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Old 12-15-2012, 05:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Help or Tips for Yardwork??

I know there are quite a few people on this forum with a knack for yard work and have some beautiful yards, so I was hoping maybe I could get some helpful suggestions or tips. I moved into a new home about a month ago and my backyard, though fairly large, is a mess!

About 3/4 of the yard is nothing but weeds. Apparently, the previous tenants could've cared less. Only about the very back 1/4 of the yard still has remnants of grass. I'm not very good at yard work and previously had someone upkeeping the yard at my previous home.

I can't afford a complete landscaping job right now, so was hoping people could give me some tips on how to bring my yard back? Types of weed killer, fertilizer, application and the sorts? Also, how I safely revamp having the dogs and make it happen without restricting them form the backyard?? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 12-15-2012, 06:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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When we bought our house I had the same issue. I tilled the yard, raked the yard level bagging as much of the weeds as possible then bought grass seeds(bulk) and a load of top soil. I spread 2" of top soil over the whole yard then raked in the grass seed. You will need to water like crazy for a while and keep the doggies off. Have your soil analyzed if you do not put new top soil it may be to acidic for grass(spreading lime will neutralize soil)
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Old 12-15-2012, 06:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It's not too cold down here and usually doesn't get below 30s during our coldest period. Would it be better to wait until spring to try and really bring the grass back?
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Old 12-15-2012, 06:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lakl View Post
It's not too cold down here and usually doesn't get below 30s during our coldest period. Would it be better to wait until spring to try and really bring the grass back?
I am not sure about the best time for you to seed but ask a local grower or who you would buy seeds from. I live in Northern Ontario Canada for us June is the best time to start (not to hot and dry)
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Old 12-15-2012, 07:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I agree with Miss Molly May or you can til, hand weed, and sod. It's quicker, but its more expensive. Having the dogs use the area while you are trying to reclaim lawn will be difficult, especially starting with seed, so sod may be the better way to go. Again with dogs, I would avoid chemical use of any kind, regardless of some claims that it will become inert after x-amount of days. If you want to spray some problem weeds, use vinegar, but not after you seed/sod, it will kill grass too. I'm not sure what your watering needs are, but you may want to think about an irrigation system before hand, its not difficult and makes keeping your lawn green that much easier.

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Old 12-15-2012, 07:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You can get some great, locale-specific tips from your local county extension office. They have oodles of printed information available and sometimes will make site-visits.

I have 2.3 acres and we have a very, very dry climate so I've had to "micro-climate" plan, moving out from the house as I go. Most of our place is "wild" with native grass, trees and shrubs, but I've planned smaller "pods" of space, if you will, so that I can A) manage the changes to make sure that the first more fragile seasons work and B) don't make so many changes, that I change my mind about what I'm doing.

So I guess my best advice is to sit down and make a sketch of your place and existing features, including water source sites, septic and well if applicable, trees, house, garage, driveway, any utility easements, water/power/etc. lines if you know them and then plan from there how you think you want to do things.

You should be able to rent most types of equipment--especially those that you won't use a lot, like a roto-tiller etc.

With dogs, I'd create a blocked off area for either them or the section "under construction" so that it has a chance to take hold.

Drip irrigation works fabulously for trees and shrubs, but I'd agree that you may want to have a sprinkler system installed.

For questions on when you should seed, and what species (grass,shrubs and trees) you should contact County Extension or a couple of local and well-respected nurseries.

Good luck!
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Old 12-15-2012, 08:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks, everyone! Not sure why, but I haven't gotten any notifications on this thread,so I didn't think anyone had even seen it. We have very humid, moist weather here and winters are usually just a lot of rain.

I would love to have a sprinkler system, but have no idea how to install that either! I guess I have a lot of research to do! I would love to make some sort of dog run, and I know it would help keep the dogs off the area I'm trying to fix! Had one pre-built at my other place and it was great.
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Old 12-15-2012, 08:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'll be following this thread. Pup has basically destroyed the backyard at our house with playing and pottying. I want to see how other people are keeping backyards and maybe start something next summer. I'm two steps short of fake grass
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Old 12-15-2012, 08:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I don't have a sprinkler system, since I can't manage problems with it on my own. I have 4X4 posts with PVC pipe and osscilating sprinklers on the top and threaded bottoms. I just schlep hoses around to them and even with a large yard, I only need 5 sprinklers and two hoses. Sure, I do water daily, but only two sprinklers at a time for two hours. I have a well system, so it's no cost but to run the pump.

we have big "flower" beds and some grass. Scarlett does a fairly consistent run and there are some bald spots in the grass. If I just put up some sort of diversion, she will alter her course and the grass can recover. I hate to say it, but it's a regular part of lawn maintenance for us.

If you want a fab yard, you'll have to walk your dogs multiple times during the day...otherwise, build some diversion fences (snow fencing attached to inverted T braces workse great) and move the path around.

Elegant people have neither children or dogs...just sayin'. I have both and I think we are awesome.
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Do what I did: get a couple of goats and let them go to town on the weeds in your yard. Pretty soon your yard will be completely bare except maybe for some short grass, and at that point, you can move the goats out of the yard and landscape however you want.

I have found, however, that you can either have dogs OR beautiful landscaping... but I am sure some people have better luck in that regard than I do.
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