TheStig Lawn Renovation Fall 2020

Discuss how to and whether you should renovate your lawn
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TheStig335
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Joined: June 16th, 2020, 10:32 am
Location: E. Panhandle West Virginia
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TheStig Lawn Renovation Fall 2020

Post by TheStig335 » June 16th, 2020, 5:29 pm

Hello Everyone,

Long time lurker but finally registered as I am preparing to undertake my first lawn renovation. Background is that our home was built 3 years ago and now that the large projects are finished or preparing to finish (back patio/deck/driveway), I am prepared to start the lawn renovation without fear of damage. My home builder applied Southern States K-31 to the yard when it was built and although it looked great about 2 months into it, my yard has now been taken over by mostly clover and a little bit of crabgrass with some of the K-31 still mixed in there. This lawn renovation will only be to my front yard which is just over 8000 sq ft. I will be applying the SS5000 Sunny Mixture from SeedSuperStore. Looking at a mid-late August timeframe for grass seed planted. Here is my rough plan as of now:

1. Finish Driveway (Contractor will be putting down concrete driveway in the next couple weeks)

2. Install Sprinkler System Components and 2 Drain Lines to Front Yard (All parts ordered, will commence at completion of driveway). Luckily, I live with waterfront access to a small lake so I will be using a sprinkler pump to source the water. Estimated completion of 1 and 2 is end of July.

Where this will be a little tricky for me is that the top soil that was brought in for front yard at completion of home construction (75 tons) was very heavy in clay so my yard is not very smooth and not the best for roots and there are parts where water will stand. My plan is to dig up the yard with a trencher to install the piping and drains, but not place the sprinkler heads until step 4. Will place 3" PVC section where heads would go to keep space free and place a metal bolt in there - plan is to use metal detector to accurately locate and remove PVC, then connect sprinkler heads. It sounds crazy but that's my plan as of now. I don't want to tear up my yard after putting the good topsoil in and mix in the heavier clay topsoil.

3. Apply RU to kill off front yard. First dose will be 1 week before renovation with another dose 2 days before. Does this seem right to everyone? Also, should I fertilize the yard before doing this to make sure everything is growing strong? See step 4 since there will be an additionol 3" topsoil being placed above current topsoil.

4. Bring in 75 tons high quality top soil and regrade/smooth front lawn. After this is complete, install sprinkler heads and make sure everything is working properly and ready for seed.

5. Seed with SS5000 mixture at 4lbs/1000 sq ft as recommended. Apply Starter Fertilizer with Mesotrione (from SSS). Cover with Peat Moss.

6. Water Water Water

Really looking forward to having a nice front yard since the kids love to play there. I have learned a lot from everyone on this forum and look forward to learning a lot more.

Here is my yard at the best it ever looked the first fall after our home was built. It doesn't look anywhere near this now.
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andy10917
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Re: TheStig Lawn Renovation Fall 2020

Post by andy10917 » June 18th, 2020, 8:03 am

In general, your plan looks viable. I'd go with an earlier RU kill and a bit of fallowing to keep down the weed pressure, but there are no glaring errors in your plan. Make sure to have all items ready to go by a couple of weeks before the seed-down date.

Without (total) lawn size and your experience level in your profile, I can't get too much more specific.

TheStig335
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Re: TheStig Lawn Renovation Fall 2020

Post by TheStig335 » June 21st, 2020, 4:48 pm

Thanks! I think that's a good idea to hit it earlier with RU and do some fallowing. Reading some other renovation stories, it seems like the fallowing may be a good insurance policy against a potential headache.

Is there any pro's/con's of hydro seeding vs seed/peat moss? Reason I ask is that the top half of my yard is on an incline and I am worried about a potential washout. Thinking the hydro seed with tacifier would help out more in that regard.

Seed and fertilizer arrived the other day. I have all supplies in house now including for the sprinkler pump/system. Started this weekend with pouring the pad for the pump and will begin electrical/initial pluming in the coming day to the pump in the back yard to bring it all up to the front.

