Installing New Lawn

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by lukemelo216, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. lukemelo216

    lukemelo216 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ...
    Messages: 1,267

    Got a call today from a potential customer wanting a new lawn installed. This would be my first. Just had this house built last year, and never had a lawn put in. Customer says that it has been graded. I have not seen this place yet, but I am assuming its not that greatly graded. I brought up the idea of sod, but he doesnt want to go really expensive so were going the seed route. Tell me how this sounds as far as my plan of attack.........using a bobcat with a harley rake......regrade the area to get rid of rocks and other debris........put down a layer of composted soil (what do you guys recommend as a good depth for the compost soil.) Re grade the area once more with the harley rake. Now I would assume apply the seed at a rate of 5-8lbs/1000 sqft........I am going to be using ky bluegrass. Then rake the seed in using hand rakes. After this apply a good starter fertilizer and then cover with straw.

    Tell if this sounds about right, or if i should change it at all. Also, what type of starter fertilizer should I use. I want something that is going to prevent crabgrass and other bl weeds since this will be planted in the spring sometime (i use JDL fyi when telling me a fert)

    When I was talking to the customer, he was saying that he can get the topsoil for free, however; I doubt this is good composted topsoil thats going to produce a healthy lawn.

    Any help would be appreciated.
  2. ALLPro Landscaping

    ALLPro Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 813

    I don't recommend using top soil from else. use your products, you never know whats in and where it came from. As far as depth, all depends on the site, how is the soil that's their. I would go a few inches thick, maybe around a good three inches thick. If you get quality soil you dont have to go over it with the skid again, just spread it, seed it, go over it with a rake, to get the seeds in, the you can either go with penn mulch or straw, straw is deff cheaper in price.
  3. ALLPro Landscaping

    ALLPro Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 813

    Also go with a good starter fert, to keep those weeds to a min. And if he can swing the cash, I highly recommend the penn mulch, its organic and if done right you don't have to go back to rake it up, It also has fertilizers in it.
  4. McVey Landscaping

    McVey Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 131

    I agree I would not bring in any other top soil unless you have too. I usually go about 3 inches thick, put a good fert starter, along with a good mesh matting. I usually don't use straw. Sounds like your on the right track. Wish he would have let you use sod. Love laying that stuff.
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Depending on the size of the area and the type of soil that is there, I would do a number of different things.
    Straw is only a last resort. If you use it - be sure the soil has warmed enough. This time of year you are going to get a lot more weeds growing through the straw b4 the grass ever starts.
  6. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    If it was me, I'd skip the bobcat. I hate compaction.

    Go with a toro dingo or similar mini-skid. Much less weight, and if you use a tiller or soil cultivator, you'll get an excellent seed bed.

    Instead of using hand rakes, find a piece of steel fencing and tie a rope to it and just drag it around as a harrow. Way easier than rakes.

    Might want to consider doing about 4 soil tests around the property too. That will give you an idea of what kind of amendments you need to make to the soil to ensure a quality job.
  7. stuvecorp

    stuvecorp LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,240

    I usually have to do some rough grading to get it ready for black dirt. I wouldn't harley rake the subgrade unless it is awfully rocky, usually just grade with the skidsteer and also spread the black dirt with the skid. I use 4" of black dirt but like to make sure it is a uniform 4" everywhere. If the customer can get black dirt for free check it out and do some testing on it, if you argue it is no good it will likely cost you the job unless you can prove it is bad stuff(bad PH, lots of rocks/sod chunks/sticks). I like to use the Eliminator to rake it out and usually do that with a tractor, we use a roller on the tractor after broadcasting the seed on and then hydroseed the fert/lime/mulch on. I would recommend using marsh hay instead of straw as straw doesn't breakdown. I have used a starter fert from JDL and have used their Sunny mix lawn seed with good results.

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