Rebuilding THIS lawn

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by toddco, Jul 28, 2001.

  1. toddco

    toddco LawnSite Member
    from Seattle
    Messages: 56

    I’ve been hanging out here for months soaking up all the great information. I’ve read tons of posts and now need a little bit of specific advice. My goal is to rebuild my lawn. Here’s what I’ve got:

    -- Live in western Washington, Redmond to be exact
    -- About 1 acre of grass, backing to natural creek and woodlands
    -- Front lawn ~12k sq/ft slightly more formal looking area
    -- Back lawn ~35k sq/ft more pasture like, but neatly mown
    -- Grass is messy variety of blends, some fine, some course, some wild grasses that grow to over 6’ if left unmowed
    -- Weeds now only about 5-10% after a year of rough fighting
    -- Lots of bumps and ruts from moles, voles, etc
    -- No irrigation system
    -- Great sun exposure

    I know the standard answer is kill everything with round up, rototill, topdress and seed. However, I'm not sure this is realistic given the lawn size, or that it will be worth the effort for a couple reasons. First, since I'm next to woods and in a fairly rural area the moles will forever be here, something I have to live with. Second, since the creek sometimes floods, it's not unusual to get some silt dumped in the backyard every few years. Third, weeds and rough grasses will always be a problem coming from the neighbors. Finally, the grass isn’t terrible right now, but I’d love to have it look like one of Eric’s lawns. :)

    So, my tentative Plan is the following:
    1) Cut the existing lawn really short, 1-2"
    2) De-thatch
    3) Core aeration 2-3 times over
    4) Bring in topsoil to fill the worst ruts that cause scalping, but not to completely level
    5) Seed with a really high quality blend

    My Questions Are:
    1) In this part of Western Washington, when is the best time to do this so that the seed has the best chance without irrigation?
    2) What grass variety/blend will be best here? I'm willing to mow & fertilize very regularly. Need some drought tolerance for our dry summers. Prefer to cut higher at 3-4", usually mulch. Will always have some grasses invading from neighboring fields and woods, so a blend perhaps?
    3) Should I worry about the number of weeds I have at this point, or will any weed treatment just cause more problems for the new seed?
    4) What else should I consider, or am I missing? Does this plan make sense?

    Please don't slam me or tell me to do a search. I've read hundreds of posts and my questions really are specific to my area and my conditions. I've also reviewed a bunch of books at the store but again they are too broad in their application. Plus the answers will probably be interesting to others here.

    I'm really most interested in what pro LCOs have had the best luck with when rebuilding large lawns and making trade-offs with these kinds of issues. I would also be happy to pay for a consultation or two if someone is interested, but I'll take pride in doing the work myself.

  2. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    a lot depends on what your goals are. if it was mine .id just weed a feed it this fall and overseed with what ever grass dominates up there.if you want an immaculate totaly managed lawn,the best is to kill what you have in back and overseed this fall with starter fert used.the front may work with weed an feed.
    good luck to youTM
  3. toddco

    toddco LawnSite Member
    from Seattle
    Messages: 56

    Who can chime in with seed recommendations?
  4. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    What about fescue? LOL. I don't know of any mixes but since I live in Chelan, it's pretty hot here and I have a fescue lawn. It does fine. Most of it gets sun all day. We water maybe 2-4 days a week, depending on how hot it is. It still grows like crazy. LOL. Good luck.
  5. toddco

    toddco LawnSite Member
    from Seattle
    Messages: 56

    What about some of you guys from around here?
  6. siclmn

    siclmn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 364

    OK here is what I know. Topdressing a bad lawn is like whitewashing a fence or sealcoating a bad driveway. It is temporary and not the real fix. I have done some dream lawns around here that are small and what I do is first rototill and remove old sod. Then I get yards and yards of garden mix which is sand,compost,and peat. Then I mix it in with a rototiller at six to eight inches. Then seed your new lawn with any seed that says Pacific Northwest Blend on the package. You must use a lawn roller and roll and grade the dirt many times untill it is perfect and you must use seed and you must cover the seed with peat moss using a peat moss spreader. If you do this around May you might not need to water.

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