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Joined: Mon May 19, 2014 2:12 pm

New Homeowner Looking for Some Yard Help

Thank you in advance to anyone who will read this and lend their advice. It is much appreciated.

We live in Tigard, OR (about 15 miles west of Portland)

The prior homeowners had a big dog who dog both big and small holes (no deeper than 1ft). Along with that, their is moss covering about 1/8th of the yard. So the yard is bumpy. So bumpy that I don't allow my kids to play out there because I'm scared their sprain an ankle. I believe the moss is because the backyard doesn't get a lot of sunlight.

I would like to restore the yard, just nice enough so my kids can play on it. I was thinking I could just put some top soil all over, level it, plant grass seed, put some more top soil on top, water and cross my fingers. What do you think?

My neighbor, who is a lot older than me and seems to know what he's talking about, said I may want to rototill the whole yard, rake it even and then seed and put some peat moss on top. I asked him if I should take some of the yard out (weeds and moss) after the rototill and he said I could just keep it back there. This seemed odd to me.

Should I put down some weed and feed, moss control, and then rototill after the weeds/moss are gone? Does it matter? Should I just put down some top soil and not weed and feed?

Oh I'll also add that I have a lot of clay in the soil.

Any advice or suggestions would really be helpful. My wife and I grew up in apartments so this is our very first yard. Thank you in advance. Let me know if you need any additional details.

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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:32 am
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: New Homeowner Looking for Some Yard Help

Once I was told that lawns should be renovated every 7 years. Renovating a lawn is a lot of hard work but can be done. However, it might be something you would want a landscaper to do. If you do it yourself, it might be easier to do it in sections.

Usually, when a yard man redoes a yard that is full of weeds, they kill the existing weeds and grass with something like round up. It may take a few treatments to do it. After that the old grass and weeds need to be scraped off and tossed out.

Get a soil test.

Oregon gets a lot of rain, but you will have to water a new lawn up to 4 times a day in the beginning. If you are not up to that consider installing a sprinkler system or at least get decent sprinklers and a timer.

Next add the amendments, compost, manure, fertilizer that is recommended by the soil test. This part is usually done with a rototiller. Get a good one with the engine in front, small cultivators bounce on hard ground and are difficult to control. Again landscapers will have the equipment and know how to use it.

The yard has to be graded. This is an important step and needs to be done right so you will not have problems down the line. The ground should be graded so water flows away from the foundation. The house builder will have installed a swale when the property was originally built, but often the first thing homeowner's do is level the yard and put up walls which leads to swimming pools in the back yard when it rains heavily.

The swale should direct water out of the yard.

The next step will be to choose the type of grass you want. Yard men here pick a grass they know and that keeps them in business. It will grow and cover quickly and need to be mowed frequently. Select a grass that best suits your needs based on how you will be using the yard and how much time you want to spend maintaining it. Grass can be sodded for an instant lawn, some will grow from stolons, plugs, and others from seed.

When the grass is growing you won't be able to do much walking on it. You will need to take care of any weeds that pop up and water up to 4 times a day until the grass has started to take root. Grass is one of the hungriest plants around. It needs a lot of water and fertilizer in its first year.

https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui ... ec1550.pdf

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Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2014 6:52 pm

Re: New Homeowner Looking for Some Yard Help

I did it on my own for a few years but it was not worth the hassle.. I ended up hiring a great company in Tampa named Green Solutions Lawn Care (https://www.greensolutionslpc.com/) They even managed my pest control so it was well worth the time and money!

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