ddereckl
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Joined: Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:23 am

Starting over on a dead lawn; need help please!

Hey everyone, I'm new here and I'm in desperate need of help! I moved into my home about two years ago and I seriously neglected my lawn. It has gotten to the point where it is covered in weeds and the soil is dry. I live in zone 10 San Diego and right now the lawn gets full sun until about 6 'o clock. It's a pretty small house so the lawn is also small, but I would like to get some grass in there so the front of the house doesn't look so dead! Here are some pictures of it:
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As you can see there's a pile of weeds and dirt in the middle because my dad tried getting out all the weeds by hacking at it with a shovel. I think that actually ended up removing a lot of dirt.

Here's the same area with another view:
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This is the other side of the front lawn.
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There's a lot of dry weeds growing everywhere!

There's also a plot of area under the window that gets complete shade all day:
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There's also another plot of land just like it on the other side.
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What kind of plants should I put there?

How can I get rid of all the weeds and plant grass? I was thinking of an easy lawn that requires minimal care (watering once a week, mowing every now and then). I'm on a pretty tight budget but I'm willing to pay up to $500 to fix up the place, maybe more.

Please help me!!!

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Starting over on a dead lawn; need help please!

I have just a couple minutes here and have to leave. I'm sure someone else will weigh in with some more answers to your questions.

But I was struck by this:

I was thinking of an easy lawn that requires minimal care (watering once a week, mowing every now and then)

I think that is an unrealistic expectation. You live in a climate where there is no significant rain from May through August and lots of sunshine. You are either going to install an irrigation system, probably more $$ than you want to spend, or you are going to water more like 2-3 times a week and mow once a week through the growing season.

If you are not willing to do that, you should think about xeriscaping instead of lawn. Look up xeriscaping -- it is dry land landscaping, with desert-adapted, drought tolerant plants. It can be very beautiful. You would have to do some watering the first season while things were getting established. After that you would never water and never mow.

Personally I think no one in SoCal (I grew up there) should have a lawn. Lawns are for places like where I live now, where water just falls out of the sky all summer.
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

ddereckl
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Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:23 am

Re: Starting over on a dead lawn; need help please!

rainbowgardener wrote:You are either going to install an irrigation system, probably more $$ than you want to spend, or you are going to water more like 2-3 times a week and mow once a week through the growing season.

If you are not willing to do that, you should think about xeriscaping instead of lawn. Look up xeriscaping -- it is dry land landscaping, with desert-adapted, drought tolerant plants. It can be very beautiful. You would have to do some watering the first season while things were getting established. After that you would never water and never mow.

Personally I think no one in SoCal (I grew up there) should have a lawn. Lawns are for places like where I live now, where water just falls out of the sky all summer.
I don't mind watering 3 times a week and mowing I don't mind either. Xeriscaping sounds interested and i'll look into it. If I am able to water often and mow often, how can I plant grass? Haha, I really want that lawn!

EDIT: I actually found a bag of Bonsai Dwarf Fescue grass seeds. Supposedly it's drought resistant and heat tolerant and it grows to a height of 7" MAX. How would I plant this over my lawn with all the weeds there?

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rainbowgardener
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Starting over on a dead lawn; need help please!

I still think you would be better off xeriscaping:


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https://www.daviddarling.info/images/xeriscaping.jpg

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=htt ... CC4QrQMwAQ

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https://yardfairy.com/wp-content/uploads ... CN1770.jpg

water is a precious resource...

But if you insist on having lawn and since no one else has answered. ... You can't put down grass seed with all the weeds there; have to get rid of all the weeds first. You can rent a little tiller and have your small plot tilled up in an hour or two. Then water it and wait a couple weeks, let all the weed seeds you just brought to the surface sprout. Add a bunch of bags of enriched topsoil, compost, well aged composted manure, etc and till it all in, turning the new weed seedlings under in the process. Sow your seeds. Cover very lightly with soil (something very light like potting soil would be good) and press it down so seed is in contact with soil. Water gently every day until grass is well sprouted and every other day for awhile after that while it is putting down roots.

But you understand in the middle of summer is exactly the wrong time to do this. You have lived with it dead this long, live with it until the beginning of Sept. and then do the steps above.

Your shady areas could be dug and planted now. Do steps above, except just turn it with a shovel. Plant with shade plants, which could include:

bellflower, heuchera (coralbells), spiderwort, star flowered Solomon seal, western bracken fern, lady's mantle, maybe a dwarf hydrangea, snakeroot, pulmonaria, silver lamium

look for a good nursery (NOT big box) especially one specializing in native plants, which will be hardier and more adapted to your situation, so lower maintenance. But understand anything you plant will need good care the first season while it is getting established.
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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