Is Sand Good For Lawns?

Spring is usually a good time to repair problems with your lawn and it is not uncommon for the dad in the family to be assigned to the task. Since many dads play golf, they marvel at the plush green fairways and putting greens and wonder if they can duplicate that on their own lawn.

Sand could be bad for your lawn.
(Courtesy: Oomagoolies)
Is sand good for your lawn?

(Courtesy: Oomagoolies at

A common practice of golf course maintenance managers is to add a thin layer of sand over the green. Called top dressing, the procedure is meant to control thatch build up. Golf course maintenance people also use sand to level low spots in the fairways.

So it makes sense for weekend golfers who also spend time maintaining their lawn would wonder if they should perform this process on their own lawns.

Top Dressing

Experts in lawn care like the people who staff university agricultural extension departments suggest that top dressing home lawns with sand can do more harm than good. They have found that spreading sand over a lawn prevents the retention of nutrients and can cause a lawn to lose its fertility.

The reason why top dressing works on golf courses is that the courses are generally constructed on sandy soil. Specialized turf grasses that thrive in sandy conditions are used on the greens. The grass seed or sod normally used on a residential property is not the same as the sod used on golf courses. Moreover, golf courses are better and more frequently maintained with such activity as fertilizing and watering than a common lawn is. This intense maintenance can correct problems created by the addition of sand.

Whether Or Not You Should Use Sand On Your Lawn

To add to possible problems, a do-it-yourselfer who maintains his own lawn often applies too much sand unevenly. That results in globs of sand throughout the lawn causing the grass beneath it to choke. It is suggested that when you top-dress a lawn with any material, you use an evenly spread very thin layer over the entire lawn.

In addition, many people who top-dress their lawn do it on clay soil in an attempt to correct it. This is a bad idea. Adding sand to clay soil does not loosen the soil. Instead, it causes a cement-like soil. Clay soil does not retain water. Adding larger and heavier sand weighs down the clay making it ever more impenetrable. Professionals suggest that you use a rich, fine compost to top dress a lawn.

Furthermore, it is possible that the sand you use to top-dress is contaminated with weeds and nematodes. It is recommended that the top dressing should be sterilized or should be of the same texture and soil type on which the turf is growing on.
Turf grass specialists suggest that you can use sand to fill in minor low spots. However, don’t overdo it and be certain that the sand has been sterilized.

Use no more than an inch or two of sand to fill the low spot. Shovel the sand into the area and seed and water it. Maintain the lawn normally until grass grows on top of the first layer. Repeat the process until the low spot is filled.

How To Use Sand To Repair Bare Spots

Sand can also be used to repair bare spots in a lawn.

Repairing bare spots.

(Courtesy: Nanadw at

Items you will need for the project include:

  • A Spade
  • Sand
  • Topsoil Mix
  • Grass Seed
  • Shredded Mulch

The process can be performed in nine steps.

  1. Dig straight down into the area with the spade and remove as much of the dead spot as possible including the dead root system. Cut through the dead spot and stop at healthy grass.

2. Mix a 50-50 ratio of sand and fresh topsoil in a clean bucket with a clean spade.

3. Fill the hole with the mixture until it is level with the ground.

4. Sprinkle seed on the fresh sand and soil mixture. Add slightly more than one-third of a pound of seed per every 250 square feet of dirt. For larger areas, add 1.5-pounds of seed per thousand square feet.

5. Lightly cover with one-eighth-inch of sand and soil mix.

6. Tamp down lightly with your hand enough to set the seed so it won’t blow away.

7. Cover the fresh seed with a thin layer of shredded mulch. Keep the area covered with mulch for a minimum of two weeks or until the seed germinates.

8. Water the area enough to keep it moist twice a day in regions with limited rainfall. Don’t allow the seed to sit in standing water.

9. Continue to water daily until the seeds germinate and sprout.

When you mow the area, keep the cutting height slightly higher than usual until the spot has blended seamlessly into the surrounding grass. Don’t add fertilizer or weed killer and feed to the grass until it is firmly established.


About Robert Janis

Written by Robert Janis for LawnEq - Your specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable manufacturers.