How Much Sandy Loam Do I Need Under Turf?

If you want to improve the health of your lawn, you’ll need to mix in some sandy loam. But how much? The answer depends on what kind of soil is already in place and what kind of turfgrass you have selected for your property. If you are starting from scratch, or if you have bare dirt that needs covering up, then it’s important to know how much topsoil you need before planting grass seed or sod. We will discuss this in detail below:

How to Prepare the Ground before Laying Turf
Artificial turf is a low-maintenance and long-lasting option for your lawn.
Proper soil preparation is crucial for a healthy and beautiful lawn, whether you’re installing natural or artificial grass.
Understanding the installation process for artificial turf can help ensure a successful project.
Regular maintenance is key to keeping your lawn healthy and attractive, whether you choose natural or artificial grass.
Taking the time to understand the costs involved in lawn installation and maintenance can help you make informed decisions for your home.


Before we can answer the question, “How much sandy loam do I need?” we need to define what it is and where it comes from. Sandy loam is a fine-textured soil that has a high percentage of sand particles, with clay and silt particles making up most of the rest. 

This combination of particle sizes allows for good drainage while also retaining moisture well. Sandy loams are found in a range of colors depending on their mineral content; some are red or brown, but most have more yellow tones.

The term turfgrass refers to any type of grass grown primarily as an ornamental plant or for other purposes such as sports fields and lawns. 

Turfgrasses are selected based on their appearance and ability to withstand wear from foot traffic or motorized vehicles (e.g., golf carts). 

They’re also chosen for their tolerance to various environmental conditions such as shade or full sun exposure; naturalized grasses will grow in areas where there’s little light penetration into the ground due to rolling terrain like hillsides whereas improved varieties require more sunlight to thrive effectively

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Conditions Under the Turf

While sandy loam is the ideal soil condition for turfgrass growth, it’s not always possible to achieve this. Turf grows best on well-drained soil with good aeration and sufficient moisture. 

The condition of your soil will affect how well your turfgrass grows and looks  soil conditions can vary from place to place and even within a yard, depending on its location next to buildings or trees that may shade it from direct sunlight. 

In some cases, poor quality soil can be improved by adding amendments such as compost or fertilizer; in others, you might need to replace the existing top layer with fresh material from elsewhere.

In general:

  • Sandy soils are usually light colored (white or yellowish) but may be darker browns due to organic content (which often indicates an ideal pH level).
  • Loamy soils tend toward lighter colors as well but have more texture than sandy soils due to their silt content.
  • Clayey soils are dark browns or blacks because they contain more clay particles than other types of earthy ground materials (which often indicates an acidic pH level).

Conditions for Turfgrass Growth

Soil TypeDrainageAerationMoisture
Sandy LoamWell-drainedGoodSufficient
ClayPoorly-drainedPoorToo much or too little

Note: While sandy loam is the ideal soil type for turfgrass growth, other soil types, such as clay and silt, can also support healthy growth with proper care and maintenance. For rocky soil, it may be necessary to excavate and replace with a suitable soil type before installing turfgrass.


You may be wondering, “How much sandy loam do I need to prevent waterlogging?” While it will depend on the size of your lawn, you should consider a minimum of 10-15 cubic yards (about 9-14 tons) per 1,000 square feet. 

For reference, this is about 3-5 inches deep. Sandy loam drains well and is less likely to clog than clay or silt.

However, if you want to avoid any potential problems with drainage and waterlogging in the future and you want a healthier lawn it is best to use 50% sand in your mix (instead of 100%). 

A good rule of thumb for turfgrass growth is that one pound of sand contains enough nutrients for one square foot of grass growth over its lifetime.

As long as there is plenty of space around each plant root zone where moisture can drain freely through the soil profile into an underlying layer where it remains moist yet aerated at all times during drier periods (soil structure), then sandy loam will provide excellent drainage capabilities while still allowing adequate oxygenation at deeper levels within its strata layers.

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Concrete or Asphalt Base

You can purchase sandy loam from a local supplier, or you can make your own by mixing equal parts of sand, clay and topsoil. 

Sandy loam is ideal for use under turf because it helps to loosen compacted soil and provide drainage for water to flow away from the roots of plants. Sandy loam also improves aeration around roots, which helps to protect them from damage during heavy rains.

DIY Sandy Loam Mix Recipe

Sand1 part
Clay1 part
Topsoil1 part


  1. Measure out equal parts of sand, clay, and topsoil
  2. Combine the materials in a large container or on a large tarp
  3. Mix thoroughly using a hoe or shovel until the materials are evenly distributed
  4. Use the sandy loam mix to fill in low spots in your yard or to create a base layer for your artificial turf installation

Note: It’s also possible to purchase sandy loam from a local supplier. Be sure to choose a reputable supplier and check the quality of the soil before making a purchase.

Sandy Soil

Sandy soil is a type of soil that has a large portion of sand particles. Sand particles are smaller than clay particles and they drain well, so they’re typically found in arid climates. 

