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Old 03-28-2017, 05:26 PM   #1
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Yard is a total disaster


Backyard of recently purchased home is covered in moss, weeds, and bare spots. There is some grass growing in between but I'm thinking it's best to nuke the whole yard and start fresh.

EDIT: Forgot to mention that backyard gets almost no sun in the summer bc of tree coverage

On one side of the house clover weeds have completely taken over along with some other weeds. The side of the house is where I keep the trash cans so I'm regularly walking on the side of my house to throw out garbage and wheel the trash cans to the curb for trash pickup days.

I think the yard is beyond putting down some weed control and planting new grass seed. I think it's either going to be tearing up the existing lawn to get rid of the moss and weeds and plant new grass seed, or re-sod.

My concern with planting new seed is the time it will take for the grass to grow. Also, how long should I wait before I walk on it again? My concern with re-sodding is the cost.

Anyone have experience tearing out a lawn and starting fresh that can share their experience? I'm curious what tools I will need to do the job and any helpful advice. Anyone have ballpark pricing on sod?

Thanks

Last edited by diy4pride; 03-28-2017 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 03-28-2017, 05:49 PM   #2
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Re: Yard is a total disaster


Call a few landscapers. They should be able to give you and idea of what needs to be done and the cost to do it. If your area is over 10K sq. ft., I think you will find to have a pro do it with the right equipment will be about the same cost as if you purchased the material and get the necessary equipment to do it yourself.


Post up a couple of pics if you are able
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Old 03-28-2017, 10:53 PM   #3
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Re: Yard is a total disaster


I agree with contacting some landscapers. Depending on the size of the property, if it has gone as far as it sounds, you're probably farther ahead to turn it under and start over. They may even suggest treating it with 'Roundup'. They should also be able to recommend a good shade grass to deal with your trees, and also might be able to recognize any particular difficulties posed by certain tree species.

I don't know the difference between seed and sod other than 'a lot'.

A well seeded and properly watered new lawn should be fairly well established visually and for light use in a couple of months.
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Old 03-29-2017, 08:41 PM   #4
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Re: Yard is a total disaster


I agree that the cost difference between hiring a pro or doing it myself will be pretty nominal. After paying the rental fees for some of the equipment I'll need and all of the other materials at retail price, I probably won't be saving much. I'm going to get some estimates and do the math to figure out if it's worth it.

If I end up doing this job myself, any recommendations on how to do it right? Researching this so far my game plan is as follows:

1. Spray lawn with herbicide to kill all of the weeds
2. Once weeds are dead, remove old lawn with bow rake and shovel
3. Use lawn soil to create a good layer for seed germination
4. Put down seeds with spreader (shade tolerant fescue grass)
5. Water grass morning and evening

Going to just do the backyard for now. Half of the backyard is mulched garden so shouldn't take too much time or energy. Since it's all moss and weeds I can't do much worse!
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Old 03-29-2017, 10:32 PM   #5
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Re: Yard is a total disaster


You can still save quite a bit if you just know what to do.

But different grass and timing is different depending on part of the country.

If you are looking for a generic answer to cover all parts. Then better off with a landscaper.
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Old 03-29-2017, 11:10 PM   #6
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Re: Yard is a total disaster


Moss? I'm guessing deep south? East Coast? Sandy soil?

Yea, you could bring in a pro.....but that's no fun. Kinda like having an old muscle car you bought.....half the enjoyment is doing it yourself.

If you are in Florida, your growing season has already started. At this point I'd just do minimal clearing. And then sit back and figure out how you want to use the back yard.

Those big shady areas are great places to put a gazebo, BBQ grill, fire pit, etc.

Do you want a pool?

Are you considering a detached garage?

How big is the back yard?

Constant mowing does wonders for getting rid of weeds....they don't like constant 'grooming'.

If you are in the south, St Augustine is the grass of choice. it does well in less the full sun light conditions.

Chime back in and lest us know your location and maybe we can help with an initial plan.
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Old 03-30-2017, 03:37 PM   #7
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Re: Yard is a total disaster


Just an FYI: If you have moss growing you have a lot of shade. Even though there are shade tolerant grasses, you will never get a thick, lush, robust and hardy turf from them. Grass is meant to naturally grow on sunny plains, it never grows in the woods.
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Old 03-30-2017, 05:11 PM   #8
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Re: Yard is a total disaster


Re post #7..........x2
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Old 03-30-2017, 06:22 PM   #9
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Re: Yard is a total disaster


Quote:
Originally Posted by diy4pride View Post
If I end up doing this job myself, any recommendations on how to do it right? Researching this so far my game plan is as follows:

1. Spray lawn with herbicide to kill all of the weeds
I would use Roundup and kill everything. Be careful of over spray, neighbours, etc. Roundup and its equivalents are benign when they hit the soil.

2. Once weeds are dead, remove old lawn with bow rake and shovel
Depending on the size of the plot, I would use a tiller, disc or something similar to break up the top layer of soil, then drag it level and roll it. You can usually rent the machines or attachments for a lawn tractor.

3. Use lawn soil to create a good layer for seed germination
^^

4. Put down seeds with spreader (shade tolerant fescue grass)
Best get advice from a nursery who will know your climate and soil (although I do like fescue - not as pretty but hardier than many species).

5. Water grass morning and evening.
You can over-water as easily as under-water. You are better off to give it about an inch of water every second day. Often, morning watering is less than effective.

Going to just do the backyard for now. Half of the backyard is mulched garden so shouldn't take too much time or energy. Since it's all moss and weeds I can't do much worse!
.....
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Old 03-30-2017, 10:38 PM   #10
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Re: Yard is a total disaster


Thank you for the replies and suggestions. Here's answers to some of the questions that have been asked:

-Backyard is around .15 acre. The grassy area is probably only around .10 acre

-I live in the Mid-Atlantic region

I'm going to take a soil sample this weekend and have it lab tested to get an idea of the kind of fertilizer to use. I'm also meeting with some landscapers to get estimates. Like dawg said, "half the enjoyment is doing it yourself", so I'm leaning towards doing it myself.

I'm guessing that LawnGuy is right about not ever getting a thick and lush yard with all of the tree shade. That said, some of my neighbors with similar lots have decent looking yards, and that's really all that I am after. Also, the patches of grass that are there now are growing just fine so it seems there is hope for making this work. My guess is that I will need to overseed each year and put down plenty of fertilizer to keep the grass alive.
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Old 03-31-2017, 01:26 AM   #11
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Re: Yard is a total disaster


Quote:
Originally Posted by diy4pride View Post
....

I'm guessing that LawnGuy is right about not ever getting a thick and lush yard with all of the tree shade. That said, some of my neighbors with similar lots have decent looking yards, and that's really all that I am after. Also, the patches of grass that are there now are growing just fine so it seems there is hope for making this work. My guess is that I will need to overseed each year and put down plenty of fertilizer to keep the grass alive.
Lawnguy is correct. I forgot to mention one of the reasons for doing the Gazebo or something similar is to cover the ground where stuff doesn't grow.
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Old 03-31-2017, 11:24 AM   #12
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Re: Yard is a total disaster


I have a section of my yard, about a quarter of an acre that is entirely moss and I love it. It's always dark green, soft as a pillow, needs no water, and never needs mowing. I wish my whole property was moss!
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