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View Full Version : How to make a trashy yard look great?


QualityLawnCare4u
10-30-2005, 09:53 AM
OK, Im sorta embarrased to ask a dumb question like this, but after doing hours or research on LS, needed to ask. First of all, anyone can cut grass from a 8 year old up to 80. I dont want to be just a grass cutter but want to know how to make a bad yard look good. Ive read on here about a 3 step fert. program, aerating,(never seen that done in my area ever, believe it or not), dethatching, seeding and overseeding, and so on and Im just more confused. Most of my clients dont care what their yard has from weeds to poison ivy as long as its neat and mowed. But as of lately had a few new ones wanting a green and lush weed free yard. My question is you take a yard like one I looked at yesterday, front yard weeds, hydhondria, bahia and some centipede. Backyard mostly centipede and some weeds. What do you do to make this yard look great? I will say that 99% of my clients are not going to go for the expense of having top soil hauled it or aerating but I STILL want to know what to do. I am studying my 2 books now to get my applicators license but it does not go into enough detail to suit me. Like I said, anyone can cut grass but I dont want to be just "anyone". When I see the things you folks do on here I think to myself "Wow, I could see the folks here putting that kind of money in their lawns that live in a run down moblie home or ranshackled house that just want a cheap lawn cutting".:D OK, dont blast me to hard but I really do want to be an expert in my field, and have people say "that Danny can sure make a yard look great".

GreenUtah
10-30-2005, 02:35 PM
OK, Im sorta embarrased to ask a dumb question like this, but after doing hours or research on LS, needed to ask. First of all, anyone can cut grass from a 8 year old up to 80. I dont want to be just a grass cutter but want to know how to make a bad yard look good. Ive read on here about a 3 step fert. program, aerating,(never seen that done in my area ever, believe it or not), dethatching, seeding and overseeding, and so on and Im just more confused. Most of my clients dont care what their yard has from weeds to poison ivy as long as its neat and mowed. But as of lately had a few new ones wanting a green and lush weed free yard. My question is you take a yard like one I looked at yesterday, front yard weeds, hydhondria, bahia and some centipede. Backyard mostly centipede and some weeds. What do you do to make this yard look great? I will say that 99% of my clients are not going to go for the expense of having top soil hauled it or aerating but I STILL want to know what to do. I am studying my 2 books now to get my applicators license but it does not go into enough detail to suit me. Like I said, anyone can cut grass but I dont want to be just "anyone". When I see the things you folks do on here I think to myself "Wow, I could see the folks here putting that kind of money in their lawns that live in a run down moblie home or ranshackled house that just want a cheap lawn cutting".:D OK, dont blast me to hard but I really do want to be an expert in my field, and have people say "that Danny can sure make a yard look great".

you can make a mixed lawn look great, in fact, I'd say that the majority of lawns out there are mixed grass types of some sort. Getting the lawn thick and green to the point it is outcompeting weeds will take a lot more doing, even beyond fertilizer. Making the soil a hospitable place for your grass to grow, through relief of soil compaction(aeration) to correcting deficiencies, whether nutrient, ph or material(organics, soil type(clay,sand,silt,loam), microorganisms, etc.) is just the beginning. Irrigation, weed & pest control, cut height etc.etc., will all come into play as well. It's all about creating a balance for your plants to thrive in. Anything out of balance, and you'll be fighting one problem or another. I wouldn't say there is a definitive source on learning all about it because certainly, your local conditions will be different from everyone else, even down to the neighborhoods or individual houses that you service. That is where your field experience will be valuable in your particular area. Building a base of knowledge from everywhere you can find it (here, trade mags, books, courses, etc.) will give you the tools to mix with what you see at the local level to become an expert in your local problems. I wish that I could tell you that there will be a point that you will know everything there is to know about it, but there isn't and anyone who believes they are the master of it all is a fool. Do your homework though, and you'll soon find measurable results that will keep clients coming back to you. It's not hard to know more than the average homeowner or even competitor and that is what creates the value for your services.

