Help Redoing Front Lawn

cristenenAugust 6, 2012

We just moved into our house a few weeks ago and inherited a lawn looking like the picture attached. I've had a few landscapers come by and give us an estimate and all of them have been extremely high. All we want is just to have green grass...Is there anything I can do to salvage this yard to make it green again?

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Don't know if you can salvage it, but with some elbow grease you can till it up and plant some seed for pretty cheap.

But why not take this opportunity to forget about grass, and put in succulents. Check out some google images for succulents, and you'll find some really beautiful landscapes. Lower maintaince and less water than grass, and prettier too. Wish I could talk my DH into it.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 6:24PM
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Thanks tomatotomata! This is my first major garden restoration so I'll need any advice possible. Can I go ahead and rent a tiller and go about it or do I need to loosen the soil up a bit? Would I also need to toss the tilled weeds and grass out?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 7:00PM
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Sara Malone Zone 9b

Where are you in CA? Try calling your County's Master Gardeners. Most in CA have info on lawn replacement. See link below for Sonoma County, for example. You will have more fun with drought-tolerant plants - lawns are not really meant to be in Mediterranean climates.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sonoma County Master Gardeners

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 8:51PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Cristenen, if there are bermuda grasses and weed seeds in the soil, I would recommend scraping everything off the top of the soil first, watering twice a week for a month until all of the seeds and Bermuda sprouts, spraying Round-up on the sprouted stuff and waiting until it dies, then doing it one more time like that to kill all of the bad guys.

After that, till the soil. Slope your soil right, put in your sprinklers, water for two weeks again, spray the weeds one last time. Then you will be ready for seed or sod. That's if you want a nice lawn without too many weeds.

If you really don't care, as long as it's green, you can just mow down the existing weeds, throw out some grass seed and topper, water, and off you go.

You may want to consider going without a lawn. The process of cleaning up the soil would be the same, but you could put in drip irrigation and different plants you love instead of grass. My friend Andi has a corner lot like yours, and he planted roses and irises at the outside edge of his property and up against the house, with a grassy walkway down the middle and going around the bend to the side yard. It's enchanting. I recommend looking at people's front yards to see what most appeals to you, because the hardest part will be getting rid of the existing weedy grass. After that, you can do anything.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 9:36PM
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I would first find out what your city has plans for since it appears there are markings on the street. Perhaps they are going to dig up. Sure they can't really damage your property without repairing it but it would never be the same and why waste your energy to have to re-do it. Or is it just graffiti...
I have to agree get rid of the grass the way Renee suggests...water it, spray Roundup, dig up and repeat 2 more times. You have plenty of time to do that for fall planting. But if you just want green grass also do what Renee said...water it.

Perhaps take out the big bushes and put in a planter like the other home to make it more inviting or put in taller flowers to block the peepers but you can still see out.
Or even a wide bed with taller plants in back and annuals in front for color all year.

Surely you want to improve it right away, but take your time to do it right. Plenty of time for research now.

Whatever you neighbors will appreciate anything I think.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 10:39PM
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You also might want to take note of how the sun affects your home and plantings. It's hard to tell whether your house faces north, south, east or west. If the sun is an issue, you may want to consider planting a tree or trees in addition to shrubs to give some shade and maybe a little privacy to that window. Renee's right, however, it all begins with nuking what's there now.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 2:53AM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

If you want grass but don't need sod you could also try a meadow lawn. Using native grasses, sedges, and wildflowers you can get a beautiful look that is drought tolerant and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. I agree with everyone that changing the shrubs and adding a small tree or something would be a good idea, there are plenty of online garden plans available for inspiration.

Here is a link that might be useful: Meadow Lawns by Sunset

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 2:03PM
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Much depends on what type of grass is there now. Bermuda or St. Augustine have runners, so you will need to follow goblue's directions. Try going drought tolerant with shrubs and groundcovers. I used a tiller on Bermuda and I'm still pulling it out. (Although it's almost all gone.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Drought tolerant front yard

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 3:39PM
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