A couple of years ago, my wife and I purchased a home in one of the older neighborhoods in Gastonia, NC. We loved the house, but the yard was a complete disaster. Our 1 acre lot was covered entirely in azelias - literally thousands of them...you can go to google maps and see them in the satelite images. The azelias were beautiful for about 2 weeks out of the year, but were ugly bushes for the rest of the time...and the worst part was that I had NO LAWN. We worked out butts off just to keep the bushes trimmed. No matter how much time and energy we put into the "yard", it was never going to look very good. So we finally took the plunge and gave our lawn the overhaul it needed. Here's a few pics of our "old" yard "in bloom": http://www.southeastforestlands.com/pics/lawn/yard before.jpg http://www.southeastforestlands.com/pics/lawn/side yard before.jpg I grew up in Mississippi, so I am used to warm season grasses. For some reason, EVERYONE in the Charlotte area has a fescue lawn...personally, I hate fescue. I believe that grass is meant to grow in the summer. I also believe that if you cant roll a ball on it because you have to cut it 5 inches high its not a lawn...more like ground cover. Anyways, I was almost deadset on trying to establish a centipede lawn...until I stumbled across some information on Zenith Zoysia. It sounded like the "perfect' grass. I was sold. We started the clearing process around the middle of April and had our seedbed ready for planting on May 10th. A few pics of the clearing process: http://www.southeastforestlands.com/pics/lawn/yard bulldozer.jpg http://www.southeastforestlands.com/pics/lawn/yard bulldozer2.jpg After clearing and about 12 loads of fill dirt, here is what we had: http://www.southeastforestlands.com/pics/lawn/yard bare.jpg 4 tractor trailer loads of compost and a new sidewalk later, we had this: http://www.southeastforestlands.com/pics/lawn/yard compost.jpg http://www.southeastforestlands.com/pics/lawn/yard sidewalk compost.jpg We put down the Zenith Zoysia seeds on May 10th at a rate of about 1.5 lb per 1000 sq feet...I still cant believe that 50 lb of ANY grass seed cost $1300. :O Now my priority was the keep the seeds moist until germination. There was no way I was going to lose $1300 worth of grass seed by not applying enough water. The problem was that after all the heavy grading, fill dirt, new sidewalk, and topsoil, I couldnt afford an irrigation system, so I went to the big box and bought about $600 worth of water hoses and sprinkler heads. I have good water pressure so I was able to run 2 heads (in series) at the same time. I bought a couple of those battery operated irrigation timers and got it all set up so that I had complete coverage watering for 20 min 4 times a day...basically non stop watering for about 10 hours a day....water bill was about $700 for the first month. After I got the seeds down, it rained....no, I mean it REALLY rained. We got about 7 inches of rain in 10 days. I felt sick. My side yard is on a pretty good slope and every bit of seed on that hillside got washed out. Not only that, but most of the new fill dirt was on that hill too...so it got washed out really bad. It was a muddy mess; even a week of sunshine didnt dry it out. I had erosion channels 18 inches deep and 30 feet long. The only thing I could think to do was to manually fill in the channels, rake it as level as I could, and put sod down. So, I took 2 days off of work and got it done. First day was spent raking and moving mud from one place to another. The second day I put down 4 pallets of sod...A special thanks to the Morman missionaries for helping me get it down...I could have never got it all done in one day without them - who says Mormans are all bad. lol Here are some pics of the sod going down and what it looked like once all 4 pallets were down: http://www.southeastforestlands.com/pics/lawn/yard sod on hillside.jpg http://www.southeastforestlands.com/pics/lawn/yard sod on hillside complete.jpg At this point, I had seedlings. They werent very uniform thank to all the rain, but I'd say 70% of the area that I seeded had at least some seedlings that were growing. About 30 days after the seedlings sprouted, I applied some 10-10-10 fertilizer. In hind sight, I should have gone with a fertilizer that was higher in Nitrogen. I didnt fertilze again - which is another thing I would have done differently...I should have hit it with nitrogen at least once or twice more. So things are going pretty well now...right? Well, they were, at least until the City of Gastonia decided to open up the fire hydrant FULL BLAST and let it run down my ditch...IDIOTS!!!! Take a look: http://www.southeastforestlands.com/pics/lawn/yard wash hydrant.jpg http://www.southeastforestlands.com/pics/lawn/yard wash1.jpg http://www.southeastforestlands.com/pics/lawn/yard wash2.jpg http://www.southeastforestlands.com/pics/lawn/yard wash3.jpg Needless to say, I was pretty upset. I got an estimate from a lawn company to fix it with sod and they quoted me $1700. The City DID admit fault, but they didnt want to pay that much. They offered me 1 pallet of sod (delivered) and a load of topsoil. I accepted the offer. They also offered to have some city employees put the sod down for me....ummm, I declined. lol 1 week later, the sod arrives. I was at work, so my wife accepts it...I get home and its the WRONG TYPE OF SOD..they delivered emerald instead of zenith. I finally got the city manager on the phone and he admitted he screwed up. 7 days later, the correct sod finally showed up. I couldnt believe it. Installing the sod was tough because I hard to kind of dig out the area where the sod was going in order to avoid having the sod "higher" than the surrounding grass. What a pain; I can only imagine what kind of job the city workers would have done...geez Again, things were finally back on track. UNTIL... I read online that you should really have a sharp mower blade to cut Zoysiagrass, so I went out and bought a new blade for my mower. I put it on, and decided to cut it about a half inch shorter than I had been cutting it. BIG PROBLEM: I accidentally put the blade on upside down and didnt notice until AFTER I had completely finished BEATING my grass to shreds. I know, I am an idiot. The grass recovered, but I did get a disease - I guess because the grass was stressed? Rust. Not the end of the world I guess. As of September 2nd, here is what I had: http://www.southeastforestlands.com/pics/lawn/front yard Sept 2.jpg http://www.southeastforestlands.com/pics/lawn/side yard Sept 2.jpg Overall, I am extremely happy with the results. Its still a little "lumpy" but it should form a good level turf by the end of the next growing season. I cant wait for the Spring!!!