Okay, I've made previous post and I think I did more confusing to anybody than anything. I'm even still partially confused myself. I decided I would just take some pictures of exactly what I'm working on and let you guys help me draw up the board. I'll notice in this post, I'm not a professional landscaper, not doing this for any money, just trying to make my own lawn look nice and come back to alive and any help would be greatly appreciated.
So a little bit about my lawn, it's covered in shade in the front. However, I did do a major pruning on the tree cutting limbs, branches, and anything from the bottom 10 feet of the tree. In the peek hours, the lawn is at least receiving a few hours of light a day in most parts. Notice I took this picture when it was receiving indirect sunlight, but I am receiving some sunlight throughout the days.
The previous owners rarely mowed, never watered/fertilized, nor took any kind of care of the lawn. The lawn was filled in with about 50/50 of grass/weeds. I sprayed some weed killer (lawn safe) onto the lawn approximately 5-6 weeks ago, which indeed took care of the majority of the weeds. Now what I'm left with is the remaining grass and a bunch of brown dead spots from where the weeds were.
Where the confusion comes in is planning the renovation, especially being on a budget. Keep in mind I will being all the work myself, and I would like to keep the lawn project to a couple hundred dollars, a hundred of which quality seed is already costing me.
From my research, I've read that tilling a lawn that was full of weeds, can bring up more seedlets of weeds to compete with the new grass. I've also read tilling can cause a bumpy yard if you don't have a large roller and other machinery. However, I've also read that tilling can improve the soil, pull the plugs, and etc. So my question one is, for my particular lawn, should I till or not till?
My second thought and question comes when talking about the soil. I'm looking at two different routes. Either having loam dropped off or adding a top layer of compost. If I go the tilling route, I can till the compost into the lawn.
The loam route, I've read you need to lay 4-6" of loam before seeding. But I've also read not to add more than .5 or an 1" at a time. Considering my yard is approximately 1700 sq feet, I'm looking at 15+ yards of loam to cover the yard in even 4" of loam. So my next question arises for you guys with experience. What is my best option, topping the lawn with quality compost or moving loam in before seeding?
I honestly don't have the money to cover the lawn with 4" all the way across. I could get 7-10 yards and cover the yard at an 1". But from what I'm reading, isn't nowhere near 4-6 inches.
Some additional information; the lawn has areas that do need to be brought up to level off the lawn. As far as machinery, even though it would be useful, I'm far from a professional, and far from having the funds, if it takes me being out there from morning to dark doing it by hand with hand tools, it's easier on my pocket then spending money for machinery. My money is cherished, but I have lot's of extra free time if you understand what I'm saying.
I just don't want to waste several hundred dollars in the process. I've seen so much great advice from you guys and look forward to hearing your responses
and ideas. Keep in mind I'm very open minded and far from an expert so I'm truly looking forward to entertaining all ideas. Here are some pictures so you guys can give a better opinion.