How To Improve Lawn Drainage With Sand

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Besides the unsightly nature of a water-logged lawn, poor drainage causes multiple problems that will cost you money and time to handle.

These include fungal infestation, poor growth of your grass, diseases, and weed growth; thus, getting ahead of it is vital, so how do you improve lawn drainage with sand.

To improve lawn drainage with sand first, mow your grass short then aerate your lawn and finally pour the sand down and spread evenly with a broom or with a power broom attachment for your weed eater or using the Swardman Reel Mower brush attachment.

Sand is excellent for improving lawn drainage, but you must remember that it isn’t suitable for every lawn, so ensure it will work for your yard beforehand.

Nonetheless, keep reading this post to find out why, when, and how sand boosts lawn drainage.

Why Improve Lawn Drainage With Sand?

How to improve lawn drainage with sand

You should improve your lawn drainage with sand because this soil type is better at draining water than other types like clay soil.

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For instance, clay soil is a major cause of drainage problems in most lawns because it’s denser than sandy or loamy soil.

Water will take longer to seep into the ground or sometimes not at all if your lawn is made up of clay soil.

With water runoff or rainwater sitting in your yard, little or no oxygen will infiltrate the soil, drowning the roots of your grass or killing them altogether.

Adding sand to lawn for drainage helps improve the rate at which water penetrates the soil, keeping you from having a soggy yard.

Coarse textures let water move past the grains into the sand beneath your lawn, keeping it dry.

Read more: Can you lay sod on sand

Sand is a popular choice for improving drainage for soil with a loamy texture. However, it isn’t great for a lawn with clay soil since clay and sand mix well to create a material resembling concrete, thus making your yard impenetrable and solid.

Instead, you can use organic matter to improve drainage on a lawn with clay soil since it will coat the particles of clay, opening the soil pores, thus aiding water and air movement. The process will take long after application to be effective.

The organic matter you can use include potting soil, garden compost, worm castings, grass clippings, manure, and leaves.

The advantage of using these materials is that it also provides nutrients to your lawn.

Is Sand Good For Drainage?

Sand is good for drainage because this soil is less compacted, allowing water to seek into the ground more effortlessly.

Among the most effective lawn drainage solutions, adding sand is up there since the sand’s tiny particle size gets in between the soil clods, breaking them up, boosting drainage, and aerating the soil.

Coarse sand drains better than finer ones because the sharp edges let water drain between the sand particles. This is why the fine beach sand is more compact and slower in draining water.

On the other hand, the crushing process of making manufactured sand leaves dust behind that inhibits drainage. Therefore, the best human-made sand for drainage has been washed off every fine particle like play sand.

The drainage ability of sand soils depends on their size and grade, regardless of whether they are natural or manufactured soil.

For example, the grains size of human-made coarse sand is 0.5 to 1.0 millimeters, while the very coarse ones are 1.0 to 2.0 millimeters.

On the other hand, the size of fine sands like play sand is 0.10 to 0.25 millimeters. These types of soils aren’t ideal for drainage because they are more compact.

When selecting the best waterlogged lawn sand, go for medium-sized to very coarse sand to achieve the most desirable outcome.

Concrete sand ranges from 0.3 to 2.0 millimeters in size, putting it in the category of coarse to very coarse sand and excellent for boosting your lawn drainage.

How To Use Sand To Improve Lawn Drainage

To improve lawn drainage with sand first, cut your grass short then aerate your lawn and finally pour the sand down and spread evenly with a broom .

Aerating entails making small, relatively deep holes using an aerating fork, a garden fork, or aeration boots. The holes should go into the soil through the grass to allow nutrients, water, and air to penetrate the soil.

Begin from one edge of your lawn, then step about 6 inches back and do the same until every part of your yard is aerated. Ensure the previous core of the soil is pushed out whenever you step on the aeration fork.

Aerate your lawn in late or early autumn or spring when it’s easier to penetrate the soil, not during hot seasons when the ground is dry.

Aeration stimulates the growth of new roots, increases nutrients uptake, aids your lawn’s absorption capacity and drainage, and breaks through thatch build-up.

After aerating your lawn, topdress it by doing the following:

  • Spread sand about half an inch thick over your lawn’s surface.
  • Brush the sand into the grass with a rake to ensure it’s close to the soil.
  • Reseed your lawn to replace the grass that died from waterlogging to eliminate the patches in your yard.

After a couple of weeks, the sand will break up the compacted soil by going into the soil’s top layer.

You can also add fertilizer like compost to provide nutrients to your grass, aiding their growth, but apply fertilizer after topdressing and planting seeds.

Keep in mind that sand doesn’t offer nutrients to your lawn, so you must address this issue. You can do this by laying fertilizer or mixing compost.

When To Use Sand For Lawn Drainage?

The most suitable time to spread sand on your lawn for drainage is early fall or spring before the excess cold or heat months.

This is especially essential if you intend to overseed your grass as this will allow the seeds to germinate and grow and even let you mow 3 to 4 times before the weather change.

You should apply sand annually to achieve consistent drainage over an extended period because topdressing takes years to be effective.

Does aerating lawn help drainage?

Yes, aerating lawn help with drainage issue. Aerating entails making small, relatively deep holes using an aerating fork, a garden fork, or aeration boots.

The holes should go into the soil through the grass to allow water drain from the surface into the earth below, instead of puddling.


Too much water destroys your grass, so don’t let your lawn get waterlogged. Fortunately, lawn drainage solutions like adding sand to your lawn help the water drain efficiently and help keep your grass healthy by allowing it to access nutrients, oxygen, and the correct amount of water.

Water pooling on your lawn, grass turning yellow, and the yard being muddy or squishy long after it stops raining indicate drainage problems in your lawn. Watch out for these signs and act swiftly to help save your grass.

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