TheStig335
Posts: 15
Joined: June 16th, 2020, 10:32 am
Location: E. Panhandle West Virginia
Grass Type: KBG
Lawn Size: 1 acre-2 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: TheStig Lawn Renovation Fall 2020

Post by TheStig335 » July 28th, 2020, 9:13 pm

Well there is no going back now - Today I applied RU to the yard. :)

Things are coming along nicely. I have all the back end sprinkler system components up and running (water being pumped out of lake and coming to my 3 zone manifold for the front yard sprinkler system). Pressure for sprinklers at front yard manifold is low but acceptable at 30psi (I am pumping about 60 feet uphill with a 2hp pump) with lots of GPM for all the heads. My driveway was supposed to be poured by now, but my contractor wants to wait for cooler weather since we are adding pigment to the concrete and requiring the truck to mix it for 30 minutes before pouring (driveway will be a charcoal color), so I am chugging along whether the driveway is done or not. Worst case is I have a small section along the driveway that needs patched.

Very slight deviation from my plans but still following the same path - I am having a contractor come to re-grade the yard next week, and then I will rent a trencher and get the sprinkler system run in the front yard (3 zones - 16 heads total). After that, I am having the contractor come back and apply 4" of new topsoil to the yard. Once that is complete, I will finalize the sprinkler heads, apply seed and fertilizer with tenacity, and I am getting hydro seed (just the mulch, no seed) put on top of my seed to keep it in place. Still looking like middle of August for G = 0.

Took my final before photos today - the grass/clover/weed mixture actually looks kinda nice mowed low (~2") before I sprayed.


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TheStig335
Posts: 15
Joined: June 16th, 2020, 10:32 am
Location: E. Panhandle West Virginia
Grass Type: KBG
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Re: TheStig Lawn Renovation Fall 2020

Post by TheStig335 » August 9th, 2020, 3:34 pm

Continued progress on the renovation.

The RU did a good job on taking care of the front yard. My contractor came in and removed the top layer of old topsoil and regraded to smooth things out and help the water drain. We had an absolute downpour a couple days before and with the grass short/dying, I was able to see really well how the water would pool and not drain well. No wonder things didn't grow well in those spots. See first picture.

Rented a ditch witch for the weekend and got the front sprinkler system installed (3 zones, 15 sprinklers total). Install went really well. Using Rain Bird 5000 plus rotors and all the piping/fittings were blu-lock. Highly recommend all of those - especially the blu-lock fittings and pipe. My sprinkler controller is a 16 zone Rachio - it has worked well so far too.

As a nice bonus, my contractor moved all the topsoil he took off my front yard, which wasn't the greatest but wasn't really bad either, to the bottom portion of my backyard which really didn't have any topsoil at all. So, my project has expanded slightly and I am quickly adding 2 zones of sprinkler coverage there and will plant that as well (good thing I ordered extra seed at the time). I thought ahead during the initial sprinkler pump install and have 2 additional 3 zone manifolds at the bottom yard and middle yard, and with my ditch witch already here this weekend, it really didn't add much time at all for me.

Future tasks: Topsoil for front yard delivered this week (4"), then topsoil will be spread the week after (contractor is on vacation next week) and then seed down right after that with the hydro mulch on top (week of August 16th). I'm getting very excited!

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DevilDawg81
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Re: TheStig Lawn Renovation Fall 2020

Post by DevilDawg81 » August 9th, 2020, 8:56 pm

Great progress, things are starting to move quickly. Best of luck to you!!

schreibdave
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Re: TheStig Lawn Renovation Fall 2020

Post by schreibdave » August 10th, 2020, 6:16 am

Do you have experience designing the irrigation system? Or did a pro design it for you? I've done a DIY system (less professional than what you have done) and I ask because I learned to test the zones before I buried everything. I had places where I thought I could run x number of heads, only to find out that I didn't have the pressure or flow to do it. It's easier to make a change while the trench is open then after it is filled in. Good luck.

