Little Big Dig: Reseeding New Lawn Preparation (Photo-Heavy)

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by capcitydude, Aug 7, 2010.

  1. capcitydude

    capcitydude LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    Hi Everyone,

    This is my first post here but I've been lurking for quite some time now, soaking up the great information and advice that you all have to offer. My wife and I moved into this house about 20 minutes northwest of Boston, MA in February. At the time, our front yard looked something like this:

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    Due to heavy rains, our basement flooded in March and we discovered that we needed to have the exterior of our foundation walls waterproofed. That required excavating down about 9 to 10 feet around the perimeter of the house, installing a plastic membrane, and laying in a French drain system. Now, our front yard looks something like this:

    [​IMG]

    My first question is: What is the best way to remove the remaining grass and extensive weeds?

    For example, along the front of the house, the yard looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    Along the side, the grass and crabgrass look like this:

    [​IMG]

    In addition, I have a lot of places that look like this:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I was planning on renting a sod cutter for the front area, but I'm not sure how to handle the weeds and crabgrass. I would like to try to avoid using any harmful chemicals if at all possible (e.g. Roundup) but would if that is the best route. My plan is to eventually truck in a bunch of loam, till it into the existing soil, rough grade it and have the irrigation system put in before I reseed later this September.

    Any advice on how to prepare the property would be much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

    Samir
     
  2. bigslick7878

    bigslick7878 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 809

    Don't see the need for a sod cutter, the grass by those big trees looks fine leave it alone.

    Round up the rest over the next 2 weeks, then you are at a perfect time to seed in your neck of the woods.

    Design a nice flower bed that wraps around the front of the house( and to the back around the side), with sweeping curves not straight. Straight = bad. Flowing and curving = good.

    Also get those downspouts buried and have them dump somewhere away from the house the grade is sloping so you can do that easily. All you need is some black drain pipe to run under the ground. NOT perforated pipe solid. If you really want to do it right use PVC pipe.

    Grade looks a little choppy off the left corner of the house in between the house and that brick wall. Get some top soil and get that right. In general get that grade nice and even everywhere before you do anything, no humps or bumps nice and even from the house to the perimeter of the property.

    Try to save as much grass as possible, in some spots if there is no crabgrass(like in the pic where you can see the wall, as you get closer to the street the grass looks savable) I would just spray a weed killer (weed b gone). Any place that has crabgrass just destroy it.
     
  3. LawnSolutionsCP

    LawnSolutionsCP Sponsor
    Posts: 907

    Go by Richey & Clapper in Sudbury, MA. They are one of our dealers and have all the toys you will need. You will thank me.

    I would start with a Dingo and their soil cultivator attachement...the thing is amazing. It will remove the rocks and make the ground smooth and level like screened top soil.

    Then seed it with a spreader or seeder.

    Make sure to take pictures: before, during, and after.

    David
     
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    The more immediate problem is the water that may continue running toward the house. I see that tree by the corner has a crown higher than the foundation and that clump in the back is also going to shed water in that direction.

    I suppose you could rely on the plastic membrane and french drain, but niether will be very effective during spring thaw.
     
  5. capcitydude

    capcitydude LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    Bigslick -- Thank you for the recommendations on the flower bed. That is something that my wife would really enjoy, especially since we had to have much of the landscaping removed when the foundation waterproofing work was done. A nice flower bed will also cover up the backflow preventer we had to install for the future irrigation system. I'll also work on burying the downspouts.

    Do you think there may be any mechanical way to remove the weeds or would pulling them up by hand be too much work? Just wantedt to know if I could avoid using chemicals or if Roundup/Weed B Gone was the way to go.

    Thanks again.

    Samir
     
  6. capcitydude

    capcitydude LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    Hi David -- Thanks for the recommendation on Richey & Clapper. They seem to have a lot of good quality rental equipment. The only issue is that I'm not sure I'd be comfortable operating the Dingo with the attachment. To date, the most complicated piece of lawn equipment I've used is my lawnmower! I was going to pose a question later on regarding what to do with all the rock and stone that came up as part of the excavation. I suppose I could hire someone to rough grade the property before I put down the loam.

    Thanks.

    Samir
     
  7. capcitydude

    capcitydude LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    That's a good point. I'll try to post a close up picture of that area but they did try to leave a slight swale over there to collect and direct the water towards the front of the property. I agree that we'll have to figure something out for that area.

    Thanks.
    Samir
     
  8. bigslick7878

    bigslick7878 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 809

    No mechanical way to get rid of the weeds they need to be sprayed.
     
  9. capcitydude

    capcitydude LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    A couple of quick updates and some questions that you can hopefully help with:
    - I've decided to hire someone to take down the Hemlock that Smallaxe pointed out earlier. A couple of other local landscapers recommended the same thing (you can't see it in the pictures, but 75% of the roots immediately surrounding the tree had to be cut when they did the foundation waterproofing so we're concerned about the tree's stability). I hate to see it go though.
    - I've also decided to hire a landscaper to come in and prepare the property prior to installing the irrigation system. He's going to remove the remaining grass, bring in about 100 yards of loam to rough grade the property, remove the Hemlock stump, and install a stone drip edge around the house.

    I would still like to seed and fertilize myself. My questions are:
    (1) Is it still worth getting a soil test? I don't have much time between when the irrigiation system goes in and when I have to seed.
    (2) Can I just apply some lime? I'm thinking of going with a TTTF blend for grass seed because a lot of the yard is in the shade.
    (3) Is there a recommended starter fertilizer that I should use (preferably something organic if available)?
    (4) After applying the lime and fertilizer and seeding, I was thinking of top dressing with 1/4" compost. Does that sound reasonable? Or can I just rake in the seed with the back of a lawn rake and call it a day?
    (5) Do I need to roll the seed? I've heard that if your roller is too heavy, you can create dips and depressions.
    (6) Any suggestions for what to do around the trees?

    Sorry for so many questions but thanks in advance!

    Samir
     
  10. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,777

    My personal suggestions, picture number four shows a heavy concentration of violets--a very tough weed. Roundup needed here, probably more than once. Left side--yes somehow correct the potential runoff toward house--if tree has to go--do it. Ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass is a good mixture in your part of the country. But time for seeding is very tight. First frost is due Oct 17--won't kill your new seed but major slowdown. Seed this week for best results--seed when the soil is warm for best germination. Be sure to include starter fertilizer. Milorganite will work OK. Get the soil test, but you can add lime later, if needed. Be sure to feed it again to build the turf at 30 and 60 days after seeding. Rake in the seed. Compost is good but not really needed--and it might take several tons. Roller is OK, but use a light roller--skip the water.
     

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