new lawn and Pine needles
I just bought a house (my first) built in 1938 in the Los Angeles, CA area. It has a large side yard and a smaller front yard with a HUGE pine tree (diadore?) smack between them. The side yard looks like it had a lawn at one time but it's mostly dry dirt now. The front lawn is partly dead (St Augustine).
The yard has been neglected for a long time (10+ years) and when I first moved in, I raked up all the dead pine needles (the short kind) and it filled 30 garbage bags!! (and I don't think I got it all).
I need to regrade the front yard which means that I have basically tear out what's left of the lawn and some ivy roots, re-level it so that runs down to the street and re-seed the dirt and (I guess) put some kind of mulch on it.
My questions are:
-I heard that too much pine needles will mess up the soil acidity
-How I can I tell if I need to add anything to the soil so that it will be new-lawn friendly.
-I don't know what kind of lawn to plant but I do know that I want soft grass that grows in Southern California
-Am I too worried about my soil?
And now I'm hearing that pine needles are great for mulch and command big bucks in the mulch market. Should I be throwing this stuff away?