoil (in some areas It required an increase in 30-40 cm in height). Following this levelling exercise i now have areas that are extremely squelchy where your foot can sink into the ground quite considerably when it is wet. Is it a compaction problem? Do I need to add more topsoil and compact it in more? I would greatly appreciate any suggestions on how to create a firmer lawn rain or shine.
Novice - 20-Feb-17 @ 10:22 PM
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