New home/yard owner, need help with lawn! - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-30-2010, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We just bought a house, and it had been vacant for over a year. The yard is a complete weed/dead mess. I've been focusing mainly on getting a garden in (thats going well) but the lawn is awful.

I dont want our entire lawn green and lush, because we live in a desert climate, and I've always been annoyed at how many people here waste so much water to have a huge green lawn in a climate that doesnt support it. We plan on utilizing much of the yard (eventually) to a garden/play area, and next summer plan on digging out the lawn in the front yard and doing a desert-scape with local plants.

But the selfish part of me DOES want a little patch of green soft grass for my DS to play in My entire lawn is dead/dry/yellow/scratchy. It is hot and dry here, I've been watering a small patch of lawn early in the mornings trying to green it up for DS to play, but its not really working. After a few weeks of this, its maybe about 15% green, the rest is still dry and yellow.

What do I need to do? I'm hesitant to buy anything I see to repair or fertilze, because DS will be playing on it, and we do not want to use any chemicals on it that could hurt him.

Any help would be appreciated!!

Mama to Xavian, born 11-24-09
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Old 06-30-2010, 06:44 PM
 
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To organically go all out and fix a lawn, here is what you do:

When the weather is mild: fall or spring

Mow it.
Dethatch it, with a machine or aggressive raking.
Aerate it, by machine or if it's a small space stab it many times with a pitchfork all over.
Spread and rake in compost/composted manure.
Add an organic fertilizer (a balanced one added according to the label, or have a soil test done first and find out what it needs really).
Spread grass seed, something appropriate to the area that needs little watering.
Water a couple times a day until the new grass is established.
Mow weekly once established.
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Old 06-30-2010, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by JamieCatheryn View Post
To organically go all out and fix a lawn, here is what you do:

When the weather is mild: fall or spring

Mow it.
Dethatch it, with a machine or aggressive raking.
Aerate it, by machine or if it's a small space stab it many times with a pitchfork all over.
Spread and rake in compost/composted manure.
Add an organic fertilizer (a balanced one added according to the label, or have a soil test done first and find out what it needs really).
Spread grass seed, something appropriate to the area that needs little watering.
Water a couple times a day until the new grass is established.
Mow weekly once established.
Gosh, THANKS!! That seems like a pretty good plan.

Does dethatching mean getting up all the matted dead grass??

We wont have any 'mild' weather for quiet some time, does this mean I have to wait until next year to do it?

Mama to Xavian, born 11-24-09
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Old 06-30-2010, 08:53 PM
 
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I'd throw in you can plug a lawn of appropriate grass as well, may be easier on your water bill than constantly sprinkling to germinate seed. Make sure you have a sprinkler for it, you'll be very glad you have that! And a timer for it so it sprinkles after the sun goes down for a few minutes every other day or something. And if you have one already, make sure your new soil level doesn't exceed the height of the sprinkler for efficient watering.

Erin sharing life with a burly husband and two rad boys 7/06 & 5/09 : : Zone 9-ish
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Xavismom View Post
Gosh, THANKS!! That seems like a pretty good plan.

Does dethatching mean getting up all the matted dead grass??

We wont have any 'mild' weather for quiet some time, does this mean I have to wait until next year to do it?
Yeah the matted layer that builds up under everything. Won't you have fall weather in October or something? You just need temps between like 45-75 most of the time for the couple weeks you grow new grass.

Of course there is always the option of tearing it all out, tilling in compost and fertilizer, and laying down sod.
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Old 06-30-2010, 10:04 PM
 
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There are some soft grasses native to our region, OP. Google around for your local native plants society. Native plants are environmentally sustainable and virtually maintenance free. Even if you want some of the Kentucky bluegrass, see about adding native plants to the mix.

Although.......are you in an HOA? We live under a eco-unfriendly fascist regime that forbids xeriscaping with native plants.

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Old 07-01-2010, 12:18 AM
 
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USU also has a landscape architecture program that may have some resources available for you (perhaps through extension). A friends FIL is faculty there and his yard is xeriscaped. Logan, however, is much greener/wetter than SLC.

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Old 07-01-2010, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No, thankfully I am not in an HOA, this house is new to us only, it was built in the 50's! I'm up by Alta View Hospital, and its been very hot, and very windy lately!!

Thank you for the resources everyone!! My entire neighboorhood is full of beautiful and well maintained yards, and ours is the only one thats a mess. I want ours to look nice too, but not at a high environmental price tag!! I feel like my large garden is justified though, since I'll get produce from it

Maybe I should just try to find some native grass sod? DS is 7 mo and crawling, I dont want to wait till october to take care of this for him, and I only want a little area in back with grass.

Mama to Xavian, born 11-24-09
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