View Full Version : New Lawn - Help?

Forbidden Snowflake
11-21-2014, 07:57 PM
I need help, desperately :D

So, new house. Garden was an absolute mess and was just allowed to grow for several years without being looked after.

My dogs went crazy in it and destroyed what was left of it.

Now I have a brown patch. Earth. Mud. No grass. All of it dead.

And it looks embarrassing. Also it's November so not like I can just start with seeding. And I am not really in the mood to have a mud bath until spring.

Is laying turf/sod on my own difficult?

From what I understand I have to pull everything that is left out, rake the earth, then level it... then just place the sod/turf and kind of push it down and then water...

Sounds fairly easy but since I've never done it, I just wonder how do I know whether or not the earth is good enough? How much fertiliser do I have to add? Do I have to add top soil?

Will the dogs rip it all out within minutes again? ;)

11-21-2014, 08:13 PM
I cannot predict what your dogs will do. Heck, they probably don't know themselves.

But I've laid sods of growing grass before on a lawn so long dead that most of it was just thatch and some was simply bare packed dirt. This was an entire back yard, BTW.

What we were urged to do in preparation was manual labor. We were to use a rake with three-inch spike, after rain or watering, to loosen and then level the compacted soil. This would have been the time to add more or better topsoil, fertilizer, supplements and soil corrections, etc., but we didn't.

We brought home the sods, each section about the size of a doormat, and laid them out on the adjacent patio in sections (which soon became piles) of best, okay, and not as good for whatever reason. We'd had to buy whole pallets only, and knew there'd be some we didn't use.

We laid the best ones first, in the parts of the yard which showed from the house and on the foot traffic path from the back gate. We did a line of them, starting at the center and going as close to the fence (which reached the ground) as we could get. The next line, we purposely did not align but staggered, so the checkerboard effect wouldn't be there.

Next we used the okay ones to fill in the part of the yard you couldn't see from the house's windows, following the same lines, until we'd used them up. We completed the job with the not-so-good ones, cutting them to fit up to the fence with a hoe as needed.

We were good about watering until the lawn was well established, the lines between the sods all but invisible. The worst of them had weeds, which we dealt with, but overall it was not that difficult if you could do the work of raking, lifting, and toting.

A garden-sized plot, I would not hesitate to do, and I'm no longer a young woman.

Is there a way to keep the dogs off it for six weeks or so, to let it attach to the ground below?

Maryn, thinking temporary fencing of some kind

Forbidden Snowflake
11-21-2014, 08:18 PM
Yes, absolutely no problem to keep the dogs off. It's the backyard that I mostly use to let them pee in the morning and evening. And I just won't let them out for playtime and instead we go for walks and have playtime on walks.

I just wonder once I do let them back out several weeks later whether or not playing ball with them won't just rip all of it out again. It's such a small yard, I can't really let one bit recover while I play with them on the other bit. There is only *one* bit ;)

So, I was thinking in future, once it's established, maybe only playing on it every 3rd day or so...

11-21-2014, 11:26 PM
I would presume that once it's had two or three months of active growing time--meaning it's grown enough that it needs mowing--then it's also had time to send roots deeper than the original sod's depth. After that, the dogs aren't going to do any more damage than to any other lawn. Until that point, it might still detach.

Curiosity makes me wonder if you're set on grass .There could be other ground covers which would be pet-friendly and hardier.

Maryn, thinking aloud

11-22-2014, 10:31 PM
Laying turf is not difficult and I would describe it as enjoyable . You do need to prepare the ground and that might be a problem with all the wet whether we have been having lately. The other down side to the turf is it is difficult to choose the variety of grass . You can buy seed, that is a mix of grasses that offers some resistance to pets and kids. Assuming you will still prefer the turf option. Unless you soil is unusually bad , like you might find around a new house , I would not worry about adding anything to the soil. The only rule with turf is , don't let it dry out , so you will need a hose and sprinkler. Stay off the lawn for couple weeks and feed and weed is every 8 weeks or so .

Forbidden Snowflake
11-25-2014, 01:10 PM
Sounds manageable, and I have a hose ready. So I'd assume I could manage. Thanks for the feedback :)