Which way would go?

nannerbelle(8A)November 1, 2013

Well, got some decisions to make on the new house and I've got a choice of what to do. I would love to have some of you guys and gals weigh in on which way you would go with this. Here are my options.

1. Have my new yard tilled, leveled, and hydroseeded with a good hot weather grass. Most likely looking at Centipede. Install a sprinkler system, cut in the beds and put down landscape barrier and pine needles. This can't be done until December.
My biggest con here, the seed wouldn't have optimum weather to germinate, most likely leading to further seeding in the spring and additional costs. Cost up front from the contractor: $7800.00

2. Have the yard tilled leveled and I plant annual rye until spring. Cut in the beds, I lay the landscape barrier and later add mulch or needles of my choice. Install the sprinkler. Cons: I would have to do part of the work, my time is fairly limited but with the stress of the construction off me, then I should have a lot more free time. Plus I could really use the exercise right now LOL, I must have gained 20 pounds this summer cause I wasn't working in my yard and garden here.
Cost: $2950.00 for my sprinkler system, my expense for rye seed and landscape fabric. I would also be looking to seed again in spring with a good seed. And I would have to see what I would be charged for the till work. I'm guessing $1000.00 or so. My best estimate on a total would be about $4500.00 or so total.

I'm leaning toward Option 2, I could buy one heck of a yard tractor and get the attachments for less than I'm looking to pay for the work. Plus I could do it at the correct time of year, thus having the best results. What are your thoughts? Am I nuts or is this a plan that makes sense to you? I guess I could always have work done later if I see I don't have time to follow thru with this plan. And I'm not seeing this as a great time of the year to try to start a lawn.

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Have you considered something other than the traditional lawn? There is an interesting discussion here: http://gardenrant.com/2011/08/garden-designers-roundtable-lawn-replacements.html

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 9:28AM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

If this is a December project I'd focus on defining the beds and leave the rest until spring. Whatever you do in Dec. to a raw parcel won't take. Too late, too cold and too wet.
Don't even bother with the rye. Just have the guys level the soil (not tilling), build up where you want some visual elevated beds ready for spring hardscaping and forget the landscape barrier fabric. Leave the irrigation system for March/April so it's in and ready to be expanded to planting areas before the hydroseeding in spring.
Maybe use the winter months for hardscaping and planning the planting for the front roadside drive entry.
You said you were planning brick columns with lights down there at the road.

First order of business to your new, dream house is settling indoors..furnishings..window coverings...getting acquainted with your kitchen storage.

It's always fun and frustrating to know where you kept that seldom used kitchen article at your other house and not know where you stashed it in your new kitchen.
Spring will come soon enough and you can devote all your free time outdoors knowing you have the inside of the house under control.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 10:31AM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

Oops, forgot about your dogs. Maybe some kind of temporary walkway to the kennels? Definitely going to get lots of use to the dog washing area until the lawns get established.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 11:07AM
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Dottie, always my voice of reason!! You are echoing exactly what I've been thinking the last 24 hours or so. Yes, I'm planning a pretty formal gated entrance. And landscaping will definitely be a part of it. You just reminded me of something, I need to get some pics of the area where I want to put that gate in next week when I'm down there. We do have a fence going in around a 50 X 100 play yard for the girls. I've already got the portable dog washing tub in my wish list on Amazon! LOL I'm counting on a lot of dog baths this year and already have the builder putting a hose bib in my garage for the dog tub! There will be some new pics up on Flickr tonight, check them out if you would like, I'm totally blown away by the cabinetry and granite in the house. The pictures don't do it justice.
I'm really thinking I'm on the right path to put off any lawn till spring time. I moved into the house I'm currently in Feb and didn't start the lawn till May. And I'm even thinking I may do it all myself again. If I don't get the desired results I can always have someone come in and Hydro seed or put down Sod behind me. This is going to be a small yard from a lawn perspective with a lot of beds and tropical type plants, and I'm having a hard time swallowing the price these guys are wanting to put sod in or hydro seed. I have no issues with the price for the irrigation, or the hardscape or the labor. But when we start to talk about thousands for grass seed, I start to get a little resistant. I got a lot of thinking to do before I bite into that.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 8:34PM
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Dottie is right!
The warm season grass will only wash away in the winter, and the birds will be fat and happy this Christmas.
Don't waste your money now on seed.
When the ground warms up in April, then seed.
You have to be patient with centipede also, it takes a while to establish itself.
Your water bill is going to be hefty, but it's important that your sprinkler system is in before you seed anyway.
Centipede grass when it is established, takes about a 1 and a half inches of water a week. It needs more than Bermuda.
When are you moving in? Are you going to have your turkey in your new home?
I'm excited for you. It'll all work out.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 10:13PM
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Move day is Dec. 2nd Butterfly, so my turkey this year will be a sandwich. LOL Now that things are shaping up nicely, we had a great site visit today, I'm perfectly happy to have that sandwich and my new house. No worries on the water, I have a very hefty well, so I'm set to go. The guy who is putting in the sprinkler system also is the one who dug my well and it will support the system with no issue according to him. I can go buy a bag of sunflower seeds for the birds, they don't need my grass seed. LOL

