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View Full Version : Best way to install lawn?


JMiller08
04-18-2010, 12:35 AM
What is the best way to install a new lawn on a newly constructed home? Lawn will be over 1 acre in size. Looking for different views of how and what to do. Thanks guys! Also note that i do have full access to a bobcat and attachments.

ALLPro Landscaping
04-18-2010, 12:37 AM
whats the soil like????

JMiller08
04-18-2010, 12:38 AM
Alot of clay, hardpack. Not much topsoil if any.

ALLPro Landscaping
04-18-2010, 12:42 AM
If you have access to a skid steer take a rake to it take as mush of the garbage out as possible, rocks remaining wood etc, then I would lay a fresh layer of clean good quality top soil, at least 3" thick, you wont get much to grow in clay

JMiller08
04-18-2010, 12:45 AM
Im thinking harley rake...add topsoil...seed and topdress with peat moss or compost..sound good?

ALLPro Landscaping
04-18-2010, 12:51 AM
Yes on the rake, you have to remember you are dealing with just over 45000 sqft, so it can get pricey to topdress at first, can you have some one come in with a straw blower, or can you get it hydro seeded, if yo can just spread top soil and let them do the rest

ALLPro Landscaping
04-18-2010, 12:53 AM
to get 3" thick of top soil yo will need around 417 yards of top soil, to top dress would be about 1/8 of that, still expensive you may save money just having it hydro seeded

JMiller08
04-18-2010, 12:56 AM
I was thinking of the straw blowing idea, however this is probably a 3/4 million dollar home. I want to use only quality matieral. Cost i dont think is going to be an issue. Atleast i hope it wont be.

ALLPro Landscaping
04-18-2010, 01:02 AM
so it sounds like you know what your doing from here, put you estimate together and go from their. also dont judge their wallet by the house they live in, price it right not real high and not low, price it how you know you can et the job done right

JMiller08
04-18-2010, 01:09 AM
Im thinking of just going in there with the bobcat and harley rake, amending what is there, fill in low spots if any to get a good grade, seed then cover with 1/2 inch peat moss. Should be more cost effective. I will also reccomend an overseed and aeration for this fall.

ALLPro Landscaping
04-18-2010, 01:15 AM
but again your working with a clay base for your seed to grow in, up in ny nothe the best scenario, I don't know about your area

JMiller08
04-18-2010, 01:38 AM
Well i could be wrong on size of lawn, im going to bid it monday. I just threw out an acre because on mapquest aerial it looks like a decent size. Its a newly constructed home. There may be some topsoil left im not sure. Best case scenario is that there is enough soil, harley rake to level and smooth, seed, and top dress (not sure yet on how to top dress it). At an 1/8 in it would take 17 yards per acre to cover. Compost is roughly 30 a yard here so thats about 575 with delivery and tax.

BostonBull
04-18-2010, 08:21 AM
Stay away from the peat, IMO. Sounds like youre working with low quality soil, at best. Harley rake, add topsoil (if its in the budget), seed, and 1/8"-1/4" compost.

The compost will add a lot more to the health of the soil, vs. peat. You will be better off in the long run by adding compost, then like you said, aerate, overseed, and topdress again in fall.

lawn king
04-18-2010, 09:24 AM
Topsoil is everything, do it right or dont do it at all. If you do a half a$$ job on the install, the lawn will never thrive and your name is on it forever! You guys are talking about 1/8 to 1/4 inch of topsoil, thats a good formula to install a mess!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RigglePLC
04-18-2010, 10:58 AM
An acre. That is too big to add topsoil or peat moss or much of anything else. It would be wise to do a soil test. Is it irrigated? If not, plan to do it again in the fall. Were there weeds on it before house was built? Corn growing on it? Then fine. Ohio has great soil. Clay is mushy when wet, hard when dry--but around here, grass does fine on clay soil. Use top-quality seed, starter fertilizer, and keep applying plenty of slow release nitrogen. If you can keep it wet, you will be fine. Probably no need for phos or potash. Get Rodney to seed it for you--he is excellent.