QualityLawnCare4u
10-30-2005, 03:05 PM
Thanks Green Utah, I am no expert in this dept. My problem is I have clients that have a EOW mow for 40 bucks and want their yard to look like a million dollar home but gasp when you start talking $$$. I really dont know exactly what to do to each yard to get it like that but it is something I would like to start offereing or at least know how to. Believe it or not, I only have one client with a sprinkler system. Had several to tell me "they did not care if it died less money for them to spend". These are not the kind I want to attract, but the one I looked at last week wants to spend the money and I want to at least look like I half azz know what Im talking about.

Dirty Water
10-30-2005, 03:07 PM
I've found that only yards with sprinkler systems truly look good. Most of them are healthy enough to choke out weeds on their own.

tiedeman
10-30-2005, 04:47 PM
I always say that in order to make a lawn look great, it takes 90% cultural practices. The other 10% is doing the fertilization/weed control.

Az Gardener
10-30-2005, 05:56 PM
Healthy turf will usually choke out the weeds. Good balanced fertilizer not just N and don't be afraid to pull a few weeds to make an immediate impact just have a bucket handy so yo don't spread the seeds. I would imagine if you are mowing every other week the weeds have gone to seed, so every time you mow you are spreading more seed, pull em for now. Turf is the dominant feature in the L/S but there are usually shrubs,trees and a possibly a spot for flowers maybe a pot? Trimming dead wood out of a tree helps, so does shaping and fertilizing shrubs, define a bed with the edger, add some compost or bark. Add some flowers or a pot if there is not a spot for flowers. Maybe add some shrubs or vines to cover a wall or the neighbors old camper. You are right the client is looking to you to figure out how to spend their money to make the place look great. Get some Magazines and copy other peoples ideas until you get some of your own. Try Southern Living or some coffee table picture garden books try and watch HGTV (if you can find a garden show). You need to learn the technical info but if you can do a little design you will get the right clients. I once sold a 140,000 LS job with some ideas I got out of a book called Gardens in France its now a 1,200 a month maint account. YOU CAN DO IT !!!!!!!

olderthandirt
10-30-2005, 06:04 PM
Cover the weeds and trailor with gas and toss a match on it. That takes care of the easy part, now your customers will have some ins. $$$ to pay for irrigation, proper fert program and weekly maintenance.

6'7 330
10-30-2005, 06:50 PM
Sell them on a good new shiny sod lawn, Spray glyphosate ,kill it all off and sell the appropriate fertilize and mow package, to keep it all lush and green.

Microbe
10-31-2005, 05:06 AM
what about just forget about the whole thing period! Your gona end up breaking your a## for hardley any money and being the "nice guy," to all your customers. Your gona end up with very poor results because your customers won't pay you extra for specialized practices which consist of hard labor. Your obviously in the wrong area if its a trailer park. If your serious about this... try selling your practice to others... if they can afford it then fine go ahead... Trying to build a name for yourself is extremelly difficult if you don't have the "type" of customer that can afford or want a lawn specialist. Good luck, but a certified "technician," unless your a certified technician already is in the wrong place in trailer park city.....

QualityLawnCare4u
10-31-2005, 07:18 AM
what about just forget about the whole thing period! Your gona end up breaking your a## for hardley any money and being the "nice guy," to all your customers. Your gona end up with very poor results because your customers won't pay you extra for specialized practices which consist of hard labor. Your obviously in the wrong area if its a trailer park. If your serious about this... try selling your practice to others... if they can afford it then fine go ahead... Trying to build a name for yourself is extremelly difficult if you don't have the "type" of customer that can afford or want a lawn specialist. Good luck, but a certified "technician," unless your a certified technician already is in the wrong place in trailer park city.....
\
Um, not all my clients live in a run down mobile home, that was my "area" joke if you knew south Ga. I have some very wealthy clients also and as of late have had more than a couple to ask me to make their lawns look lush and healthy. Whether I ever do one complete renovation or not I want to KNOW how to do it and be educated about it.

GreenUtah
10-31-2005, 03:02 PM
you know, the university has a fine turf program there(GA) and does distance learning programs, so that's a good resource. Most of the management decisions for you will boil down to time and budget of your client. That ranges anywhere from kill and resod, which is about as instant as it gets in the green world, to bringing a lawn around in noticeable increments over a season. Patience and money will be the deciding factor for your clients as far as the road to get there goes. However, I've seen the situation that made it a junk piece to begin with, turn a fine renovation into the same thing in less than a season as well, wasting the $$$ of the reno. Find everything you can and try to find how it applies to your local conditions and in time, you'll grab the skills. Time and perseverance.

