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Re-doing my gf's lawn

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Tatonks, May 25, 2010.

  1. Tatonks

    Tatonks LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Hey all. I need some advice on lawncare. I told my girlfriend I would redo her lawn this summer. My knowledge of lawncare extends to reading lawncare for dummies so at best I'm familiar with some of the words and concepts. I'm in the central san joaquin valley in california. Our winters get down to 30 degrees and summers can get up to 110. So far my plan is to roto till the existing lawn and remove all of the grass. Then I'd make the grade a lil nicer and put down some topsoil and then the grass seed. I have access to a roto tiller and seed spreader and basic gardening tools. Over all the lawn is around 500 square feet, with the smaller section being 12x15 and the larger section being 20x15.The lawn gradually slopes toward the fence, but the drainage isn't great. A pool of water builds up along the fence. I'd like some advice on what you would do to fix this lawn. If you need any more information please let me know. Thanks in advance.



  2. Firefighter337

    Firefighter337 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 373

    Is she going to keep the dog?

    I would roto till it, rake out the grass, grade, install sprinkler, final grade and lay sod. 500 sq ft is roughly 1 pallet anyway, your looking at 75-175 bucks depending on what type of grass you want.

    Maybe a paver area in the corner (walking off the patio to your left near the wooden fence corner) Maybe put a grill or something in that area. It would make it more functional.
  3. Tatonks

    Tatonks LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Yah shes keeping her dogs. A couple of labs, but they're going to be gone for the summer. I volunteered for the job and can't afford to pay for the sod. Her mom bought some seed to put down. I don't really know much about it other than its a few different types of fescue and ryegrass. Think she got it off of an infomercial. The yard has sprinklers built in, but they've been capped off because every time they're turned on water pools up by the fence. I'd planned on watering it by hand, unless I can figure out a way to get better drainage.
  4. Firefighter337

    Firefighter337 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 373

    I live in ga, and I could imagine our climates are alot alike. Hot and humid summers. Mild winters.

    The fescue and rye is not going to survive your heat. Our overseeded rye yards are already dead or dying out.

    I would strongly encourage you to save up alittle bit of money and try to get a pallet of sod. Even Bermuda Tifway 419 should survive fine there. Plus it is very tough grass and might hold up to the dog traffic, if not it recovers pretty quickly.

    Maybe someone else can chime in and offer more ideas. Good Luck friend.
  5. poncho62

    poncho62 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 222

    With the dogs, you will be going through the same thing next year.
  6. clean_cut

    clean_cut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,327

    Yeah, I don't think the fescue would survive in 100 degree weather, much less 110, I'd try a southern grass like bermuda, you may have to spend some money on sod though.
  7. Tatonks

    Tatonks LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Alright, if i went with bermuda grass why wouldn't I just plant bermuda seed? It's a lot cheaper than buying the sod. Whats the advantage of laying sod over planting the seed and waiting for it to grow? Would mixing bermuda seed with the rye and fescue be an option? I'm sorry if I'm trying to stay with seeding, but its a lot cheaper and I don't want to spend what little money I have if i don't need to. I've got more time than money unfortunately.
    Last edited: May 25, 2010
  8. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,142

    If you cant drop a couple hundred bucks on your gf have her pay for it and you do the work. Without buying the right stuff you are just wasting your time and a little less money, or save up and wait until the fall.
  9. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,142

    A perfect lawn in not time vs. a struggle trying to get it to grow and be weed free. For that very small amount of money it is well worth it and you will be a hero:drinkup:
  10. Tatonks

    Tatonks LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Ok. It makes sense. I'llgo for the sod. I don't think I have the experience to grow the grass from seed if I have to start dealing with weeds and herbicides and such. What about drainage? Would redoing the grade of the yard fix the drainage? In the pictures, next to the patio, you can see the mud. Water pools there and at the bottom by the fence. I've read about digging trenches and filling them with gravel to help promote the water from pooling. I don't know how much this would help. And what about the soil itself? It seems hard packed to me. Would roto tilling it do the job or should I put some compost down to make it more of a loam soil after tilling it? Thank you for the advice and help so far.

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