TheStig335
Posts: 15
Joined: June 16th, 2020, 10:32 am
Location: E. Panhandle West Virginia
Grass Type: KBG
Lawn Size: 1 acre-2 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: TheStig Lawn Renovation Fall 2020

Post by TheStig335 » August 11th, 2020, 8:15 am

Good question - I had zero experience in irrigation systems before all this

I am an engineer by trade so it wasn't something I felt overwhelmed tackling. There are a lot of good manuals/design guides out there that give the do's and dont's and with sizing the system, it was easier than I thought. I measured my whole yard, made a CAD model of it, and then began inserting all my sprinkler heads in there drawing the radius circles to ensure overlapping coverage. I knew how much each zone was able to comfortably supply by pipe size and water velocity stated in the design guides. Ended up with 3 zones and 15 heads total for the front, with head radius ranging from ~29ft to ~43ft depending on the location. Kept each zone at the same elevation so none of the water would drain back out on the lowest sprinkler head when turned off. I turned all the sprinklers on before backfilling the trenches to ensure they were working well. The system has exceeded my expectations - next week can't get here soon enough to have seed down. My only real concern was how much height I had to pump the water from the lake up to the front yard, but that ended up working out well and I am getting more GPM than I will ever be able to use (I got a 2hp Red Lion sprinkler pump to make sure it could make it up the hill just fine - pump is stated as 79GPM, I tried measuring the supply at the front yard but it was laughable how much there was). Water pressure is good too.
schreibdave wrote:
August 10th, 2020, 6:16 am
Do you have experience designing the irrigation system? Or did a pro design it for you? I've done a DIY system (less professional than what you have done) and I ask because I learned to test the zones before I buried everything. I had places where I thought I could run x number of heads, only to find out that I didn't have the pressure or flow to do it. It's easier to make a change while the trench is open then after it is filled in. Good luck.

TheStig335
Posts: 15
Joined: June 16th, 2020, 10:32 am
Location: E. Panhandle West Virginia
Grass Type: KBG
Lawn Size: 1 acre-2 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: TheStig Lawn Renovation Fall 2020

Post by TheStig335 » August 19th, 2020, 8:13 pm

I have finally made it to G=0 today. Very Exciting! :yahoo:

My contractor got my soil spread this morning and I got the seed and fertilizer down. He then came in and put the hydro-mulch on top. Very happy with how it turned out and the soil seemed to be of excellent quality (sending it out for a soil sample in a few days). My irrigation system made it through the soil delivery and spreading with no issues. I have it programmed to water the lawn 3 times a day for just over 10 minutes/zone (10:00am, 2:00pm and 4:00pm - these times were recommended by SeedSuperStore). Will adjust watering schedule if it looks like it needs more or less.

My bottom yard, which I wasn't originally planning on doing, is also planted and got the topsoil that was taken off my front lawn during regrading. I was planning on using peat moss for that part, but my Lowes has conveniently gone out of stock and I don't really have other options. So, I saw they had Pennington Slopemaster in stock - never heard of it but the price was decent and the reviews were good - so I picked up a few bags and put that down. It didn't spread well in my spreader so I ended up doing it by hand. Will be interesting to see how the hydro-mulch top yard does compared to the kind of hydro mulched bottom yard, but it seems like a neat product.

Question for the future. I put down Anderson's starter fertilizer with tenacity, from SeedSuperStore. What is my next fertilizer and when? I know my seed won't really use the fertilizer for a few weeks but it does have some slow release nitrogen in it.

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TheStig335
Posts: 15
Joined: June 16th, 2020, 10:32 am
Location: E. Panhandle West Virginia
Grass Type: KBG
Lawn Size: 1 acre-2 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: TheStig Lawn Renovation Fall 2020

Post by TheStig335 » August 23rd, 2020, 4:32 pm

Seeing my first germination occurring at G + 4. Not sure if it is my Rye or Fescue in my mixture (SS5000 has Radar Chewings Fescue, Grand Slam GLD Ryegrass, Mazama/Midnight/Bluebank KBG). Irrigation system has been working great - very proud of that.


