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Old 01-14-2012, 08:42 PM   #1
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Starting my lawn from Scratch!


Hey all. Just joined the forum. I'm looking for some advice on where to go next. I just rototilled most of my entire backyard. The rest in the morning. Hopefully the blisters won't be too bad! Here is a pic of what I did today.



Pretty much the inside of the cement curbing will be grass and the outside I may do some fruit trees or something. But the trees will come later. Grass is my focus right now. The rough dimensions for the grass are below in red.

Currently my plan to prep the dirt is.....

1-Rototill as deep as possible. (I think I got about 8-12" down today)
2-Trench for sprinklers.
3-Roll the dirt down with one of those water drums to pack the dirt down some and level it some.
4-Get manure/peat moss/fertilizer ...which I am not sure how much or what do put.
5-Rototill 4" or so to mix the dirt with the fertilizer in.
6-Seed/Sod/Seed

Does that sound like a good plan? Should I change up the order at all?

Anyone have suggestions as far as the fertilizer? I live in SoCal and the dirt is "decomposed granite". It's not toooo bad, but I am sure some more organics in there.

Here is my layout.....



Thank you!

Alan

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Old 01-14-2012, 09:08 PM   #2
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You need to get your soil tested to see what it needs, anything else is just guessing.
I've never seen anyone roto tiller a whole yard to just plant grass.
Go on the Scotts web site for expert advice and ask questions.
By tilling the soil you have planted all the weeds seeds below the surface.


Last edited by joecaption; 01-14-2012 at 10:15 PM.
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:37 PM   #3
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Me neither. I thought you were building a garden.
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:19 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by gashuffer View Post
Hey all. Just joined the forum. I'm looking for some advice on where to go next. I just rototilled most of my entire backyard.

Currently my plan to prep the dirt is.....

1-Rototill as deep as possible. (I think I got about 8-12" down today)
2-Trench for sprinklers.
3-Roll the dirt down with one of those water drums to pack the dirt down some and level it some.
4-Get manure/peat moss/fertilizer ...which I am not sure how much or what do put.
5-Rototill 4" or so to mix the dirt with the fertilizer in.
6-Seed/Sod/Seed

Does that sound like a good plan? Should I change up the order at all?

Anyone have suggestions as far as the fertilizer? I live in SoCal and the dirt is "decomposed granite". It's not toooo bad, but I am sure some more organics in there.

Thank you!

Alan
Typically you don't till that deep for grass. But now that you already have...

- Shallow till in your fertilizer/manure.
- Rake/drag it as smooth as possible. (Are you using a garden tractor?)
- Fill that roller with water and get this thing packed back down.
- Trench in your sprinkler system.
- Scratch the surface with a rake, sow the grass seed, and work it shallowly into the soil. *I would NOT recommend sod.
- Water it well. Soak it twice daily, but don't flood it. Figure on it taking at least 10 days for the grass to germinate. Don't get frustrated.


This is going to be a large and long project for you! The new grass is going to be very spotty and fragile the first year. You will be frustrated. Because you've tilled so deeply, your base is going to be pretty soft. You will need to spray for broad-leaf weeds, and you will also need to fill in low spots each year and seed them.


Just keep at it. Don't expect miracles over night. Good luck!
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:30 PM   #5
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*I would NOT recommend sod.
Why not?
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:36 PM   #6
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You need to get your soil tested to see what it needs, anything else is just guessing.
I've never seen anyone roto tiller a whole yard to just plant grass.
Go on the Scotts web site for expert advice and ask questions.
By tilling the soil you have planted all the weeds seeds below the surface.
Yeah, I may ask my neighbors tomorrow to see what they did. Or ask at home depot what they have seen for the area.

I tilled the whole thing because I tried digging and the dirt was super hard. I guess I could have just gotten a trencher.....oh well now tho!
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:38 PM   #7
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Why not?
Price, for one.

Also though (this is an observation from back in the law-care days) it seemed to me that newly sodded lawns took a LONG time to grow deep roots. The sodded lawns we mowed were always the first to brown out in the heat of the summer.


Other opinions will differ.
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by DrHicks View Post
Typically you don't till that deep for grass. But now that you already have...

