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RDOwens
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Location: NJ/7a

80x100 Weed Patch Needs Overhaul

A year and a half ago we had our little forest removed. Our plan was to install an irrigation system and a full lawn. That hasn't happened yet as another project has taken longer than we expected. Now I am rethinking that idea.

Here is a photograph of the area.

ImageBackyard by Robert Owens, on Flickr

Tree roots are gone, but the ground is not perfectly flat. This is all weeds. It dies off in winter, but grows all sorts of stuff as soon as spring hits.

An estimate for the lawn including several truckloads of fill dirt to even things out.

Some of the thoughts are raised beds for vegetables. I would love color as well.

I have never had success in growing anything and my mechanical/ carpentry skills are minimal.

My current thinking is to rent a tiller of some sort to turn the ground over and then do something (raised beds or plant a garden).

I am really open to ideas.

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RDOwens
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Location: NJ/7a

Re: 80x100 Weed Patch Needs Overhaul

I forgot to mention that this area receives very good sun. There's not much shade except along one neighbor's fenceline. Area faces east.

imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: 80x100 Weed Patch Needs Overhaul

You could scrape off as much of the surface vegetation you can and till it up. You would have to do that a few time and water in between to bring up as much of the weed seeds as you can and get rid of them.

The other way would be to round up water and Round Up again after tilling each time.

Even if the ground is not level it is a good place for a garden. You do not have to have raised beds, all you have to do is bring in a lot of compost and some manure and work it in about 6 months before you plant.

If you have not gardened before, it is a large space to start off with. I would start smaller and put some kind of ground cover, even a lawn in the rest. Not having anything there will just encourage weeds to come back. The ground will need to be prepared no matter which way you go.

You can use cardboard and newspaper in the spot where you want to start the garden instead of Round Up. Any kind of cover that blocks light will prevent most weeds from growing. Even an old carpet works well if you just cover the area with it.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: 80x100 Weed Patch Needs Overhaul

What a wonderful blank slate!

I really encourage you not to turn it back into grass desert. A grass monoculture (aka "lawn") produces nothing, supports no life, requires a lot of tending, and is the most boring thing you can plant.

Start by thinking about what you would like to do and see back there. I don't know if this is all of your property. Would you like to have a patio, cooking area, eating area? A gazebo for shady hanging out? A fire pit for bonfires, roasting marshmallows, etc? Personally I think every yard should have some kind of water feature. That can be as minimal as birdbaths, but especially with so much space a little pond would be really nice. You can buy the pre-formed ones or flexible pond liners.

Yes, absolutely some raised beds for herbs and veggies. Start with just a few and see how it goes. If you turn out to love growing veggies you can always add more later. But besides veggies, what else would you love for your property to produce? How about some fruit trees? Or berry bushes along the fence line? Berry bushes will bring honeybees, butterflies, birds, and other wild life to your yard. Blueberries, raspberries, elderberry, grapes, gooseberries, serviceberries ....

Do you have kids? If so, you will want a kids play area.

What about a shed for lawn and garden equipment? Compost bins?

Start by drawing ideas out on paper. Once you have some of it in mind, start with hardscaping - patios, paths, buildings, pond. After that stuff is in place, it will get clearer what you want to do with what is left.

Look for inspiration pictures.

Remember not to do everything in straight lines:

Image

and with a flat back yard, some level change gives a relief to the eyes:
Image

when you look at pictures often you will see a lot that is grand and complicated and expensive. But if you think about what you like about it, often you can find ways to keep that, just in smaller, simpler version.

Image

Image

Remember that this will be the work of several seasons and be patient with yourself!

PS about simple, inexpensive, easy to build raised beds. Here's a thread where I posted pictures of my current raised beds of landscape timbers and one of one of the beds of 4x4's that I made at my previous house: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... ds#p383540 I built four 8x4 raised beds of landscape timbers for $120 total. They are just stacked and held together with steel rebar pounded down through (drill holes first!).
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration



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