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TheStig335
Posts: 15
Joined: June 16th, 2020, 10:32 am
Location: E. Panhandle West Virginia
Grass Type: KBG
Lawn Size: 1 acre-2 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: TheStig Lawn Renovation Fall 2020

Post by TheStig335 » September 5th, 2020, 10:18 am

Update (G+17)

The yard is beginning to look like a yard again. I am starting to see my first seedlings that germinated early (I believe the Fescue and Rye) starting to shoot up further after their initial sprout - if I am analyzing this correctly it means they are exiting the Sprout-N-Pout stage. Seeing lots of smaller grass coming up now that I believe is the rest of my KBG making its appearance - that should get the rest of the yard filled in nicely since that makes up 60% of what I put down.

August was very dry here and after looking at my stats on my sprinkler controller, it appears I pumped out about 18,000 gallons of water from the lake to feed the lawn. For what we pay for water, that system will pay for itself in no time. I couldn't imagine trying this without a sprinkler system.

So far September has been very wet. Had 2 very heavy rainfalls that tested my resolve but the yard appears to have handled it well. 5 days in and I have still not had to use any sprinklers. Today should be the first.

The Meso that was in my starter fertilizer is doing a good job. I anticipated the topsoil I had brought would have some unwanted seeds in it and, luckily, has been less that what I thought. A couple small places saw some bad grasses shoot up that were quickly turned white and have faded away after about a week and a half. I bought some additional Meso/Surfactant so I can hit it again if need be - the fertilizer said the Meso would active for 6 weeks - should I wait the full 6 weeks until after application before I even think about hitting the yard again?

Sending in a soil test this coming week so I can see where I need to go fertilizer wise - will share the results when I get that.

Also, kind of on a whim, I bought some Bella Bluegrass plugs to try on a sloped portion of my lawn that I hate mowing. Just an experiment since I saw mixed reviews but if I can cut how much I need to mow there, its well worth it IMO.

Hope everyone has a great Labor Day weekend!

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TheStig335
Posts: 15
Joined: June 16th, 2020, 10:32 am
Location: E. Panhandle West Virginia
Grass Type: KBG
Lawn Size: 1 acre-2 acre
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Re: TheStig Lawn Renovation Fall 2020

Post by TheStig335 » September 16th, 2020, 4:58 pm

Update (G + 28)

Made it to 4 weeks post seed down. Yard is still moving in the right direction - most of the seed has germinated but I am still seeing some. They weren't joking when they said one of the KBG varieties was upwards of 30 days! The yard is filling in nicely but I still believe the majority of my KBG is in sprout-n-pout. I can understand the need for patience with this stuff, but it is paying off. Weather has been great and looks to be great for the foreseeable future. Really excited to see how it looks in a week or two.

I have been cutting back on watering as the yard fills in and the temperature drops.

The backyard portion I did is also coming along at pretty much the same pace. At this point, I can say that between a hydro seed cover over seed or the SlopeMaster, they both perform equally well. Would highly recommend the SlopeMaster if you want to go that route. My local Lowes finally got Peat Moss back in stock a couple weeks too late.

Did some soil testing through MySoil (got this before I knew about Logan Labs). Looks like my pH of my new soil is slightly low at 5.9 so I am adding some lime.

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TheStig335
Posts: 15
Joined: June 16th, 2020, 10:32 am
Location: E. Panhandle West Virginia
Grass Type: KBG
Lawn Size: 1 acre-2 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: TheStig Lawn Renovation Fall 2020

Post by TheStig335 » October 2nd, 2020, 9:04 am

Update (G + 44)

Sprout-N-Shout?