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 1:29AM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

What's driving that Dec 2 date? Must you leave the house you're presently comfortable in by Dec 2 or is settling and prepping for Christmas your goal?

Is the backup generator installed and tested yet?
Do you have power outlets planned for all along the driveway to the gate/lights at the entry?
Electric gates are funny things..(I just moved out of a gated community) and even the wind can cause issues with the mechanism forcing you to deactivate the gate mechanism and wait for repairs.

As for irrigation, it's a royal PITA unless you have a comprehensive landscape company under contract OR become an EXPERT in head replacement,split pipe replacement, winterization of the system AND totally expert on the underground controller and the indoor (garage) control system.
As a single location homeowner rather than within a nbrhood of yards all serviced by the same company, you will wait and wait and get overcharged for service calls.

That's why a while back I questioned if you had the plumbers add enough hose bibs all around the outside of the house.

I'd forget the big ole lawn tractor and get one of those four-wheelers with the small pickup bed in back to haul plants,
water, cut brush etc I think eventually, you're going to want to landscape along that long driveway through the forest and you'll need something to tote your tools and materials.
Something you can drive into the forest to haul out good firewood. Get one with a reinforced roll-cage to protect you from 'widowmaker' falling branches and provide you and your seat some shade.

If you've concluded that early spring is best for your lawn needs, I'd go with hardscaping walkways first (the wider the better), have your guy grade up some elevated areas and edge them with rock so you have some dimensional views to your more distant beds.
Then, in early spring see if you can get centipede sod instead of the hydroseed. Centipede is great but from seed it takes a very long time and eventually a mature centipede lawn has far fewer main plants than what an early seeded area would produce. These mature, fewer plants are maybe a foot or more apart so have deeper roots. Their runners with their brushy shallow roots catch the surface rains.
Mine must be about 10 years old and even in the heat of 2012 I never had to water those centipede lawns, ever.

You've put big bucks and a lot of heart to design/build your dream home. If you can tolerate looking at bare dirt until spring, your new lawn install of sod will take better and faster.
Any temp lawn with rye will have to be removed before sodding. Simply tilling it under will leave lumps of decaying material that aren't healthy for the new sod roots. You have the chance to do it right for the long term if you can look past the winter dirt.

Oh, didn't you say you planned to put in a swimming pool?
How will you get the backhoe, dumptruck and materials in except over your lawn? Maybe pool first and lawn later?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 9:18AM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

You said this is a triangle shaped property, right? Is one of the points your access from the roadway or do you have a lot of road frontage/forest that would allow you to have a wider driveway entry for bigger/wider delivery vehicles?
Is this driveway your only access to your home? Will it be paved from street to garage?

Is this Kershaw County in SC..you mentioned once that you shopped in Camden. I'd love to be able to look at the overheads on GoogleEarth.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 10:13AM
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Wow Dottie, you come up with good questions. But I think I have most of them covered. First off, the 12/2 date is driven by my work schedule and the fact this house has been under construction for a year now. High time I moved into it. The builder is great but he has a tendency to put others on the schedule before you if you don't have a date to hold him too. Then he does exactly as you expect. So I have to be a little bit of a "squeeky wheel" to keep things moving. Plus my job, I'm an IT Project Manager for BofA and I have a really busy department I'm assigned to right now. And when you have a schedule you are responsible for, there isn't much wiggle room. The generator will be installed and tested in the next couple of weeks. He is holding it till right before we move in because things can "walk" off from a remote site like this. He has lost one of his construction generators already. And I've already got a top of the line security system pre-wired and will be installed. Thanks for the heads up on the irrigation system. I'm going to investigate this further over the winter. And I do have plenty of hose bibs around the house, plumber put in some extras over the house plan. After I stopped and thought about it, no way I'm going to try to start anything right now. Spring is when we will play with the yard. Yes, power is planned down the driveway, but I'm going to have a back up solar/battery system installed as well for the gate. Eventually there will be lights, landscaping and power all the way down the drive. I've been considering the ATV as well that you mention. I'm definitely going to need something to haul material with. My greenhouse will be a little bit away from the house as will my raised bed gardens. On the road frontage, I've got really nice frontage, the drive way is cut in from the side of the corn field and wanders back thru the woods. I've got a good wide driveway, we have had a lot of construction trucks, sheet rock trucks, concrete trucks and such in there. The driveway is the only access, and I do have an area I could cut a second if there is ever the need. I've got a lot of road frontage so no shortage there. I'm just in the edge of Sumter county, about 9 miles out of Camden. And of course a pool is planned. I've had the clearing guy take out the trees for it already, It will be at the back of the house and access will be only a short piece of lawn to be torn up which will be easily fixed when we landscape the pool area. We are planning to try to get it in next year. So much to do and so little spare time!! :-)

