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Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:17 pm

Lawn Refurb

Hey everyone - I'm new here :) I'm UK based but I guess the same rules apply for most garden stuff so I hope it's OK to post here :)

I'm not a total newbie when it comes to gardening and lawns but this is the biggest project I've undertaken to date.

I bought my house a couple of years ago and the garden was in a terrible state - I've slowly improved it by removing old structures and an old path and I'm now in a position to finally tackle the lawn (god help me).
It's not a huge garden but I work full time and live alone so it's taking me quite a while to get it sorted out - plus I've been juggling renovating the house at the same time. The garden is finally ready to have its day though!

Here are the issues:
1. The lawn is 80% weeds, 10% rough grasses and 10% actual serviceable lawn. It suffers in particular with dock leaves and clover.
2. The lawn isn't just uneven, it's completely different heights in several places. I believe there were flowerbeds dug in the past that have sunk and over the years grass/weeds have spread over these and the result is that the sides of the garden are around 4-5" lower than the middle and the middle patch of lawn is a rather large mound/hump.
3. I've had to remove an old concrete path that was a large square in the middle of the lawn - this has left a rut around 2" deep and it now looks like a baseball field.
4. My house is a mid terrace with no rear access. The garden is enclosed by a 6ft fence made from planks that cannot be disassembled so there's no way of even removing a panel to gain access. This means that any tools, machinery, topsoil etc will have to come through the house.

I've decided based on all of the above that there's absolutely no point in trying to salvage the lawn as it stands. There's too much repair work to do and the weeds and moss are so prevalent that by the time they're all dead there'll basically be just a muddy patch left anyway so I might as well start from scratch. In order to level the lawn without rotavating I think I'd probably need at least a couple of tonnes of topsoil and there's just no way to get it to the rear garden :/
I put weed and feed and moss killer down about a week ago before I decided to accept that it can't be saved and the whole lot is black at this point so I'm thinking perhaps I should just use roundup to ensure absolutely everything is totally dead and then look at rotavating it to get it level without requiring more soil but this definitely something I zero experience with.

If anyone has any advice I'd really appreciate it big time :) Initially I thought that rotavators capable of digging over dead turf would be too big to fit through an internal door but I think Homebase do a "medium duty" rotavator that might be sufficient (8.3hp) and is only 20" wide. I've no idea if this is suitable though. It also weighs 111kg and I'm not sure I'll be able to work with it - I'm a bit of a weakling.

If I go down the path of starting from scratch - what would you suggest? I had in mind:

1. Roundup the whole lawn and let everything die back
2. Rotavate the area
3. Rake out any stones/rocks/turf/weeds
4. Possibly rotavate again if needed and repeat the raking
5. Use a length of wood and some ropes to drag the soil to try to get it as level as possible and rake until smooth
6. Walk the area to compact it
5. Seed or Turf. I've no idea which to go for but at this time of year I suspect seed would be safer due to the warmer weather. That said, I live in Scotland and it rains constantly and never seems to get above 15c :) I've seeded a full lawn in the past and had very good results but my only experience with turf was a nightmare as it all shrank when I left it to go to work for a day. Oops.

Here are a couple of photos of the garden after a mow - don't be deceived by the green; most of that is clover/moss, not grass :(
Also, as these are top down pictures it's not clear just how misshapen the lawn is but I can assure you it's not even close to flat - mowing the grass is like mountaineering and I routinely stumble when I'm traversing as it varies in height so much.

This was when I first moved in:
And this is it now:
It's times like this that I wish I A) didn't live on my own or B) was rich enough to pay a landscape gardening to come and fix it :lol:

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