Installing a playfield... need lots of help.

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Investorguy, Sep 6, 2005.

  1. Investorguy

    Investorguy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    I'm looking to turn the back 4 acres on my property into a playfield (for paintball). Currently, it's flat but bumpy field. Flat as in no hills at all, bumpy as in field mouse trails in abundance and lots of differing types of field grass. Bumpy enough that I can't really mow it w/ my zero turn mower (like mowing over moguls).

    The grass was recently hayed. I'd like to turn it into a nice flat playfield. I've thought about irrigation, but the grass never really even turns yellow here. There's actually too much water in the winter time, so I'm digging a drainage ditch around the perimiter of my property out to the road to keep some of the water away. I have pretty thick clay soil that doesn't drain very well, but I've been told that this would help.

    Anyhow, my tentative plan to install this field was to to rent a 40HP tractor w/ a 5 foot tiller and till the area I want to make a field out of. I figure it may take a couple passes. Then I thought I'd tow a piece of wire mesh fencing w/ a couple railroad ties tied to the top of it behind the tractor to flatten it all out. I guess then I'd seed, but I'm not entirely sure the best way to go about that. I know if I get the seed in by about October, there will be plenty of water.

    Other considerations:
    I have a lot of field mice. I've only lived out here for about 6 months and haven't really lived on land before, but it seems a lot of the bumpiness out in the field is due to their trails. I figure if I had a nice field and kept it mowed pretty well then they'd stick to all the other fields which offer much more shelter form predatory eagles, hawks, owls and cyotes (which are always flying/running around).

    That's pretty much it. Do you folks have any suggestions? Do you need me to clairify anything? Below is a picture of the property in case that helps.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. South Florida Lawns

    South Florida Lawns LawnSite Platinum Member
    from usa
    Posts: 4,785

    Heres what I would do. Rent a dozer or a tractor with a grader box off the back. Scrape the soil till its even and make it slope on all sides slightly for drainage, then after its smooth I would add a layer of topsoil only a few inches deep, this will provide a healthy base. Lastly get a good seeder that mounts to a tractor and run a good hardy blend of turf mix, one that will stand up better to high traffic. You are going to have a lot of compaction from all the foot traffic, that being said you will have to aerate the yard to keep it looking good. Good luck with your field and I hope this helped.
     
  3. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 1,010

    You're going to need more than chain link to level it.
    When renting the tractor,get a disc and disc the entire area thoroughly.Then use a real harrow(steel with steel spikes) to remove the grass and level it off.You can flip the harrow over,so that the flat surface gives it nice level surface.Then spread your seed and use a lawn roller to roll it into the soil.
     
  4. Investorguy

    Investorguy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    Topsoil huh? Is that really necessary, or would rolling the seed w/ a roller be okay?

    On the disc... am I doing that to break it up? Why not just till it so that I can till all the grass into the dirt. Wouldn't that kinda create my own topsoil layer? If I scraped it w/ a harrow or blade, I'd have to scrape it somewhere right?
     
  5. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 1,010

    Tilling 4 acres will take forever.Yes,you're discing to break up the soil and turn the grass under.It will be alot faster than tilling.
    Using a harrow,you'll be removing any clumps of grass left and leveling in one pass.By turning the harrow over,you can make another pass and get it even more level.You won't be dragging large amounts of dirt to empty.It will pass through the harrow.
     
  6. Investorguy

    Investorguy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    how many disc passes will it take? should I look into getting a farmer to subsoil it first? I know they typically do that on their own fields out here...
     
  7. TPnTX

    TPnTX LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    4 acres of top soil...let me know how that works out $$$

    Your options are limited by the fact that your don't have equipment. I would either rent a tractor/disc or sub it out. Then rake it.

    I've tried the fence/ rail road thing before. It only works on the "in field".


    what kind of paint ball battles can you have in an open field? Is that the old 1700's style where you stand and shoot each other? :)
     
  8. Investorguy

    Investorguy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    Air bunkers man, like this:

    [​IMG]

    So, if were to contract w/ a local farmer to subsoil, and disc it, what would I use to flatten it?
     
  9. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 1,010

    what would I use to flatten it?
    A harrow.
     
  10. Investorguy

    Investorguy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    Okay, update for y'all. And keep in mind, I'm not trying to win any kind of beauty contest w/ this lawn, I just want it as smooth as I can afford to get it.

    I went and bought a tractor (good year, could use the write-off) and tilled the crap out of it. The whole lightly tilling thing wasn't really up to my skill level w/ the tractor. I did 2 passes, but since I went at a snails pace the first time, the second pass honestly didn't do too much. The area is about 220 by 130 or so. Here's my problem: sod. I have clumps of it all over the place. Now, I don't have large clumps--2 passes w/ a 6 ft tiller takes care of that, but I was told by one person that I have to get rid of it. I tried working the box blade, but I suck at it and honestly that would take forever even if I was good at it to scrape off all the sod. So now I'm thinking that I commense w/ the fence-dragging plan and see how that goes.

    People have told me that if I don't remove the sod, then the exact same grass will grow back. I don't mind that too much, I care mostly that the ground is even.

    so...

    Should I overseed w/ a broadcast spreader like in your link? Then wait for the grass to moisten and roll it by hand? I can tow a 1000 lbs roller w/ my tractor... would the R4 tires create ruts that the roller won't smooth out? Do I need to find someone to scrap out the sod? I would rather not, but it's possible I know someone w/ a dozer. Wouldn't be cheap I imagine. The other issue there is where to put it. I have a place but it's kinda on the line between my property and my neighbors... more on his than mine honestly. Is the fence thing still the best to do at this point?
     

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