Home Lawn and Turf Care Top Dressing Your Lawn: A Complete Guide to Improve Health and Appearance

Top Dressing Your Lawn: A Complete Guide to Improve Health and Appearance

by Gregory
3 minutes read

Top Dressing Your Lawn: A Complete Guide

What is Top Dressing?

Top dressing is a process that helps improve the health and appearance of your lawn. It involves adding a thin layer of material, called lawn dressing, to the surface of your lawn. This material typically consists of a mixture of loam, sand, and organic matter.

Top dressing provides several benefits for your lawn, including:

  • Encourages fresh, healthy grass growth
  • Provides ideal growing conditions for new grass seed
  • Levels out uneven surfaces
  • Improves drainage

When to Top Dress Your Lawn

The best time to top dress your lawn is in early to mid-autumn. This gives the grass time to recover from the wear and tear of summer and prepare for winter. However, only top dress your lawn when the growing conditions are good and the grass is growing vigorously.

How to Top Dress Your Lawn

Materials you’ll need:

  • Lawn dressing
  • Shovel or spade
  • Rubber rake or metal rake
  • Garden broom


  1. Mow your lawn to a short height, but avoid scalping it.
  2. Spread the lawn dressing evenly over the surface of your lawn, using a fan-shaped motion.
  3. Use a rubber rake or the back of a metal rake to work the dressing into the grass and any hollows or holes.
  4. Go over the lawn with a stiff long-handled garden broom to smooth out the surface.
  5. Avoid mowing your lawn for at least a week, or two if possible. Water the lawn before mowing to help the dressing settle.

Making Your Own Lawn Top Dressing Mix

You can make your own lawn top dressing mix using the following recipe:

  • 3 parts sharp sand
  • 6 parts good sandy/loam weed-free topsoil
  • 1 part peat-free compost or sieved leaf mould

Mix the ingredients thoroughly on a clean hard surface or tarpaulin.

Top Dressing and Overseeding

Overseeding is the process of adding new grass seed to your lawn. This can be done at the same time as top dressing, as the lawn dressing provides an ideal rooting environment for the seeds.

To overseed your lawn, spread the grass seed evenly over the surface of the lawn after completing top dressing. Rake lightly to work the seed down into the root zone. Water the lawn regularly to keep it moist until the seed germinates.

Buying Top Dressing Mix

Top dressing mix is available for purchase online and at local garden centers. When buying top dressing mix, look for a product that is specifically designed for lawn care.

Tips for Buying Top Dressing Mix

  • Buy top dressing mix in 25kg bags.
  • Store unused dressing under cover to keep it dry.
  • Consider collecting top dressing mix from local sources to save on carriage costs.


Top dressing is a simple and effective way to improve the health and appearance of your lawn. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can achieve a lush, green lawn that you can enjoy for years to come.

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