Advice on a yard renovation

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by DragonflyGardening, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. DragonflyGardening

    DragonflyGardening LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    Hey guys, been reading here for a long time and need to ask my first question. We are a gardening/design company and branching into some lawn stuff this year. I'm doing an estimate and was hoping just for some general feedback.

    Customer wants the lawn taken up and sod put down. It's rather bumpy and the grass looks okay right now (as in it will grow) and she just wants it leveled and made more 'kid friendly'.

    We intend to use the till it and rake it method, then add some topsoil to aid in leveling and some compost, till in the compost, starter fert and then sod. I know some will say use a sod cutter and we've gone back and forth on that and decided on the tilling route - seems way less hassle in getting all that sod out of there and should work fine I presume.

    The yard is 2000sqf, it includes some leveling (not much of a grade), ripping out an old railroad tie garden bed and rebuilding the bed with stone. There is also a decent chunk of cleanup with some branches and general debris piled up.

    We figure, with a crew of 2:
    1 day (or a bit less - maybe 5-6 hours): Clean up and removal of debris and dig out old bed

    1 day (or maybe a bit more - maybe 8-10): Till (5-6 passes till its fluffy and sod is broken up) and rake out clumps, Level foundation for a garden shed,
    Build new garden bed (low drystack, filled with topsoil mix)

    1 day: Spread and rake topsoil/compost, re-till it in, get out all the remaining clumps, level yard, rake and roll

    1 day: spread fert, lay sod, finishing touches

    That's giving us 4 days, I'm leaning towards figuring we can actually do it in 3. But obviously I'm not sure, that's why I'm looking for help here. We are good on our estimates with garden work but this stuff is a bit now - we've laid sod and stuff but not really professional/paying attention to time.

    Thanks again for any advice, love this board and all the helpful folks on it.
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Raking out clumps and tilling sod is so much more work than is worth it... If it is a rainy period when you get going on this it will be even worse... 5 or 6 passes with the tiller an your work hasn't even begun yet...

    I never roll b4 sod, less compaction and better contact with the roots... then settle eveything in with lots and lots of water... Let it dry enough to roll then a couple of days later... JMO...
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,800

    You still have to remove all the old sod. If you till it first--the sod is just in smaller pieces. I would avoid adding topsoil and compost if possible(fix grade of course). I suggest irrigation to avoid the thinness problem in the future. 5 or 6 passes with tiller seems excess to me--you might damage soil structure and make it too fluffy--too soft. Couple hours with a sod cutter, add starter fert, till, lay sod. Green side up.
  4. DragonflyGardening

    DragonflyGardening LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    If I use sod cutter what are we looking at to remove - 1 trip in a 1 tonne? We don't have a big truck, just a compact as we don't usually done heavy haulage, just brush and whatnot. What would it be like getting 2000sqf of sod out of there - i assume no chance with a Ranger...

    Thanks for advice, good stuff.
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Cutting it thin will be less to haul away than the same amount of chunks than are always larger... Make several trips if necessary, relocate some of it, resell some or even better yet...

    Cut it as sod, roll it and stack it off the the side, till in your compost, level with a rake and put the same sod back down.

    If your ground gets too fluffy you may want to roll it before putting down the sod... you can always scratch the surface for soil contact if need be...

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