Precision
11-04-2005, 05:04 PM
you know, the university has a fine turf program there(GA) and does distance learning programs, so that's a good resource. Most of the management decisions for you will boil down to time and budget of your client. That ranges anywhere from kill and resod, which is about as instant as it gets in the green world, to bringing a lawn around in noticeable increments over a season. Patience and money will be the deciding factor for your clients as far as the road to get there goes. However, I've seen the situation that made it a junk piece to begin with, turn a fine renovation into the same thing in less than a season as well, wasting the $$$ of the reno. Find everything you can and try to find how it applies to your local conditions and in time, you'll grab the skills. Time and perseverance.

The important thing from this post is that it doesn't matter what you do it the client isn't gonna do their part.

You will need to match the goal of the client with the proper type of lawn as well as their willingness to pay for the upkeep.

Around me you have 3 types of grass

Bahia - once established will grow without irrigation or fertilization
will be very thin and scraggly looking that way but you will have a lawn
if PROPERLY fertilized, irrigated when drought conditions come and cut at the proper height you can have a pretty decent lawn, but you will always have weeds.
If you want to spend a ton of money on selective weedkillers and the labor to have twice weekly cutting, it can be the best looking lawn around.

St Augustine - must be fertilized at least a little and must be irrigated in dry times or it will begin to die.
Looks good with a very low maintenance fert and irrigation program, responds well to selective herbicides
Crabgrass is a nightmare with no effective method of chemically selectively killing and chinchbugs can kill off a lawn in a matter of a week.

Bermuda - Just get out your check book and keep writing. Super high maintenance, fert, cutting, everything and even then you might get too hot and have kill off.
however if you do get all the issues right, it looks amazing.

Now as this applies to you. Bermuda in the trailer park isn't gonna work. But bahia will do just fine and with a little care will most likely exceed their expectations and certainly be an improvement

upscale clients sell st augustine along with an irrigation system and fert package. Mr. Jones. I know you want a great lawn and this is the simplest cheapest way to have lush green grass. It takes a little more work and money than we have been doing up to now, but I am sure by this time next year you will agree it is worth the effort.

Stupid rich people. Mr. Smith. I am sure you have seen the amazing job I have done with Mr. Jone's yard. Well if you want one even nicer than his we can go bermuda, but it will be expensive. Forget about that, I know money isn't an object with you. We will go ahead and get your fert program set up and put you on the twice a week mowing service so you can have the best lawn in town. You did contact the irrigation people right. I want to get the new sod installed about a week after they finish. When is that gonna be so I can mark it on my calendar?

QualityLawnCare4u
11-04-2005, 06:04 PM
Precision, what I run into a lot (esp. the hag that accused me of making her yard have weeds) is the ones that get it cut EOW for 35 and want it to look like so and so who spends big bucks and have a lush lawn. I still want to know how to make one look great even if I never get to do it very often. I have always believed in being knowledgeable in your field no matter what you are doing.

Precision
11-06-2005, 12:15 PM
Precision, what I run into a lot (esp. the hag that accused me of making her yard have weeds) is the ones that get it cut EOW for 35 and want it to look like so and so who spends big bucks and have a lush lawn. I still want to know how to make one look great even if I never get to do it very often. I have always believed in being knowledgeable in your field no matter what you are doing.

That is commendable. knowledge is never a bad thing to acquire.

As far as the cheapo's that want perfect lawns. "the best way to have your lawn look like Dave's is to let me provide the same level of service that Dave recieves. Dave gets weekly cutting at the correct height, maintained irrigation, quarterly fertilizing, bi annual weed control applications and insect control. Sure it cost more, but that is how one maintains a nice lawn."