StoneFaced
04-18-2010, 11:48 AM
If your paying 30 per yd for compost, your buying from the wrong people. You need to have suppliers competing for your sale, the same as your customers do w/ you. The soil your talking about may very well be the sub soil that was from the excavation of the basement...they like doing that around here.

Consider getting pricing for un-processed top soil, that gets loaded and direct shipped from the field, as opposed to buying screened, which has been moved and processed a few times. Maybe one or two screened loads for finishing the edges. That will save you considerable cost and give you better coverage w/ the money you save. Also, almost every lawn we do gets limed...soil tends to be high acid in these parts. Call several places for pricing, because they will vary significantly...avoid buying from end users.

JMiller08
04-18-2010, 12:20 PM
Thanks for all the advice guys. Im going to look at it tommarow at noon. I will chime back in when i get back.

bigslick7878
04-18-2010, 02:29 PM
An acre from scratch better have some type of irrigation.

BostonBull
04-18-2010, 06:29 PM
Topsoil is everything, do it right or dont do it at all. If you do a half a$$ job on the install, the lawn will never thrive and your name is on it forever! You guys are talking about 1/8 to 1/4 inch of topsoil, thats a good formula to install a mess!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Talking about 1/8"-1/4" of COMPOST, lil different from top soil, Mr. King.

lawn king
04-18-2010, 07:23 PM
Im aware of that mr bull, i also have an agricultural education and 32 seasons of experience! My point was installing a thin layer of any material over subsoil and calling it a lawn installation is unethical, to say the least.

Whitey4
04-18-2010, 08:16 PM
I don't have any experience growing turf in clay.... but you ask the wrong question IMHO.

Do a soil test. Examine the soil. Then, find out what the BUDGET is! Does the homeowner want a near perfect lawn? If he does, then bringing in whatever amount of top soil won't be a problem, if that is what he wants and is willing to spend the money on it.

Once you know the soil makeup, you can simply present the facts to the owner. With $XXX money, this is what you can expect. With $XXXX, this is what you can expect.

Whenever I approach a job, I first ask what the expectastions are. Then before I say another word, I ask what the budget is, and go from there. I tell them what can and cannot be done within their budget. Usually, somehow, the budget goes up as I explain what can and can't be done with $XXX.

If the budget isn't flexable, then approach it that way, but be sure to temper lofty customer expectations.... they will rerspect you for that, being honest, but it's a given, you know what you are doing.

GrassIsGreenerLawnCare
04-18-2010, 08:20 PM
how do you figure it is unethical? what would you reccomend telling him to do then i would like to hear your gameplan for him. i think they did alright giving him some info to get started

GrassIsGreenerLawnCare
04-18-2010, 08:21 PM
exactly WHITEY. i agree

JMiller08
04-18-2010, 10:39 PM
Whitey, this was my exact plan. We will see what happens tommarow. Like you said i can only do so much for so much money, budget is everything. Could be 2 grand, or 10 grand, who knows.

lawn king
04-19-2010, 05:46 AM
how do you figure it is unethical? what would you reccomend telling him to do then i would like to hear your gameplan for him. i think they did alright giving him some info to get started

if the budget is limited, do a proper installation on the front or front & sides. All im saying is to use enough topsoil/organic matter to support a good lawn. If you tell a client you can install a nice lawn for xxx amount of $$, then use a fraction of the material you should & the lawn forever sucks, that is unethical!

JMiller08
04-19-2010, 10:24 AM
So what do you guys think is a good depth for topsoil? Atleast 3-4 inches im thinking?

bigslick7878
04-19-2010, 02:15 PM
So what do you guys think is a good depth for topsoil? Atleast 3-4 inches im thinking?

Sure!

Do you realize how much top soil that would require to cover an acre?

At 3 inches around 450 yards. Or the equivalent of a small motel dropped on the lawn.

BostonBull
04-19-2010, 04:14 PM
Yes and I recommended the install of topsoil, TOPDRESSED with 1/8"-1/4" of Compost, after seeding.

