Re-restoring my front lawn
March 6, 2010 9:03 AM Subscribe
I'm a failure as a husband and a father. Help me rescue my front yard.
posted by cebailey to home & garden (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We moved into our house near Austin, TX a few years ago, and the front yard was in pretty terrible shape. It has been neglected by the previous owners and renters, and the St. Augustine was mostly a thick, dead layer of thatch. I decided it needed to be completely redone.
After doing quite a bit of research, I decided to seed my own bermuda grass. I killed what was left with RoundUp, cleared as much as I could, tilled the entire thing, and planted seeds. In case you're curious, here's a picture of the bare soil: http://blog.chadbailey.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/img-5716-6.jpg
Of course, that was the summer that we had our first child, and one of the driest and hottest years on record in Austin. Add in the fact that we don't have a sprinkler system for our 3,000 sqft front yard, and we just plain didn't get enough water down. The result was some thin grass is some places, widespread weeds in most of the yard, and large patches of still-bare dirt.
I tried another round of bermuda in a smaller section of the yard in September with some success. Of course, winter was especially cold this year, so I'm pessimistic about the young grass coming back out of dormancy well.
So I'm trying to decide how best to proceed this year. It seems to me the best path would be to RoundUp everything again, get down to bare soil (which will only require a weedeater, since there's not really any thatch), loosen it with a rake, apply some starter fertilizer, and drop down some St. Augustine sod. I know it needs a ton of water to start, but it's much more manageable than seed, and with sod you obviously have a heck of a head start.
Does anyone have experience with this? Any do's or dont's? How early can I think about doing this? It's already starting to warm up here, but I want to make sure to get good quality sod. And if you have good recommendations for sod around Austin, I'd appreciate it as well. Thanks!