I don't take any bitching from cheapo's. They want cheap then they get what nature provides.

muddstopper
11-06-2005, 12:47 PM
Qualitylawncare, here is a list of links I saved to my favorites. Some of them may not apply to what you which to learn but they all have something valuable if you read all the links contained inside each link I have provided. I didnt feel like sorting out some of the junkier sites. I know this looks like a lot of information but information is what you need to do what you are trying to accomplish. It took me three years and countless hours to go over the information provided inside these links, aint no short cuts so set aside some time for your research instead of spending time on internet chatrooms. Educate yourself and you will be miles ahead of most of the posters on this forum.

http://allaboutlawns.com/Fertilizing/fertilizing-when_should_I_fertilize_my_lawn.htm
http://www.mycorrhiza.com/mycojava/Hydroseed.htm
http://www.linwoodsupply.com/micro.htm
http://allaboutlawns.com/Fertilizing/fertilizer-what_kind_of_fertilizer_should_I_use.htm
http://www.montysplantfood.com/app/hydroseed.htm
http://www.wild.paonia.com/mycorrhizals.htm
http://linwoodsupply.com/hydromulch.htm
http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/menuofbmps/site_23.cfm
http://www.cabmphandbooks.com/Documents/Construction/EC-4.pdf
http://www.tommy-sfm.com/index.htm
http://grounds-mag.com/ar/grounds_maintenance_hydraulic_seeding_slurry/index.htm
http://www.kmproductsofnc.com/
http://www.dfiequipment.com/Hydra-Seeders.htm
http://www.tempe.gov/engineering/irrigation/hydroseeding.htm
http://www.lowimpactdevelopment.org/epa03/soilamend.htm
http://www.lid-stormwater.net/soilamend/soilamend_specs.htm#sequence1
http://allaboutlawns.com/
http://www.secretary.state.nc.us/corporations/#
http://www.ntep.org/
http://www.agr.state.nc.us/
http://www.agronomy.psu.edu/Extension/Turf/ProTurf.html
http://bluestem.hort.purdue.edu/plant/
http://www.ncturfgrass.org/membership.htm
http://www.turfnet.com/links/organizations.asp
http://www.ewing1.com/ewing/tw/home/main.htm
http://www.jessstryker.com/
http://www.agr.state.nc.us/agronomi/sthome.htm
http://www.spectrumanalytic.com/
http://www.al-labs.com/
http://www.freeplants.com/
http://www.bulbsociety.com/
http://www.princetonol.com/groups/mg/bbfactsheets.html
http://www.advancedgarden.com/l/l_svs.html
http://popularmechanics.com/home_improvement/gardening/2000/6/install_new_lawn/print.phtml
http://www.hydrosorb.com/hydroseeding.htm
http://www.watersorb.com/index.htm
http://www.soilmoist.com
http://web.css.orst.edu/Topics/Species/Grasses/Grass_Varieties/
http://www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/satellite.html
http://204.211.88.251/viewer.htm



Heres a link of schools that provide courses in turf and turf management;
www.gcsaa.org/career/purs...chools.asp

other links of interest:
Turf Management
www.worldcampus.psu.edu/pub/turf/elk/
www.griffin.peachnet.edu/caes/turf/
www.umassturf.org/
aggie-horticulture.tamu.e.../turf.html
www.nv.cc.va.us/loudoun/l.../turf.html
www.osuokc.edu/agriculture/turf/turf.htm
csuturf.colostate.edu/Pag...wncare.htm
www.academics.wsu.edu/fie...p?id=TURFM
www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/s...grass.html
www.turfnotes.com/
www.sportsturfmanagement.com/
grove.ufl.edu/~turf/golf/
aesop.rutgers.edu/~murphy
virtual.clemson.edu/group...p/golf.htm www.gcsaa.org/career/purs...chools.asp
www.turf.uiuc.edu/extensi...nsion.html
www.kirkwood.cc.ia.us/agr...ounds.html
www.turf.umn.edu/
www.gcsaa.org/resource/li...rlinks.asp
www.agronomy.psu.edu/Exte...rfExt.html
www.richland.cc.il.us/ot/..._cert.html
www.misu-b.nodak.edu/plsc240] nline.htm



