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Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 1:24 pm
Location: St. Louis

New Home Construction Lawn

Hello all,

I have just purchased a home that still has the new home construction yard, but has been setting for a couple of years.

I am wondering what is the best way to get started on this (the original builder went under, as we are all familiar with in the past few years).

I have rented my whole life, and this is our first home, so I am at Landscaping Level: 0



As you can see, the yard is in horrid disrepair.

There is quite a bit of rock throughout the yard, front and back.

I was thinking about a full dose of weed killer, water, reapply, then add clean dirt, then seed.

Is that something that will work, or would I just be setting myself up for failure.

I have about a half an acre that is all like the front yard, and am willing to do what I need to make this yard look decent, but don't want to hire a professional landscaper.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.



Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3065
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:01 am
Location: New Orleans

That's a mess you have there. Some of what I see looks pretty woody as in heavy stalks and stems. Weed killer would likely kill it eventually but you'd have to remove the heavy stuff from the area and if it were mine, I'd take it out roots and all.

You say the soil has rocks in it. Just how rocky is it? Would you be able to rent a tiller and turn over the soil just a few inches deep and level the surface to apply seed? Or is it so rocky that doing that would not be possible?

What about removing the weeds, aerating what is there, adding a couple inches of decent topsoil, then seed? Your other option is to put in sod, but covering that large an area can get real expensive even though that would be the fastest way to get a nice lawn.

My previous house was in an area of the city that suffered from soil subsidence. The previous owners didn't keep up with the problem and when I got that house I had to put in 2 dump truck loads of fill to get the property back up to grade. The grass was buried under a couple inches of dirt in the front and it came back over the summer months, but the back yard was under about 4 inches and it was not coming back so I re-sodded with St. Augustine grass and had a lawn in a couple days. All it took was to keep it watered until it took root in the new soil and it went crazy from there.

No matter which way you go, it's going to be a good bit of hard work. Be careful with the heat coming your way. It is just over 90 in New Orleans today and working like that in the yard is a tough job. You're not much better off in St. Louis I wouldn't imagine.

Dr Blade
Full Member
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:46 pm
Location: Ct

This is a lawn renovation that needs to be done on the fall.

1) In late August kill the entire yard with Round Up, non selective herbicide.
2) But some topsoil and fill in any low spots and rake out any surface rocks.
3) Rent a slice seeder in early September and slice seed in 2 directions
4) Water, water, water for the next 30 days.
5) get a soil test, correct nutrient levels, especially soil PH
6) get on a lawn maintenance program of weed and feed.
7) keep filling in any bare spots by seeding as time goes on.

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2105
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:53 am
Location: Lafayette, LA

Js - Gumbo is right you have a real mess. I am a licensed landscape contractor and had a landscaping business for 10 years. I see a lot of issues that I can not address in detail now. You can start with some prep work. dig up the woody weeds. Herbicides won't work until the temps warm uop so don't waste yoour money on chemicals. I don't like to use chemicals but you have an extreme case. Do consider this - your front yard has a rather steep slope. I don't know wehn your rainy season is but you do not want to remove too much of the woody stuff before the rainy season otherwise your yard will wash away. This is not the time of year to be engaging in a landscapng project. This is planning time and self education time. By all means have some soil test done.

I have had 2 death in the family in the last 48 hours so the rest of this week is funerals and memorial services. Then next week G is taking me shopping in Houston for my Christmas (my very first pair of cowboy boots!). So it will be a bit before I can give you any kind of detailed information but I will not forget you and will get back with you as soon as possible.

Right off I can see many issues that you will have to deal with. Erosion being a big one.

You really can't do much right now. So just start doing some research on soil and region specific landscape plants. If you could provide pictures of your "dream landscape" that would help.

Congratulations on your new home. Don't sweat the yard. We - the members of this forum - can fix you up.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Greener Thumb
Posts: 955
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 3:29 pm
Location: Central PA

>>will get back with you as soon as possible.

I wouldn't worry too much.
the original post was May 06, 2012
post count: 1

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3233
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 8:15 am
Location: Oregon

Dillbert wrote:>>will get back with you as soon as possible.

I wouldn't worry too much.
the original post was May 06, 2012
post count: 1
This is for others who have a similar issue.

You can rent a tractor from your local rental place, depending upon the size the rent is from $180 to $260 a day. Renting the implements adds a little more to the cost. If you rent an HST tractor your work will be a lot easier. You want to get a power take off (PTO) rototiller and a rock rake with it. You will need a short 2x4 to help position the rototiller to hook it to the tractor; about 4' long is good. You will need a wrench to adjust the nuts on the arms that hold it in place. On the rototiller the top arm controls how deep it can go along with the lever for the PTO depth on the tractor, the side ams hold it in place.

Rototillers do not like large rocks so first use the (FEL) front end loader to scrape and clean the yard. Then level the yard with the front end loader. Scrape the yard with the rock scraper and use the FEL to pile the debris some place, you could use them for beds and stone boarders if you wish. Then rototill the yard, go over it a few times, you get the best results by going slow. Start shallow and go deeper each pass. Rake it out one more time with the rock rake, and pile up the stuff you raked up.
If you need top soil spread it now with the FEL and then smooth it with the FEL, and then level it with the rock rake. Then do your normal seeding or spread turf.

Tractor and implement rental should be less than $300
Depending upon how many trucks you need add the cost of top soil.
For about $260 to $2000 and a days work you have done a professional job of your lawn. Check out how much it would cost to have someone do it for you and you will find this to be very cheap. Not only that but it is fun to run a tractor. I like doing this sort of thing, yard work is fun when you can sit down and ride doing it.

A rock rake in work.

Using a PTO rototiller.

Fun you can have with a tractors like mine, I have an L series.

Full Member
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:22 am
Location: Glossop

Seeding your garden.

I would apply round up or and glyphosphate based weed killer on a dry still day but not in drought with a knapsack sprayer, perennial weeds with a deep tap root will need re spraying, after 4 weeks 80% of growth will be dead and you can attack the perennials that are still alive with another dose of glyphosphate or hand dig them out. As your garden is quite large I would hire a digger,driver and dumper to regrade the the site and add topsoil where required. I would then rake it to a fine tilthe and sow your seed ( treated seed keeps the birds away ) at around 45g per square meter . You will need a long hosepipe and a wide swathe sprinkler. Over the next 3-6 months you will need to spot treat weeds and resow any thin areas. When you cut your grass make sure your blades are sharp and only take off 25% at any 1 time.

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