Sandy soils also tend to be lighter than clay soils because there are fewer large particles in them, which can make them easier to work with when laying turf.

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Adding Sandy Loam for Top Dressing

If you want to improve the growing conditions of your soil, you can top dress your lawn with sandy loam. Sandy loam is a silty clay loam that adds nutrients and helps with drainage, which is great for lawns that are lacking in either or both of these qualities.

If you want to add sand onto an existing lawn, dig holes into the soil 1/2 inch deep and place 1/2 cup of sandy loam into each hole. 

Next, cover it with 1-2 inches of topsoil or compost so that no more than half of the original grass height remains exposed.

Irrigation and Watering

Irrigation and watering are important to the health of your turfgrass. Because of its shallow root system, turfgrass must be watered regularly to maintain a high level of quality. 

The frequency of watering depends on the type of soil and environmental conditions, but in most cases it’s best to water at least once a week during dry weather. 

If you’re unsure how often or when to water your lawn, talk with an expert about installing an irrigation system or consulting a professional lawn care provider.

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Compacting Subsoil and Sandy Topsoil

Compacting the soil is essential to provide a firm foundation for lawn grass. If you are installing turf, you’ll need to compact the subsoil and topsoil before laying down your new lawn. Compacting the soil will help stabilize it against erosion and reduce water runoff during heavy rains.

To properly compact your soil, use either a spade or plate compactor to loosen the existing topsoil, then use an equipment like a roller or power tiller to compact both layers of soil together into one solid surface that’s ideal for turfing over.

Amending Subsoil

Subsoil is the layer of soil below the topsoil. It typically has a different composition than topsoil and may be more compacted, which can cause issues when growing turfgrass. That’s why it’s important to amend subsoil before laying out your new lawn.

Ground that doesn’t drain well can cause root rot for your grass and other plants and vegetables in your garden, so taking steps to improve drainage will help prevent this from happening. 

However, you should also consider how much topsoil you need for each project because there are other factors that affect how much loam you need under turfgrass:

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Establishing Healthy Turfgrass In Poor Soil

Soil that’s too wet or too dry can lead to poor turfgrass growth. Sandy loam is best because it improves soil drainage and facilitates root growth, so you’ll have healthier lawns in no time.

But that’s not all! You’ll also need to consider other factors when establishing a new lawn, including the amount of sunlight your grass will receive at different times of year and the climate conditions in your area. 

The best way for you to figure out what type of turfgrass would fit best with your lifestyle is to talk with an expert who knows what they’re talking about—like us!

Use Sandy Loam To Improve Poor Soil

Sandy loam can be used in many ways. If you want to improve the poor soil in your garden, you can add more soil and compost. You can also add fertilizer, sand and lime if needed. 

You may also want to include peat moss or topsoil if your area has sandy soils that are not very good for growing plants in them.

When building a new lawn or planting sod, it is important that the soil underneath is loose so that roots can grow easily through it without being damaged by rocks or other obstacles underfoot.

Sandy loam is the ideal material for this purpose because its crumbly texture allows water penetration into deeper layers of earth where plant roots thrive best; however, adding extra organic material such as compost helps maintain moisture levels so that grass grows steadily even during periods when temperatures fluctuate wildly between hot sun followed by cool rain showers (which we tend to experience quite often here on Vancouver Island).


So, how much sandy loam do you need to add? That depends on your soil type and the amount of sand in it. 

The best way to find out is by taking a sample of your soil and sending it to a laboratory for analysis. This will give you an accurate picture of what nutrients and minerals are available in your soil so that you can determine what needs to be added and how much of each.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to help you install, maintain, and care for a beautiful and healthy lawn:

How to Lay Turf: A Step-By-Step Guide: This detailed guide provides comprehensive instructions for laying turf in your yard, including soil preparation, installation tips, and ongoing maintenance advice.

Preparing Soil for a New Lawn: This article explains how to prepare your yard’s soil for a new lawn, including tips for soil testing, fertilization, and leveling.

How to Lay Turf: 10 Easy Steps for a Beautiful Lawn: This resource provides a helpful step-by-step guide to laying turf in your yard, including tips for soil preparation, turf installation, and aftercare.


What is the best time of year to install artificial turf?

It’s best to install artificial turf during dry, mild weather conditions, which usually occur in the spring or fall.

How long does it take to install artificial turf?

The installation process for artificial turf varies depending on the size of the area and the complexity of the project. However, most installations can be completed within 1-2 days.

Can I install artificial turf over an old lawn?

Yes, it is possible to install artificial turf over an existing lawn, although it’s important to prepare the surface properly by removing any debris, leveling the ground, and laying a layer of fresh soil.

How do I clean my artificial turf?

Cleaning artificial turf is easy and straightforward. Simply use a broom, rake, or leaf blower to remove any debris or leaves, and rinse the surface periodically to remove dirt or dust.

How long does artificial turf last?

The lifespan of artificial turf varies depending on the quality of the product, the amount of traffic it receives, and the level of maintenance it receives. However, most artificial turf lasts for 10-15 years on average.