Erosion control Links
www.wsdot.wa.gov/environm...rosion.htm
www.cwp.org/esc_practices.htm
www.ectc.org/
www.dcr.state.va.us/sw/docs/eslawrgs.pdf
www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/w...erode.html
www.cenews.com/ederosion0298.html
www.ianr.unl.edu/PUBS/soil/g474.htm
www.weru.ksu.edu/pics/control/
www.greenindustryyellowpa...iz=1&nav=2
www.co.clark.wa.us/ComDev..._index.asp
www.dcr.state.va.us/sw/e&s.htm
www.erosiondraw.com/
www.ces.uga.edu/pubcd/B1200.htm
ideanet.doe.state.in.us/~..._eros.html
www.farminfo.org/property/erosion.htm
www.cobb-net.com/communit...ontrol.htm
www.ewashtenaw.org/govern...nance.html
www.es.anl.gov/htmls/mckenna.html
www.engr.utk.edu/research/water/erosion/
www.ianr.unl.edu/pubs/fie...s/g544.htm
www.crcd.org/seedlit.html
erosion.coafes.umn.edu/
www.metrokc.gov/ddes/lusd/erosion.htm
www.dot.wisconsin.gov/bus...rv/pal.htm
www.betterroads.com/articles/may02c.htm
www.co.clark.wa.us/ComDev...ontrol.asp
www.lindstrom.mn.org/buil...osion.html
www.charmeck.nc.us/Depart...ontrol.htm
www.pacd.org/resources/sediment.htm
www.dep.state.fl.us/water...apter1.pdf
www.epa.gov/
www.greenworks.tv/waterqu...rosion.htm
www.westernshastarcd.org/Erosion.htm
okstorm.com/scieca/
www.controlerosion.com/
www.nal.usda.gov/ttic/tek...02245.html
www.wcieca.org/
www.ieca.org/public/artic...cfm?cat=25
www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/s...102396.htm
www.uidaho.edu/wq/wqbr/wqbr27.html
www.epa.gov/OWOW/NPS/MMGI...h2-2a.html
www.state.nj.us/agricultu...lact75.htm
www.abag.ca.gov/bayarea/e...youdo.html

QualityLawnCare4u
11-06-2005, 01:36 PM
Qualitylawncare, here is a list of links I saved to my favorites. Some of them may not apply to what you which to learn but they all have something valuable if you read all the links contained inside each link I have provided. I didnt feel like sorting out some of the junkier sites. I know this looks like a lot of information but information is what you need to do what you are trying to accomplish. It took me three years and countless hours to go over the information provided inside these links, aint no short cuts so set aside some time for your research instead of spending time on internet chatrooms. Educate yourself and you will be miles ahead of most of the posters on this forum.

http://allaboutlawns.com/Fertilizing/fertilizing-when_should_I_fertilize_my_lawn.htm
http://www.mycorrhiza.com/mycojava/Hydroseed.htm
http://www.linwoodsupply.com/micro.htm
http://allaboutlawns.com/Fertilizing/fertilizer-what_kind_of_fertilizer_should_I_use.htm
http://www.montysplantfood.com/app/hydroseed.htm
http://www.wild.paonia.com/mycorrhizals.htm
http://linwoodsupply.com/hydromulch.htm
http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/menuofbmps/site_23.cfm
http://www.cabmphandbooks.com/Documents/Construction/EC-4.pdf
http://www.tommy-sfm.com/index.htm
http://grounds-mag.com/ar/grounds_maintenance_hydraulic_seeding_slurry/index.htm
http://www.kmproductsofnc.com/
http://www.dfiequipment.com/Hydra-Seeders.htm
http://www.tempe.gov/engineering/irrigation/hydroseeding.htm
http://www.lowimpactdevelopment.org/epa03/soilamend.htm
http://www.lid-stormwater.net/soilamend/soilamend_specs.htm#sequence1
http://allaboutlawns.com/
http://www.secretary.state.nc.us/corporations/#
http://www.ntep.org/
http://www.agr.state.nc.us/
http://www.agronomy.psu.edu/Extension/Turf/ProTurf.html
http://bluestem.hort.purdue.edu/plant/
http://www.ncturfgrass.org/membership.htm
http://www.turfnet.com/links/organizations.asp
http://www.ewing1.com/ewing/tw/home/main.htm
http://www.jessstryker.com/
http://www.agr.state.nc.us/agronomi/sthome.htm
http://www.spectrumanalytic.com/
http://www.al-labs.com/
http://www.freeplants.com/
http://www.bulbsociety.com/
http://www.princetonol.com/groups/mg/bbfactsheets.html
http://www.advancedgarden.com/l/l_svs.html
http://popularmechanics.com/home_improvement/gardening/2000/6/install_new_lawn/print.phtml
http://www.hydrosorb.com/hydroseeding.htm
http://www.watersorb.com/index.htm
http://www.soilmoist.com
http://web.css.orst.edu/Topics/Species/Grasses/Grass_Varieties/
http://www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/satellite.html
http://204.211.88.251/viewer.htm



