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New Front Yard: Getting Rid of Trees and Grass

All the time that we've talked about putting in a new yard has now boiled down to pure physical labor (and some mistake fixing.)
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Previously on our New Front Yard...

New Front Yard, Where to Start?

Working with a Landscape Designer

Modern Landscape Design Plan 

All the time that we've talked about putting in a new yard has now boiled down to the hard work. We have to get rid of about 4 trees and deal with prepping our lawn. Getting rid of trees and grass rescue is no joke, guys.

Our lawn...guys, can you list "the lawn" as the cause on divorce papers? My husband, in an effort to get rid of some of the dandelions, weeds, and canadian thistle in our grass sprayed the heavy duty Roundup which killed everything. Our lawn was left looking like it had lawn pox: huge brown patches with dead grass. "Everyone makes a mistake!" I hear you saying, except that this wasn't a mistake, it was on purpose. Last year it was a mistake. This year he intentionally gave the grass lawn pox.

lawn pox

I actually called Josh Solomon from Nature's Finest Seed to ask him to help us out. Mr. Solomon explained that this kind of thing happens a lot, but walked me through the patching process:

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  1. Use a rake to get rid of the dead thatch
  2. Till the patch to loosen the soil
  3. Apply your grass seed with a spreader walking both north-south and then east-west.
  4. Lightly rake the seed into the soil (no more than 1/4 inch down)
  5. Water lightly and frequently, a few times a day, as seed grows
  6. Keep kids and pets off the patches for several weeks

I asked Mr. Soloman a few other questions, like is aerating your lawn really necessary? Yes, he said, because the soil gets compacted and your lawn will start to deteriorate. Once a year, or once every other year is usually fine. How about watering? He recommends a late evening watering schedule, like around 9pm so that the water has the chance to soak into your turf all night long and promote a deeper root system. Don't mow during the hottest parts of the day because the leaves will lose water. If you can, let the lawn grown a little longer: the leaves can hold onto the water longer, and the longer blades will shade the soil preventing more dehydration.

Picking the right turfseed for your area and water access is one of the most important thing to getting your grass to look great. Nature's Finest Seed sent me home with Blue Ribbon Grass Seed Blend with a mix of Perennial Ryegrass, which will grow quickly to cover the area, and Kentucky Bluegrass, which will take longer to grow, but then choke out the Ryegrass to leave a Bluegrass lawn. This blend should work best in our arid climate. Wish me luck rescuing our grass from lawn pox (self-inflicted.)

Now, to the trees. Our small landscape waste container would only allow us to stuff in a few branches here and there. One night, at midnight, desperate to get rid of the mountain of evergreen branches my husband had cut down, we stuffed the remaining sticks and needles into our neighbor's yard waste container. Not a good solution. We called the city and they sent us a landscape waste dumpster. They parked it in our driveway, and we got to work on the trees, brush, and yard waste. It's taken us two weeks (trying to work around our schedules, surgery for me, and you know, kids underfoot,) and a trip to Lowe's for a chain saw after it became abundantly clear that the Saws-All he was using was taking a million years. So we now own a chain saw. I don't know if we should be trusted, I guess we're adults?

felling trees

Wish us luck, all, we still have a ton of hard work to do to get this yard in by autumn. Up next: clearing more brush and shrubs, getting rid of concrete edging, pulling up grass, edging the new beds, figuring out changes to our sprinkler system, buying new plants, calling the gas and cable people to make sure we don't hit anything while we're digging around, mulching and planting.

(I think our next purchase should be some Advil.)

(Any tips on getting rid of tree stumps?)


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