Check out my lawn - need some help!

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by BBdude, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. BBdude

    BBdude LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Hi all,

    Great forum and hoping you can provide me some assistance. I'm located just outside Philly and bought this home last summer. Previous owner didn't take good care of the grass so I'd like to start this season out correctly.

    I've posted some photos of my lawn and my neighbors. Unfortunately, I'm on a budget so I can't hire someone to fix my lawn and I don't have money to install a sprinkler system, etc. For what it's worth, my neighbors lawn looks this way without any more water than my yard gets (e.g., he has no sprinkler system and does not have sprinklers set up, etc.).

    What are the things I should focus on this year? I know this won't fix itself in a year, but want to get started. FWIW, I have a little less than a 1/2 acre of grass and mow with a push mower.

    Front yard:

    Front yard close up:


    Backyard close up:

    Neighbors yard:

    Neighbors yard close up:
  2. Jcl4slc

    Jcl4slc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 259

    This yard could easily be fixed in just weeks. When were these pics taken?
  3. JonesLawnCareWV

    JonesLawnCareWV LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    Subscribed, ought to be some good info headed your way OP. Eager to see the suggestions, as this grass looks similar to mine- thatch filled if I'm correct. Simple fix from what I've read, but I've never done a dethatching, so what do I know.:laugh:

    Stay tuned for advice from the seasoned LCO's, they'll get you the info you need. Be warned some of them may come across wrong at first but they know what they're talking about. :hammerhead:
  4. twomancrew

    twomancrew LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 940

    Last summer when they bought the house.

    Don't mow it when all the other idiots start. How big is this yard(ish answer is fine)? Will you pushmow or use a riding mower? It was mowed way too short last year. Simply letting it grow out and mowing at 4" will do wonders. Be patient on some things and hurry up on others.

    Maybe there is an owner near you on this forum who can come give you a one shot squirt this Spring. I heard your budget but this might do all you need to be happy along with proper mowing. Gets back to the lawn size question.
  5. BBdude

    BBdude LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Thanks for the swift responses!

    Photos were taken in my back/front yard. House is a year old. Located just outside Philadelphia.

    Grassy areas are probably 1/3 to a little under a 1/2 acre. I pushmow (no bad). How did I determine my mower is set properly to 4"? If my mower is in the garage should it be 4" from the garage floor to the base of the blades/mower?

    I am on a budget, but can spend what's necessary on fertilizer and such, but need to do it myself (or of course help from a friendly neighbor!).
  6. twomancrew

    twomancrew LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 940

    Set the pusher as high as it will go. Maybe 1 notch down, but probably not. It might seem weird the first 2 or 3 weeks but the grass will get thicker if you do that. That's about the only freebie you will find. The crab grass won't be there early Spring and hopefully the grass can get ahead of it if you keep the mower high. You want the lawn to crowd out the weeds. This can take a couple years to really get there. Train Fido to poo in a grid that covers the lawn.

    A small lawn like you have could be treated for not much money. The weed and feed you connect to the hose and spray over the lawn is better than people think. Follow the instructions and keep moving with it. The spray you hire would really be the thing to do if someone will give you a one timer.

    I really think all you need is for someone to throw you a bone and spray you early and then mow it right. It will do so much better for so very little.
  7. PenningsLandscaping

    PenningsLandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,853

    You need to dethatch and/or aerate. Aerating will do a good enough job. Rent one for the day since you don't have a tractor to pull a small one.

    I would plan your own fertilizing for the year, Home Depot has Lesco stuff which is good (not as good as the professional grade stuff, but will get the job done) if you can't afford to have a professional do it.

    Apply whatever you buy PROPERLY. Bad apps mean no results.

    Also, mow high, it looks like tall fescue/rye grass, most people don't have the sense to mow it higher. Cutting your grass no less than 3.25 inches at the lowest will make a huge difference.
  8. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,545

    How about some wide angle picture's of the property? Tree's and structure's and fence's can make a big difference in sunlight and airflow, and those two factor's can really help or hurt a stand of grass.
  9. Jcl4slc

    Jcl4slc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 259

    I'm agreeing with Pennings landscape . First thing I would do is get out the rake . It looks like you have thick area of thatch. You need to rake out all that bad stuff. Price= free. Second thing I would do, is pay attention to the weather. Timing is everything on this step. You want to wait till your grass is starting to green up and grow , and also a day when it's going to rain. Bring out the mower and cut the grass extremely short for only this one time. Do not scalp but cut extremely close to the ground. Fertilize with a good weed n feed but make sure it gets rained in. Price $35 dollars.After that start cutting it high like every one recommended. This height will block out the weeds. Next step is I would get fast release fertilizer like 8-8-8. ( I know this is not a grass fertilizer, and would not do this on a manicured lawn that has been well maintained) very inexpensive, about $12 a bag. They sell this at lowes and hD. Put this out very lightly about every 20 days before a rain.The 8-8-8 will make your grass eat those weeds.( stop doing this when temps get in the 90s. Remember to keep cutting height high and change your cutting patterns from |, /,\ ,---. This will make your grass stand up straight. Your yard will drastically improve following these steps in just weeks. Should be a night and day difference. Last step, get Beer, Get meat, get grill, enjoy lawn. Best of luck for this inexpensive fix.
  10. Mike A

    Mike A LawnSite Member
    Messages: 74

    When were the pictures taken? Late last summer? I see some crabgrass and it looks like some dormant fine fescue that may have been suffering from the heat. Mowing higher will definately help. U may have to do some seeding this fall because rye and fescue are clumping grasses and will not spread much on their own. Put down a crabgrass pre-emergent a few weeks before the first mowing and apply 2-3 rounds of high nitrogen sept-nov. No need to fertilize stressed cool season grasses in the heat of summer unless u are getting adequate rain.
    Core aeration would definately help. Do it when it's cool and the grass can recover.
    Good luck
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