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 9:56PM
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jdo053103(7b - NC)

Wait until early june to seed warm season grass. Warm season grasses need warm soil temps to germinate and establish. Early june is a good time for the carolinas.
Seeding warm season grass now would be an absolute waste of time and money, not even cool season grass will survive seeding in december.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 7:51PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

I might dial back that planting date to mid-late April in Zone 8 SC.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 3:46PM
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Yea, I planted here in May when I established this yard. I've decided to do most all of it myself this time again. Between you guys here and my hubby encouraging me, I can both have my yard as I desire it and get my 1967 Camaro back up to where I want her too. Just a little work that I love to do is all that is required.. So I'm all in for doing this again even tho I swore I wouldn't after I got bought out here. I've got two loads of plants moved already and will be taking #3 down this weekend. My husband said why would you have someone else do this when you loved the yard here so much? And that made so much sense to me. So be prepared for lots of questions and a few whines but I need the exercise LOL. I swear I gained 20 pounds this summer not working in the yard. And I will love building another one even better than my old one.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 12:36AM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

So, nannerbelle, how did the overall move progress? Are you fully moved now? Happy New Year/New House to you !

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 4:32PM
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Thank you dottie!! And a very Happy New Year to you!! No we still have small stuff, a couple of pick up loads, to move. And I still have some landscaping material to move. This is all after 2 trips with movers. I have way too much junk!! We actually started living at the new house on 12-2. All I can say is thank God for a really patient buyer!! The mine has been wonderful with all of this! The road to the house is in good shape till you get to the house LOL. Then it turns into a mud puddle. If it ever drys out a little, we are going to have to do more work on the road right at the house. But overall much better than I anticipated. The house is now getting all straightened out. I'm still working with my builder on the last little things for new house perfection. But life is slowly returning to normal. I've got a bunch of plants sitting in their little temporary homes waiting to be put in the ground. and I'm Hopeful I didn't lose many of them. And I'm anxious to get started on the yard I know once I get some plants and grass in, this will help keep things a little less muddy around here. I've been able to talk my favorite garden helper into coming here to help. So I'm pretty excited about that, I was hating that I wouldn't have his help. So he will be helping with all the tilling and heavy work needed. So I'm ready for a productive 2014!! :-)

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 1:08PM
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I built a house in 2011 and moved in July. Focusing on the inside mostly, I let the outside go until Spring arrived. Before March, I hauled in several good loads of horse manure and dumped it in various spots to spread and till in. My location is quite rural, so no gated yards or perfection required on my part. I took off a week in March, and in about one day's time, with a front end loader and a tractor with a PTO tiller, I had spread the manure, tilled a few inches to incorporate, and spread grass seed and clover seed. Now two years later, it looks very nice as far as I'm concerned. There are still some areas that could use some help. The clover is bedding nicely. The fescue (I think) is spreading and matting in areas nicely. I drive on it with the truck and the car, and the tractors and mowers and it's fine. Had a somewhat dry, very hot, summer in 2012 while the "lawn" was being established. By the end of the summer, it was grown in well. No mud. But I didn't really do the hay mulching thing most people do either. And I have no sprinkler system, and I refuse to water it. 2013 was just normal maintenance like it had been before I ever built. This year, 2014, I plan to scatter more white clover and see if I can get it going in more places.

I have no idea what the cost was. For the grassy lawn type area, it was just my time and grass/clover seed. Manure was free. I hauled it in my truck. I own the tractor and front end loader already. For the other area out front, a load of mulch was $450 delivered. Maybe $350. I forget. mature magnolias were $100 per tree for 3 trees as part of a larger order I found on Craig's List. Some nursery was down sizing in Orangeburg and delivered 20 varying trees for $2000 total, 50 gallon potted trees. Most are still alive. Most went out away from the house. I bought 4 Crape Myrtles from Lowe's at the end of the season in 2012 and planted those with the mags. And some other end of season bushes went in.

