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Needed: Lawn installation for dummies

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by eruuska, Dec 2, 2006.

  1. eruuska

    eruuska LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 454

    I got a call from a guy last week who's looking for a lawn install on a newly-constructed home. I went by the house, and it's been graded, but that's all. The soil looks pretty good, no big chunks of rock or clay.

    Problem is, this is the first install I'll have quoted. I've always done strictly maintenance prior to this, and the books don't get specific on the "how-to" of lawn installs.

    I know the topsoil needs to be leveled. What specific equipment is used for that? Slit seed, or sub out to a hydroseeder?

    I'm good as far as soil testing, seed selection, fertilizers, etc. (yes I'm licensed), it's just the physical mechanics of leveling, and slit vs hydroseeding.

    So go ahead, call me ignorant :hammerhead: , but fill me in on what's what of lawn installs.
  2. crzymow

    crzymow LawnSite Senior Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 378

    how big of area is it? I've seen guys just use wheelbarrles, shovels and rakes, but I dont know how they can make any money doing it that way. You really need a harley rake or rockhound. I dont know what kind of large equipment you have as far as tractors or skid steers. Id probably try to find someone to hydroseed for you, or if possible rent one, there are a few places around here that rent them. My rate to prep and seed an area starts at $.15 a sq. ft., does not include bringing in topsoil if needed. It also depends on how open the area is as well. If I just hydroseed a area already prepped I charge around $.09 a sqft. I know some will think thats high others low, depends what you can get where you are at.
  3. Branching Out

    Branching Out LawnSite Member
    Posts: 109

    How much area is it?

    And what does he mean by a lawn install? Seed or sod?

    Sell him sod and do it for $1 sq ft. Instant lawn in half a day or so. (depending on size)

    Branching Out........
  4. eruuska

    eruuska LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 454

    By installation I mean going from bare dirt to turf, via seeding.

    I'm going to give a quote for sod, but I'm betting he won't go for it. It's about 14k of turf area, and we're not talking an $800k house here, more like $200-$250k. I'd probably charge about $6000 for the sod on prepped ground (I can get it delivered for $0.14/sq ft), but I'm thinking in the neighborhood of $1000-1500 for seeding.

    How much time would be required for prepping 14k of ground with a harley rake? I guess if I knew that I'd have the last piece of the puzzle.

    Thanks guys!

    FIRESCOOBY LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 981

    It depends on how proficient you are with a skid steer and the rake, how well the grade is now, if anything needs to be added. If the ground is already final graded, then you should be able to prep it with a skid steer and harley rake in less than an hour. This doesn't take into account any topsoil added or anything else. Truth is if the ground is final graded, you can really make great time with a harley rake and skid steer. Windrow it, then rake the final row and dispose of it.

    I had a job last year much like this one. It was 12k sq ft and they wanted it done as cheap as possible. I used a skid and bobcat brand soil conditioner (same as harley rake). This area was rough graded by a D5. Still had quite a bit of undergrowth left. Owner had sprayed round-up about a month prior. Took me about 5 hours including final grading, prepping, seeding, laying straw. After prepping with the soil conditioner, I seeded with Fescue and fertilized. I then rolled the seed in and then strawed it by hand. Being experienced and proficient with a skid steer is key here.

    When doing something of this nature I make it clear in the contract that I am not responsible for unsuccessful growth. I can't be held responsible for owners not watering like they should, or a gully washer the next day washing away what I've done.

    Good luck.
  6. Armadillolawncare

    Armadillolawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 570

    green side up
    starter fertilizer
    water daily for 2-3 weeks

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