Just up above in post #13

JMiller08
04-19-2010, 04:57 PM
Well I am back from the property. I havent measured anything yet however looks only to be about 1/2 acre of lawn to be installed. It was all previously wooded, house sits right in the middle of the woods. It will need to be ran over with the rock hound and harley raked. A few small dips and valleys need to be fixed. Im going to bring out my skid steer guy an see what he thinks. Then go from there. They said they pretty much blew the budget on the house so the lower the better. They are more concerned on getting the backyard done for there two dogs. So i will go back in the next couple days and get some numbers hammered out and see what happens. They are deffinatly looking at atleast i would say a 4k plus job easily. But we will see what i come up with later in the week. I also told the woman i cannot gurantee germination on a spring install and it will need to be watered twice a day atleast for the first two weeks.

JMiller08
04-19-2010, 05:01 PM
Big slick, yes i do understand the amount it would take to cover and know its not going to happen. I was just asking to see what you guys think is a sufficient layer of topsoil for turf to grow in. I would never tell a homeowner (unless there a millionaire) that i would like to bring in 400+ yards of topsoil thats just insane!

bigslick7878
04-19-2010, 11:04 PM
Big slick, yes i do understand the amount it would take to cover and know its not going to happen. I was just asking to see what you guys think is a sufficient layer of topsoil for turf to grow in. I would never tell a homeowner (unless there a millionaire) that i would like to bring in 400+ yards of topsoil thats just insane!

I normally don't ask for a "budget" from customers unless I know them and they trust me, but you might want to try to get an idea of what they want to spend.

Anytime someone says they want something done "as low as possible" or "as cheap as you can do it" worries me. They probably have unrealistic goals of what they can get for X amount of dollars.

JMiller08
04-19-2010, 11:52 PM
I normally don't ask for a "budget" from customers unless I know them and they trust me, but you might want to try to get an idea of what they want to spend.

Anytime someone says they want something done "as low as possible" or "as cheap as you can do it" worries me. They probably have unrealistic goals of what they can get for X amount of dollars.

I felt pretty comfortable with the client. She basically said you tell us. She didnt really come out and say i want it done as cheap as possible however she said that they blew most of the budget on the home and anything other than that was "above and beyond". Im going to shoot her two quotes. One for coming and doing the backyard now and the front this fall. Then one to do the whole thing in one shot. Ive got a feeling they'll bite on the first option. However if they do go with option one there will be a price increase of course. No neighbors will see the lawn so the fronts not to much of an issue at the moment. I do hope though that they are satisfied and become repeat customes as this lot has not one ounce of landscaping or mulch at all! They have the potential to throw a lot of work my way.

Kiril
04-20-2010, 10:45 AM
IMO, without a soil test, you have no hope of providing any type of accurate estimate here.

Adding topsoil on top of clay without incorporation is about the dumbest thing you could do.

Work with the soil that is there after you have a complete soil test done. Make sure you sample correctly.

BostonBull
04-20-2010, 07:16 PM
IMO, without a soil test, you have no hope of providing any type of accurate estimate here.

Adding topsoil on top of clay without incorporation is about the dumbest thing you could do.

Work with the soil that is there after you have a complete soil test done. Make sure you sample correctly.

I agree 10000% that a soil test should be done and go from there.

Whitey4
04-20-2010, 10:09 PM
I normally don't ask for a "budget" from customers unless I know them and they trust me, but you might want to try to get an idea of what they want to spend.

Anytime someone says they want something done "as low as possible" or "as cheap as you can do it" worries me. They probably have unrealistic goals of what they can get for X amount of dollars.

Isn't finding out what they are willing to spend... a budget? :confused:

bigslick7878
04-21-2010, 02:39 PM
Isn't finding out what they are willing to spend... a budget? :confused:

I mean when someone gives me free reign to work within a budget, not questioning how I am going to spend the money.

JMiller08
04-22-2010, 12:38 AM
Well i gave the woman a price this morning. Priced the entire job at roughly $6500. I came in under a couple bids that were at around 8k. She was very excited about the price and said she will let me know in a few days. I hope i will get it, me and my guy were very personable with her and giving her other helpful hints and suggestions. Well we will see in the next week or so if i got the job.