It ain't pretty yet, but it's mine. :-)

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 3:00PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

chrisb, more power to you ! And, much applause. Having the ready access to and the skills to handle large power equipment is something most people don't possess when planning a yard from scratch.
It's a daunting task for most folks to plan,source and bargain for such services to begin a yard around a new construction.
What you describe as 'not pretty' still must be giving you a lot of pride in accomplishment and ownership.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 9:30AM
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I actually "added on" to an existing 24x24 structure that I was living in. It's separated by a 36 foot carport now. The new house is 3000+ SF. I told the builder that I'd do all the landscaping, so it was never included in the bottom line. The old part is the "little house" and where I do canning and other things. So far, just canning, but I'll get going on those other things some day. :-)

All total, I have about 8 acres. Most flat, few real trees other than weed trees that sprung up over time and those along fence rows. Big veggie garden, lots of new fruit trees 5 years old or less.

I ran the water line from the road when I built the little house. 600 feet or so, I guess. Had to rent the trencher to do that, but I did the pipe by hand 20 feet at a time. Had the septic tank sized and situated for construction of the big house so they could all share one tank. The builder was impressed that I knew all this when he did the initial inspection. I did all the fiberglass insulation and hung heavy sheet paneling on the walls myself in the little house. Didn't do much of anything with the big house. I did run speaker wires for the home theater system. And I painted the kitchen a different color so I didn't have to pay extra for picking an extra color. I've done some finish work inside. Big book case in the kitchen. Need a book case in the living room. Hopefully that will come this summer.

It's still a work in progress. I assume it will always be a work in progress.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 11:31AM
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Chris that is awesome!! I would love to run up on a deal like you did with your trees. I did my last yard myself. Somewhere on here is even the saga of all the stumps we hand dug at the old house. The builder on it was a lazy bum and just pushed dirt over the stumps so all had to be hand dug when I started to plant the grass. I'm so glad this builder was much, much better and I watched what went on like a hawk here. LOL that is why I have the flicker directory of the pictures of the build because that was way too much to email to family who wanted to watch the progress. I documented everything. I really admire you being able to take such a large role in your construction. When you do it yourself, you sure can reap a lot of financial benefit. I'm kinda shocked to see some of the prices this landscape guy wanted to charge me. I can find a lot better things to do with that money than this when I know I can do it myself.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 3:44PM
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The little house was done by a guy that builds garages. That's what it is basically, with 4 walls. So I was owner/builder for that one and did all the permitting and he helped me find an electrician/plumber to get it going. I was in no hurry once it got to finish work, so I was happy to do it myself. I lived in it from fall 2005 (post-Katrina) till summer 2011. I still love that little house and miss the simplicity sometimes. I don't miss the 13 inch antenna TV, though. :-)

With the big house, I didn't want any part of being the main contractor and found someone locally to do all that. There are only a few things I'd do differently, but not many. I wanted spray foam insulation and they talked me out of it. But after last night, my heat pump couldn't keep up with the falling temps. And it would sure be nice to have that foam right now. I think, anyway. I got an Energy Star rating on the house when it was done, so I'm not sure I can do much better. I'll never know.

I only had a couple of problems with the subcontractors and they were rectified very quickly. They'd spit chewing tobacco juice in the corners of the wall framing and I didn't like that at all. Neither did the builder. Fixed. I really don't think there were any other problems like that. I did lose a nice push broom to someone, and got a cheapo replacement from another job. Not a show stopper. Just minor things.

I took lots of pics as well, and did video walk throughs when there was anything significant that was done. Might have been 6 or 8 all together. I go back and watch them once in a while and just marvel at how things came together. They're on YouTube if you want to see. I hope that works...

Here is a link that might be useful: Compost Guy's House

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 8:59AM
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I love your concrete floors in the kitchen! THey turned out sooo awesome!
The best floors for pets is concrete.
But your floors are very attractive. They have a nice shiny finish too.
Nanner, hope you are almost settled in now...well inside
settled. LOL.
You will have a wonderful season this year to try to get alot done outside I'm sure, but with plant people, it's really never done.
I'm going to try to tackle an area on the side and back of my house this spring, I just don't know what I'm going to do with it yet. Money is a factor, and the fact that I will physically have to do it myself.
I'm glad you made the move smoothly.
Keep us posted on your progress, the change will be dramatic.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 12:50PM
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Thank you. They're not quite so shiny now, but I still love them. Acid stained. It was neat watching how that was done. I missed the actual acid application, but I talked to the guy that did it and saw the wash down and poly application.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 1:52PM
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