- Shallow till in your fertilizer/manure.
- Rake/drag it as smooth as possible. (Are you using a garden tractor?)
- Fill that roller with water and get this thing packed back down.
- Trench in your sprinkler system.
- Scratch the surface with a rake, sow the grass seed, and work it shallowly into the soil. *I would NOT recommend sod.
- Water it well. Soak it twice daily, but don't flood it. Figure on it taking at least 10 days for the grass to germinate. Don't get frustrated.


This is going to be a large and long project for you! The new grass is going to be very spotty and fragile the first year. You will be frustrated. Because you've tilled so deeply, your base is going to be pretty soft. You will need to spray for broad-leaf weeds, and you will also need to fill in low spots each year and seed them.


Just keep at it. Don't expect miracles over night. Good luck!
The dirt was pretty torn up from gophers. I wanted a fresh start. Killing weeds is fine. I can do that or pull them as I mow.

I cant wait to seed! I wasn't going to do sod, just cuz I hear you will get a better looking yard from seed. Ill see tho! My buddy just sodded his backyard. So i can compare to his.

So you wouldn't suggest laying sprinkler lines before packing the soil down? I was planning on laying the lines tomorrow, but i could always pack it tomorrow. I guess i would know the ground height better if i do it in your order.....
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:47 PM   #9
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So you wouldn't suggest laying sprinkler lines before packing the soil down? I was planning on laying the lines tomorrow, but i could always pack it tomorrow. I guess i would know the ground height better if i do it in your order.....
I'm not thinking that burying water lines in soft, unstable soil is the right thing to do. The soil IS going to move & settle.
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Old 01-14-2012, 11:05 PM   #10
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I'm not thinking that burying water lines in soft, unstable soil is the right thing to do. The soil IS going to move & settle.
True that. I guess I will head to home depot in the morning and snag some fertilizer. They open at 7am. I want to get all the tilling done by noon tomorrow. I have to have the tiller back to home depot by 12:30 for the 24 hour mark. Not a big deal if I cant make it in order to do it right tho.

Then when I return the tiller at 12:30, I'll pick up a water drum to bring back and pack it all down. Then trench and put the lines in tomorrow afternoon/monday morning. Then seed on Monday since it's a holiday for us government workers!

Should work out nicely.....in my head at least.
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Old 01-14-2012, 11:08 PM   #11
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Altho, I need to pick up a pressure sensor to see how much PSI my lines have. I'm pretty sure it should be plenty, but here is my current sprinkler design....

I have 5 heads per line. Two lines. I have three lines total in the back, but one will be dedicated to a drip system for whatever trees or bushes I put on the outside....


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Old 01-14-2012, 11:10 PM   #12
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True that. I guess I will head to home depot in the morning and snag some fertilizer. They open at 7am. I want to get all the tilling done by noon tomorrow. I have to have the tiller back to home depot by 12:30 for the 24 hour mark. Not a big deal if I cant make it in order to do it right tho.

Then when I return the tiller at 12:30, I'll pick up a water drum to bring back and pack it all down. Then trench and put the lines in tomorrow afternoon/monday morning. Then seed on Monday since it's a holiday for us government workers!

Should work out nicely.....in my head at least.
You might want to look for a local seed company. Some of the grass seed at HD could be several years old. The local company would probably have a more knowledgeable person to talk to, about seed, than the guy at HD.
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Old 01-14-2012, 11:10 PM   #13
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Next project ask before doing and we can save you some extra work.
Any box store is not the place to asking questions.
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Old 01-14-2012, 11:12 PM   #14
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You might want to look for a local seed company. Some of the grass seed at HD could be several years old. The local company would probably have a more knowledgeable person to talk to, about seed, than the guy at HD.
Ok good idea. I also thought about that "hydro seed" stuff. Any opinions on having that blown on?

I don't have to seed Monday anyway. once it is all set up, I can do it really any day.
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Old 01-14-2012, 11:13 PM   #15
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Next project ask before doing and we can save you some extra work.
Any box store is not the place to asking questions.
Box store is like home depot or lowes?

Yeah, i should have before I started this huh. Live and learn I guess!

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