Fresh Grass

Playing a little chronological catch up here with a project we did in May and June: redoing the backyard grass. If ever a small task has snowballed, it’s the one where we had some extra dirt left over from another project and thought maybe we should use it to level out a few areas of the grass…but impulsively ripped out the entire lawn instead and, on top of that, rashly decided to order a 10′ stock tank for a “pool area.”

I’m blaming stay-at-home battiness for this string of reckless decisions. I was sure we made a huge mistake while doing it, but now I’m not sure. We are the proud owners of a pristine, level lawn but the whole thing cost around $800 and weeks of labor, and the stock tank that was supposed to arrive in May is still not here and is maybe never coming, so we also have an ugly dirt patch, but the lawn is really pretty so…was it all a bad decision? TBD. For reference, here’s what the old grass looked like last Fall after a period of neglect while building the corrugated fence – it was uneven and weedy, but faithfully turned green when we watered it.

(If you are wondering, no, the grass didn’t used to be a 60’s kidney shaped in-ground pool! This was the funky shape of the lawn when we bought the house and we loved the freeform blob so much, we made it semi-permanent with the addition of concrete curb edging soon after moving in!)

The actual sod install was extremely simple and only took a few hours, but the prep for new grass was intense, spanning several weeks and many steps. FYI it was the dustiest process ever so windows and doors needed to be kept closed until sod went down and then every outdoor surface needed to be vacuumed/pressure washed to remove the layers of dirt. FUN!

First we ripped out the existing grass and transported it to the dump, where we paid $100 for its disposal.Then we tilled the top 4″ of dirt and sort of leveled it. Then we added an inch of top soil and sort of leveled that.Then we added an inch of compost and actually really leveled it with various rigged-up devices, some of which you can see in photos. We followed that up with a rented sod roller to compress everything down.This circular area was kept clear for the future stock tank pool and we used steel edging as a boundary for the grass.Then we watered our dirt patch, yes with sprinklers, for a week to compress it even more and reveal any weeds that might be lurking, which were then killed/removed before sod day. So when you get a high quote for new grass, all of this prep is probably why!

We ordered our sod from a local company and had it delivered. Laying the sod was extremely straight forward. The key is butting the rolls up close to each other but not so close that they buckle and form an air pocket underneath. Our curvy space required annoying cuts, done with box cutters, scissors, and exacto knives, but it was totally doable.A few hours later we were rolling on fresh grass… Here’s it is after 2 weeks of intense watering, no walking on it, and the first mow… We previously redid our sprinkler system when we bought the house, so they were already well equipped to handle the ameoba shape. However, the addition (or subtraction?) of the pool area complicated the watering layout so hours have been spent tweaking the sprinkler locations to maximize grass watering while minimizing overspray. Since these photos were taken, my husband has impressively gotten every tiny slice of grass watered without more than a few inches of overspray hooray! After sinking so much into the lawn, we decided to sink even more money back here on giant birds of paradise to offer some coverage and privacy – and fine, backyard vacation vibes too because this is all we got right now! We planted two by the fireplace and a few more in homemade redwood planters behind the trampoline in an attempt to hide the mess of converging property lines. A little giant bird of paradise even landed on the patio! I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! So that’s that for phase I of the impulsive backyard makeover. Hoping that the pool shows up soon. I’d take ‘shows up this year’ at this point. In the meantime, I’ve been working on fixing up the patio…gonna try to share that this week too! Thanks for reading!


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