The yard has essentially all came out of sprout-n-pout and is starting to grow up and out. Starting to see some nice deep greens, but with some patches of lighter color grass that are slowly working their way to the dark green as well. We have had 1 day of rain since my last update so the sprinklers have been working hard. Looking forward to some of the areas filling in a little better.

The lower yard is really turning out well. I used the SlopeMaster down there instead of the hydro seed cover. I notice its a little more uniform and less patchy, if that makes sense? The hydroseed cover is a little more clumpier so I think that is the reason. I will post a picture in a future update of the lower yard.

Starting to see a little bit of unwanted weeds pop up here and there from the seed that was in my newly delivered soil. Nothing big, but I guess it can be expected with the original Meso wearing off. I did some spot treatments with Tenacity and I am walking around daily and pulling if feasible and monitoring. Would a treatment of Barricade be a good idea to keep any other seeds from popping up - now or early next year to protect in the spring?

To the side of my reno on the right bank of the house - a couple feet from the top flat - I have 3 small patches of grass that is different, so to say. I've been keeping my eye on them. It's growing a little faster and a little lighter color than the rest. I am not sure if it is Poa Triv or not - I included a picture. Either way, it is not threatening my main turf as of yet, and to just be safe, I hit the patches with RU this morning.

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DevilDawg81
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Re: TheStig Lawn Renovation Fall 2020

Post by DevilDawg81 » October 6th, 2020, 9:18 pm

Looking good Stig! All of your pics look nice. I don’t have any experience with Barricade. I’m considering a full app of Tenacity on my reno here next weeks as temps will be mid to high 70s

TheStig335
Posts: 15
Joined: June 16th, 2020, 10:32 am
Location: E. Panhandle West Virginia
Grass Type: KBG
Lawn Size: 1 acre-2 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: TheStig Lawn Renovation Fall 2020

Post by TheStig335 » October 7th, 2020, 7:47 pm

DevilDawg81 wrote:
October 6th, 2020, 9:18 pm
Looking good Stig! All of your pics look nice. I don’t have any experience with Barricade. I’m considering a full app of Tenacity on my reno here next weeks as temps will be mid to high 70s
Thanks! I have been keeping an eye on yours too since we have the same seed - looking good as well! I was thinking of applying another app of Tenacity as well but was worried about it slowing growth into the end of the season (I believe I read that it can do that but maybe I am thinking wrong). There is also a winterizer weed/feed that I was considering but I am not sure if that would be good or not. I am thinking the majority of any seeds that would have germinated this fall have already done so, and I really won't get any more until the spring so I have time to wait and hit it with Barricade just before then. I am no expert in that though, and my amount of weeds is minimal and manageable. Although I am noticing on my lower side bank that there seems to suddenly be a considerable amount of creeping Charlie - seems like its more of a sprint. Nothing threatening but I might hit that this weekend with Tenacity or RU once I look at it some more and see if it's in the edge of the new grass.

DevilDawg81
Posts: 340
Joined: April 11th, 2017, 7:09 pm
Location: Columbus, OH
Grass Type: KBG, PRG, Fescue mix
Lawn Size: > 5 acre
Level: Some Experience

Re: TheStig Lawn Renovation Fall 2020

Post by DevilDawg81 » October 8th, 2020, 8:43 pm

TheStig335 wrote:
October 7th, 2020, 7:47 pm
DevilDawg81 wrote:
October 6th, 2020, 9:18 pm
Looking good Stig! All of your pics look nice. I don’t have any experience with Barricade. I’m considering a full app of Tenacity on my reno here next weeks as temps will be mid to high 70s
Nothing threatening but I might hit that this weekend with Tenacity or RU once I look at it some more and see if it's in the edge of the new grass.
I have a similar issue. On the far side I have a broadleaf weed invading the edge. My wife has started booking up the weekend, and I was really wanting to apply Tenacity. I mowed my reno today to try to free up some time, hopefully I can get to it

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