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lawn renovation approach

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by godjwood, Jun 15, 2009.

  1. godjwood

    godjwood LawnSite Member
    from RI
    Messages: 137


    I was wondering, i know it is kind of a broad question and probably situational, but if a new client calls you and they generally have a sh1tty lawn (i.e sparse, thin grass, lots of weeds, etc) how do you approach this?

    would you:

    A. get a soil test and correct the ammendments, and overseed

    B. tear up the whole lawn and reseed

    C. put down topsoil or compost on top of the existing lawn, and reseed

    or something else?

    the problem is i dont know how to approach this when someone asks. I dont have the machinery to tear up the whole lawn so depending on how bad it is i have been either taking a soil test and trying to correct what is there or putting topsoil on top of the lawn.

    and im not sure, when i put topsoil on top of the existing lawn, how i should approach this. Becasue i know you are supposed to mix the top 6" of soil but that would require digging up the lawn. so i have been aerating the exisiting lawn and putting topsoil on top of that. is this a reasonable approach?

  2. ron mexico75

    ron mexico75 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,001

    Honestly, to do a lawn the right way costs money. What I mean by the right way is to have the proper pH in the soil (soil test), eradicate all existing weeds, amend the soil (especially if its clay) MIX IN the amendment (compost/top soil mix) lime if needed, fertilizer.

    You would want to have a nice level planting bed as well. You're going to want to have a tiller at the least. You could always rent a Dingo and charge for a rental fee in your estimate. You'd want a bucket attachment to move compost/top soil and then the cultivator attachment. That attachment turns over, mixes in, levels and removes rocks all in one pass. Truly awesome! You can go back and seed and then cover. I have used peat moss as a cover instead of straw with excellent results.

    In my opinion that is the best and highest quality way to do the job and I think the customer would have the most satisfaction.

    Then you have the cheapo or budget route which a neighbor of mine had done and his looks like garbage! Company came in, scraped the lawn with a bobcat, spread straight topsoil, seeded, fertilized, strawed it and left. Full of weeds, poor quality seed, the initial appearance of the grass looked like crap, probably due to never adding what needed to be added to the existing soil and just laying down a layer of topsoil over clay.

    I guess you could aerate the property in question you are talking about and spread amendment into those holes like you stated in your post. I wouldn't expect anything great though. Will probably take many seasons to get that place looking like it would if you did it the high quality way the first time. Some people just don't get it though.
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    "C" is the most common answer. Simple easy and effective, almost anytime of the season. IF - they have irrigation.

    Doing a better job than the standard squirt and fert programs and especially watering times is the most important way to showcase your work.
    I had a beautiful catch of overseeding in July one year, doing the "C" method and the HO ruined it with water and fert. "More is better" attitude really made it kr@pp for a yard.
  4. godjwood

    godjwood LawnSite Member
    from RI
    Messages: 137

    If you use the cultivator attachment, and it tills everything up, do you just seed on top of that?

    beacuse i would imagine all that tilled soil is full of weed seeds..
  5. ron mexico75

    ron mexico75 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,001

    Re-read what I said. I said ERADICATE all the weeds FIRST (glyphosate) wait, then you can plant. Obviously tilling in existing weeds will not get rid of them.

    Yes you are correct, once you cultivate then you can seed on top of that.

    Here is a link to what the cultivator does so you can see the excellent bed it provides for the seed.

  6. bigslick7878

    bigslick7878 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 809

    Step 1- Wait until September and then start.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    If it a complete do-over then definately wait till fall...
    It is always funny to me that the budget is a big issue, so they cut corners on the most important aspects of a good job, but do it in the most expensive way... Then do it out of time so it becomes a poor job...
  8. ron mexico75

    ron mexico75 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,001

    Yup, I can't stand people like that. They want to do a job in 4 half ass quarters rather then one quality whole one. It's like you do a job once because thet are cheap or don't understand what it is you have to do. Then, they call you back and complain 3 different times on top of that when you could have finished it the right way the first time.
  9. bigslick7878

    bigslick7878 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 809

    Its amazing someone will spend a few hundred grand on a house and want an entire new lawn for 500 bucks,and flip out when you start going over the way to do it right and how much it will be.

    Same thing with ANY landscaping for the most part,eyeballs explode when you start going over numbers.

    They say sod??? How much?? a couple thousand??? I will just go spread some seed and do it that way.Grab a couple bags for 100 bucks and it will be fine.

    You get what you pay for,do it right and you will see the results.
  10. Kindarring

    Kindarring LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    Every lawn is different some need more work then other so hard to say what way to go. Also always start lawn and prep imo. Take a soil test do some herbicide treatments use merit for grubs if you are going to work with the same grass. Always ways to prep lawn to keep down weeds, insects ect before you seed. Lawns are easy to work people are always willing to pay if you set them up right. Its the people that just put stuff down with no game plan that kill our business. Just remember never try to do lawns the same they are living things and need that attention.

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