Heres a link of schools that provide courses in turf and turf management;
www.gcsaa.org/career/purs...chools.asp

other links of interest:
Turf Management
www.worldcampus.psu.edu/pub/turf/elk/
www.griffin.peachnet.edu/caes/turf/
www.umassturf.org/
aggie-horticulture.tamu.e.../turf.html
www.nv.cc.va.us/loudoun/l.../turf.html
www.osuokc.edu/agriculture/turf/turf.htm
csuturf.colostate.edu/Pag...wncare.htm
www.academics.wsu.edu/fie...p?id=TURFM
www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/s...grass.html
www.turfnotes.com/
www.sportsturfmanagement.com/
grove.ufl.edu/~turf/golf/
aesop.rutgers.edu/~murphy
virtual.clemson.edu/group...p/golf.htm www.gcsaa.org/career/purs...chools.asp
www.turf.uiuc.edu/extensi...nsion.html
www.kirkwood.cc.ia.us/agr...ounds.html
www.turf.umn.edu/
www.gcsaa.org/resource/li...rlinks.asp
www.agronomy.psu.edu/Exte...rfExt.html
www.richland.cc.il.us/ot/..._cert.html
www.misu-b.nodak.edu/plsc240] nline.htm



Erosion control Links
www.wsdot.wa.gov/environm...rosion.htm
www.cwp.org/esc_practices.htm
www.ectc.org/
www.dcr.state.va.us/sw/docs/eslawrgs.pdf
www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/w...erode.html
www.cenews.com/ederosion0298.html
www.ianr.unl.edu/PUBS/soil/g474.htm
www.weru.ksu.edu/pics/control/
www.greenindustryyellowpa...iz=1&nav=2
www.co.clark.wa.us/ComDev..._index.asp
www.dcr.state.va.us/sw/e&s.htm
www.erosiondraw.com/
www.ces.uga.edu/pubcd/B1200.htm
ideanet.doe.state.in.us/~..._eros.html
www.farminfo.org/property/erosion.htm
www.cobb-net.com/communit...ontrol.htm
www.ewashtenaw.org/govern...nance.html
www.es.anl.gov/htmls/mckenna.html
www.engr.utk.edu/research/water/erosion/
www.ianr.unl.edu/pubs/fie...s/g544.htm
www.crcd.org/seedlit.html
erosion.coafes.umn.edu/
www.metrokc.gov/ddes/lusd/erosion.htm
www.dot.wisconsin.gov/bus...rv/pal.htm
www.betterroads.com/articles/may02c.htm
www.co.clark.wa.us/ComDev...ontrol.asp
www.lindstrom.mn.org/buil...osion.html
www.charmeck.nc.us/Depart...ontrol.htm
www.pacd.org/resources/sediment.htm
www.dep.state.fl.us/water...apter1.pdf
www.epa.gov/
www.greenworks.tv/waterqu...rosion.htm
www.westernshastarcd.org/Erosion.htm
okstorm.com/scieca/
www.controlerosion.com/
www.nal.usda.gov/ttic/tek...02245.html
www.wcieca.org/
www.ieca.org/public/artic...cfm?cat=25
www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/s...102396.htm
www.uidaho.edu/wq/wqbr/wqbr27.html
www.epa.gov/OWOW/NPS/MMGI...h2-2a.html
www.state.nj.us/agricultu...lact75.htm
www.abag.ca.gov/bayarea/e...youdo.html

Precision, thanks for the links. The old hag really got under my skin. Was talking about her neighbors yard (st. augustine) how how nice it looked. I told her he mows it every week and is constantly working on it. Asked her if she wants to spent the $$$ and she told me "I cant afford that but wanted a nice yard" I told her "in other words you are wanting a fine wine lawn on a beer budget, It aint gonna happen".:D Dumb azz clients:angry: