Starting a lawn & meadow from scratch
First time user here, so let me set the scene....
We've got a very old farmhouse in Paris, Texas. Currently, the 24 acres are covered with either brush, trees, or grasses, and a pond. We would like to have some lawn area close to the house to keep away critters, or at least make them more visable! We're looking at extending out about 100 feet around the house. Some of the area is "open" while some is in heavy shade, from both the house and some Oak trees, Pecan trees and those pesky Bois de Arcs. Hey, in Texas I'll take shade wherever I can get it! Beyond that, I would like to plant some native wildflowers, about 10 acres. The rest of the area is hidden behind the trees. Since we are only there on the occassional weekend it has to be maintenance free gardening! Last weekend we went to see how everything was looking after not being there for 3-4 months, due to other home-remodeling committments. We could hardly see the double-storey house for brush! Usually, we try to get there at least every other weekend.
I want a lawn and wildflower prairie - as bright, colorful and plentiful as I can get! Where do I start? We've had conflicting opinions on how to start the lawn area, and what preparation we need to do for the prairie. And, I need to know what seeds would do well being spread by a riding mower! Phew!
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.